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All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Round 1 Qualifiers – Clare 3-26 Offaly 0-15
Clare defeated Offaly by 3-26 to 0-15 in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Round 1 Qualifiers on Saturday July 4th at Cusack Park Ennis.
SHC R1: Clare return to winning ways and dump Offaly out
GAA All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Quarter-final Round 1: Clare 3-26 Offaly 0-15
By Darragh Small at Cusack Park, Ennis for GAA.ie
Former Hurler of Year Tony Kelly started at midfield for Clare and shot eight points as they won their first Championship match in 21 months. It sent Offaly crashing out of this year’s All-Ireland series in their first round qualifier at Ennis.
Davy Fitzgerald’s men had reached crisis point after being dumped out of the Munster championship by Limerick last month. They were relegated from Division 1A of the Allianz league earlier this year but this win will breathe some much needed confidence into the ranks.
The 2013 All-Ireland champions hadn’t won a game in the championship since they beat Cork at Croke Park two years ago but could have a big say yet this year. Colm Galvin’s comeback is a big boost and he was given a rapturous ovation on his return from USA, he was introduced in the 63rd minute.
Conor McGrath got the first goal for Clare and they were 1-13 to 0-9 at half-time. Darach Honan had them ahead after just 20 seconds and when Kelly pointed soon after it didn’t look good for Offaly. The crucial goal came from the stick of McGrath, he slotted after Honan caught a high ball and provided the assist.
The Banner were dominating in every sector and the Offaly forwards had to live off scraps. Shane Dooley kept them in it, he slotted four frees in the opening half but McGrath hit 1-3 for Clare. Conlon got Clare’s final score of the first-half giving them a 1-13 to 0-9 lead and he found the net two minutes after the break to end the game as a contest.
Shane O’Donnell’s goal put a gloss on the scoreline for Clare but it was a fabulous effort created by the wizardry of Kelly.
Offaly kept fighting with half-time substitute Sean Cleary hitting two points but Clare centre-back Conor Ryan was even getting in on the scoring, he got three points in the second-half.
Scorers for Clare: T Kelly 0-8 (2f), C McGrath 1-4, J Conlon 1-2, S O’Donnell 1-0, Colin Ryan 0-3 (2f), Conor Ryan 0-3, D Honan 0-3, S Golden 0-2, P O’Connor 0-1.
Scorers for Offaly: S Dooley 0-6 (6f), S Kinsella 0-4, S Cleary 0-2, J Bergin 0-1, J Mulrooney 0-1, P Murphy 0-1.
Clare: P Kelly; D McInerney, C Dillon, S Morey; B Bugler, Conor Ryan, J Browne; P O’Connor, T Kelly; J Conlon, Colin Ryan, S Golden; C McGrath, S O’Donnell, D Honan.
Subs: D Reidy for Conlon (53), A Cunningham for O’Donnell (53), P Flanagan for Dillon (59), D O’Donovan for Browne (60), C Galvin for Honan (63).
Offaly: J Dempsey; D Shortt, N Wynne, D King; E Murphy, C Egan, G Conneely; E Nolan, J Mulrooney; P Murphy, D Currams, J Bergin; B Carroll, S Kinsella, S Dooley.
Subs: S Cleary for Nolan (35), S Ryan for Conneely (41), P Camon for Shortt (51), S Wynne for Currams (58), D Mooney for E Murphy (62), C Kiely for Egan (68).
Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow)
Saturday July 4th
GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 1
Cusack Park, Ennis 19:00
An Clár v Uíbh Fhailí
Referee: John Keenan (Cill Mhantáin)
(E.T. if Necessary)
Offaly (SHC v Clare): J Dempsey; N Wynne, D Shortt, D King; E Murphy, C Egan, P Camon; E Nolan, S Ryan; J Mulrooney, D Currams, P Murphy; S Dooley, J Bergin, B Carroll.