Clare enjoyed a superb 1-19 to 2-14 win over Offaly in their Round 3 qualifier meeting on Sunday afternoon.
Clare dominated much of the play to be fair but were made work for their win as a plucky Offaly side didn’t wilt under pressure. Ruairi McNamee and Jamie Malone traded first half goals and indeed the latter hit the crossbar and post on two other separate occasions. Alan Mulhall scored a penalty then beating his opposite number on the half time whistle to send the sides in 2-05 to 1-08 at the break.
Offaly actually led the game with 43 minutes played, Anton Sullivan was impressive for the Faithful, however, the Banner responded with four unanswered points from Tubridy, Malone(2) and Cooney. That edged them ahead by a goal with 20 minutes left on the clock, 1-14 to 2-08. The gap was closed with Ruairi McNamee and Bernard Allen pointing. However, Eoin Cleary replied for Clare. Allen registered another score for the Faithful, but Gearoid O’Brien cancelled that out. Cleary went on to kick another score his sixth of the day, before Johnny Moloney pointed.
Bernard Allen did manage to cut the gap further with injury time approaching as did Anton Sullivan. However, it was left to Kevin Hartnett and Gearoid O’Brien to seal the win with two fantastic scores to send the Banner through to the next round of the qualifiers where they will be looking for a good draw here.
Clare – E Tubridy; E Collins, C Brennan, G Kelly; C O’Dea (0-1), A Fitzgerald, P Lillis (0-1); G Brennan, C O’Connor; K Sexton, K Malone (0-2), J Malone (1-4); E Courtney, D Tubridy (0-1), E Cleary (0-6, 2f). Subs: G Cooney (0-1) for E Courtney, R Eyres for E Tubridy, G O’Brien (0-2) for D Tubridy, C O hAinifein for K Malone, J Culligan for K Sexton, K Harnett (0-1) for E Collins.
Offaly – A Mulhall (1-0pen); B Darby, S Pender, J Lalor; D Hogan, P McConway, N Darby; M Brazil, C McNamee; C Donoghue, S Nally, R McNamee (1-2); B Allen (0-5f), A Sullivan (0-3), J Moloney (0-4). Subs: J Hayes for C Donoghue, P Cunningham for S Nally, E Rigney for D Hogan, C Doyle for S Pender, J Evans for C McNamee, J O’Connor for J Moloney.