Bord Gais Energy GAA Hurling All Ireland U21 Championship Semi-Final – Clare 4-24 Antrim 0-8

Clare march into U21 decider

Report from the GAA.ie web site

Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling U-21 Semi-Final: Clare 4-24 Antrim 0-8

Clare were utterly dominant at Semple Stadium on Saturday as they cruised past Antrim and into the final of the Bord Gáis Energy GAA Hurling U-21 Championship. The game was never a contest, as Clare took an early lead and continued to absolutely dominate the game for the full 60 minutes. They struck four goals through Cathal McInerney, Conor McGrath (2) and Niall Arthur, but the most impressive feature of their play was their point-taking, as they registered a huge tally of points against an Antrim defence which had no meaningful resistance.

Clare led 2-14 to 0-3 at the break, and the second half was simply target practice for them, as they emptied their bench and continued to add scores with ease. They led 0-6 to 0-1 after 13 minutes, Seadna Morey, Cathal O’Connell and Aaron Cunningham all hitting fine early points for them. It could have been much worse for Antrim early on had outstanding goalkeeper James O’Mullan not pulled off a series of superb saves from a number of Clare efforts, and he continued with this form throughout the game, denying Clare at various junctures. O’Mullan’s efforts were simply repelling the inevitable Clare tide though, and three points in the space of a minute from the outstanding O’Connell pushed them eight clear.

The Munster champions were utterly dominant by now, and after McInerney struck Clare’s first goal on 20 minutes, the gap was 13 points. Antrim responded with points from Michael Devlin and Kevin McKiernan, but Clare continued to plunder scores before the break, and finished the half with a second goal. Full forward McGrath got it, finishing sweetly after racing onto a breaking ball through the middle. That left it 2-14 to 0-3, with no way back for the Saffrons. Clare’s third goal came shortly after the break, McGrath finishing well after holding off a few Antrim challenges.

By this stage, Clare started taking off some of their marquee forwards, withdrawing McGrath and O’Connell, but the pattern of scoring showed no interruption. Arthur flicked in a lovely fourth goal with five minutes to go for Clare to further advance his case for a starting berth for the final, although by then the game had become very pedestrian.

Scorers for Clare: C O’Connell 0-7 (2f), C McGrath 2-0, N Arthur 1-2, T Kelly 0-4 (3 65′), C McInerney 1-0, P Collins 0-2, A Cunningham 0-2, S Morey 0-2, S Golden 0-1, P Duggan 0-1, P O’Connor 0-1, C Malone 0-1, D O’Halloran 0-1

Scorers for Antrim: K McKiernan 0-2, M Devlin 0-2 (1f), J Black 0-1, C Laverty 0-1, E McAlonan 0-1, D McKinley 0-1

Clare: R Taaffe; P Flanagan, D McInerney, K Ryan; P O’Connor, C Ryan, S Morey; C Galvin, S Golden; T Kelly, P Collins, A Cunningham; C McInerney, C McGrath, C O’Connell.

Subs used: P Duggan, C Malone, D O’Halloran, N Arthur, S O Halloran

Antrim: J O’Mullan; R McCloskey, R Gillan, C Morgan; J Black, M Donnelly, J McCouaig; A McKeown, F Donnelly; M Devlin, S Dobbin, K McKiernan, N Elliot, C McCann, D McCloskey.

Subs used: E McAlonan, C Laverty, C Murray, D McKinley, N McFadden.

Team News

Clare shows one change for Saturday’s All Ireland Semi- final clash with Antrim, from the side that defeated Tipperary in the Munster Under 21 Hurling final in Cusack Park. Cathal McInerney who was introduced as a substitute during that game at corner forward, retains his place, with David O Halloran reverting to the bench,

Clare are bidding for a place in the All Ireland under 21 final for only the second time in the county’s history. Galway or Kilkenny await the winners of Clare and Antrim. The final is fixed for Semple Stadium on Sept 15th.

1. Ronan Taaffe

2. Paul Flanagan

3. David McInerney

4. Killian Ryan

5. Patrick O Connor

6. Conor Ryan

7. Seadna Morey

8. Colm Galvin

9. Shane Golden

10. Tony Kelly

11. Padraic Collins

12. Aaron Cunningham

13. Cathal McInerney

14. Conor McGrath

15. Cathal O Connell