Venue: Hennessy Memorial Park, Miltown.
The Clare senior footballers got life in Division 3 of the National Football League off to an ideal start when they comfortably saw off the Wexford challenge.
Colm Collins’ charges were dealt a massive blow in the minutes leading up to the tie as full-back Kevin Hartnett picked up an injury in the warm up. The Meelick man joined Podge Collins, Cathal McInerney, Enda Coughlan and Eoin Cleary on the absentees list and the fact that Clare managed to gain a convincing win without the aforementioned players highlights how impressive the victory was.
Wexford will be very disappointed with their performance and the result today. Over the course of the seventy minutes they managed to hit only three points from play which is quiet abysmal when it comes to inter-county football. On the other hand, the Banner men hit 1-09 from play alone.
David Tubridy was first off the mark as the Doonbeg man pointed with a minute played from a free. Tubridy added a further free and capitalised on a rebound to put Clare three ahead with seven minutes gone. Corofin’s Jamie Malone pointed with nine minutes on the clock. It took the Model County twelve minutes to register their first score and it came from the boot of Ben Brosnan.
Two further frees from David Tubridy pushed Clare four ahead with twenty five minutes played. Ciaran Lyng got his name on the scoresheet for the visitors when he pointed from a free. Clare custodian Joe Hayes pulled off two incredible saves in the space of two minutes to ensure momentum stayed with his side as half-time was fast approaching.
Clare extended their lead through efforts from Shane Brennan and Shane Hickey. Wexford added a late point just before the break to leave the half-time score at 0-08 to 0-03 in favour of the hosts.
Three minutes into the second half, Wexford were dealt a massive blow when full-forward Ciaran Lyng was given his marching orders from referee Derek O’Mahoney. Lyng was involved in an off the ball altercation with Dean Ryan and the St Martin’s clubman was sent for an early shower as a result.
Former Dublin senior, Pat Burke got his first score in the saffron and blue, four minutes into the second half when he raised a white flag. Tubridy and Brosnan exchanged scores with with forty five minutes on the clock to leave Clare ahead by six points. Burke and Tubridy added to their respective tallies with a point each with fifty two minutes on the clock.
Kevin O’Grady responded for the Slaneysiders to cut the gap to seven points. Two frees in succession from Doonbeg’s Tubridy gave Clare some breathing space. Captain and midfield maestro, Gary Brennan got his name on the scoresheet with sixty one minutes played. Kilmacud Crokes man, Pat Burke put the icing on the cake when he slotted past Shane Roche in the Wexford net to give Clare a comprehensive fourteen point win.
David Power will feel the only way is up for his Wexford side following their disappointing start to the National Football League. Following a mixed O’Byrne Cup, the general expectation was that this would be a tight affair which it certainly wasn’t. Their next game is at home to Armagh in what will be another tricky assignment. While Power is only getting to know the calibre of his squad, it is essential they improve for this game as it will seriously dent their promotion hopes if they lose two successive matches. Ben Brosnan and Kevin O’Grady did well for Wexford.
Clare have passed their first league test with flying colours and their duty is to now replicate that going forward and not to be distracted by the praise they will receive for their total domination. By far, Clare were the superior team as they refused to give Wexford an inch during the seventy minutes. Another positive for Colm Collins and his management is the fact that several players made senior debuts on the day and didn’t look out of their depth mainly Keelan Sexton, Darragh McDonagh and Darren Nagle.
They travel to Drogheda next weekend to face off with Louth who received a nine point defeat at the hands of Fermanagh. Joe Hayes, David Tubridy, Gary Brennan, Gordon Kelly and Dean Ryan gave noteworthy performances.
Teams: Clare: Joe Hayes (Lissycasey), Stephen Collins (St Josephs Doora/Barefield), Dean Ryan (Éire Óg), Martin McMahon (Kilmurry/Ibrickane), Ciaran Russell (Éire Óg), Gordon Kelly (St Josephs Miltown), Jamie Malone (Corofin) (0-01), Gary Brennan (Clondegad) (0-01), Cathal O’Connor (Coolmeen), Sean Collins (Cratloe), Shane Hickey (Kilmurry/Ibrickane) (0-01), Shane McGrath (Thomas Davis), David Tubridy (Doonbeg) (0-10 7f), Shane Brennan (Clondegad) (0-01), Pat Burke (Kilmacud Crokes) (1-02). Subs: Keelan Sexton (Kilmurry/Ibrickane) for McGrath (52:00), Martin O’Leary (Kilmihil) for Hickey (55:30), Darren Nagle (Liscannor) for Russell (58:17), Chris Dunning (Wolfe Tones na Sionna) for O’Connor (62:06), Darragh McDonagh (St Josephs Miltown) for Ryan (62:12), Sean Haugh (O’Currys) for Malone (65:43).
Wexford: Shane Roche (Geraldine O’Hanrahans), Páraic O’Keeffe (St Anne’s), James Breen (Adamstown), Michael Furlong (Adamstown), Joey Wadding (St Fintan’s), Rob Tierney (Glynn-Barntown), Tiernan Rossiter (St Mary’s Rosslare), Paddy Byrne (Killmor), Colm Kehoe (Cloughbawn), Declan Murphy (Horsewood), Adrian Flynn (Gusserane), Kevin O’Grady (St James’) (0-02 1f), Dermot Flood (St Mary’s Mauldintown), Ciaran Lyng (St Martin’s) (0-01 1f), Ben Brosnan (Bannow-Ballymitty) (0-02). Subs: Simon Donoghue (Shelmaliers) for Rossiter (25:51), James Holmes (Castletown) for Flood (H/T), Eoghan Nolan (Shelmaliers) for Murphy (H/T), Brian Malone (Shelmaliers) for Flynn (H/T), Graham Carty (St Mary’s Mauldintown) for Byrne (38:02) (BC), Paudie Kelly (St Martin’s) for Donoghue (62:00) (BC).
Referee: Derek O’Mahoney (Tipperary).