AHL Division 1 Quarter-Final – Clare 2-23 Laois 2-19

Clare defeated Laois by 2-23 to 2-19 in the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Quarter-Final on Sunday March 30th at Portlaoise.

Clare through despite brilliant Laois effort

ALLIANZ HURLING LEAGUE QUARTER-FINAL: LAOIS 2-19 CLARE 2-23

Report from the GAA.ie web site

It was far from straightforward against a heroic Laois but Clare survived the potential banana skin to book their place in the Allianz Hurling League Division I semi-finals. Laois lost Tom Delaney to a straight red card in the 22nd minute and fell eight points behind at one stage in the second half, but dug deep to cut that to two when Brendan Redding goaled in the 69th minute. In the end, the Bannermen’s experience showed as they responded immediately with a brilliant Tony Kelly point from wide on the left, before Colin Ryan brought his tally to 10 points with a free.

A seventh minute goal from Neil Foyle after tremendous work by Tommy Fitzgerald gave Laois the perfect start but they were conceding too many frees and with Ryan helping himself to six points, trailed by 0-9 to 1-3 by the 19th minute. Laois had plenty of possession however and only poor shooting – they had 11 wides by half time – prevented them from being ahead.

Paddy Purcell and Matthew Whelan (free) kept them in touch though before Delaney received his marching orders for an off-the-ball incident involving John Conlon. The Laois defender appeared aggrieved by the decision but Alan Kelly was very definite. Stephen Maher was retained in the sweeper role despite the numerical disadvantage and Laois showed their resolve by hitting the front via a monster point from Charlie Dwyer and a Whelan 65.

Conlon and Conor McGrath made it a two-point game once more but back came Laois with a 60m point from corner-back Brian Stapleton and the score of the day from Purcell. McGrath had Clare in front entering injury time when Patrick Kelly made a good save from Fitzgerald. Seconds later, O’Donnell had the ball in the Laois net, after receiving a pass from McGrath and it was 1-12 to 1-9 at half time.

When O’Donnell converted another opportunity created by McGrath in the 45th minute the margin was seven and Ryan made it eight. But this time, it was Clare conceding frees and Maher punished them. Willie Hyland had an inspirational score before the brilliant Purcell set up Reddin to beat Patrick Kelly. Clare’s experience shone through though and while Laois will take plenty from the outing, it is Davy Fitzgerald’s crew that advance.
***
Scorers for Clare: Colin Ryan 0-10 (8fs); S O’Donnell 2-0; C McGrath 0-4; Tony Kelly 0-3; A Cunningham 0-2; P O’Connor, B Duggan, C McInerney 0-1, J Conlon 0-1 each

Scorers for Laois: S Maher 0-6 (fs); B Reddin 1-1; T Fitzgerald, P Purcell 0-3 each; N Foyle 1-0; M Whelan (1f, 1 65), W Hyland 0-2 each; C Dwyer, B Stapleton 0-1 each

CLARE: P Kelly, D McInerney, C Dillon, C Cooney, B Bugler, Conor Ryan, P O’Connor, P Donnellan, T Kelly, P Duggan, Colin Ryan, J Conlon, B Duggan, S O’Donnell, C McGrath
Subs: A Cunningham for Donnellan (46); C McInerney for B Duggan (52), J Browne for Dillon (58); PJ Scully for Fitzgerald (68); D Reidy for Conlon (70+2)

LAOIS: E Reilly, JA Delaney, B Campion, B Stapleton, J Fitzpatrick, M Whelan, T Delaney, D Palmer, P Purcell, C Dwyer, J Purcell, W Hyland, S Maher, N Foyle, T Fitzgerald
Subs: R King for Foyle (ht), P Whelan for J Purcell (42), B Reddin for Dwyer (54)

REFEREE: Alan Kelly (Galway)

Team News

CLARE: Patrick Kelly (Inagh-Kilnamona); David McInerney (Tulla), Cian Dillon (Crusheen), Conor Cooney (O’Callaghan Mills); Brendan Bugler (Whitegate), Conor Ryan (Cratloe), Patrick O’Connor (Tubber); Patrick Donnellan (O’Callaghan Mills), Colin Ryan (Newmarket-on-Fergus); Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin), Tony Kelly (Ballyea), John Conlon (Clonlara); Bobby Duggan (Clarecastle), Shane O’Donnell (Eire Og), Conor McGrath (Cratloe).

Laois senior hurling manager Seamas Plunkett has announced his starting 15 for Sunday’s quarter-final clash with Clare

1. Eoin Reilly (St Lazerian’s Abbeyleix)
2. John A Delaney (Clough Ballacolla)
3. Brian Campion (Rathdowney Errill)
4. Brian Stapleton (Borris-in-Ossory-Kilcotton )
5. Joe Fitzpatrick (Rathdowney Errill)
6. Matthew Whelan (Borris-in-Ossory-Kilcotton)
7. Tom Delaney (Clough Ballacolla)
8. Paddy Purcell (Rathdowney Errill)
9. Dwane Palmer (Camross)
10. John Purcell (Rathdowney Errill)
11. Willie Hyland (Clough Ballacolla)
12. Stephen Maher (Clough Ballacolla)
13. Neil Foyle (Borris-in-Ossory-Kilcotton)
14. Ross King (Rathdowney Errill)
15. Tommy Fitzgerald (Portlaoise)