Venue: Cusack Park
A six point win for Colm Collins’ Clare footballers got their NFL campaign back on track as they recovered from a poor start to the game to overcome Sligo in the first game of 2015 played at Cusack Park.
The Yeats County raced into an early lead with points from Adrian Marren, David Kelly and Mark Breheny all sailing over to give them a five point advantage with fifteen minutes played. Points from Shane McGrath and Gary Brennan got Clare out of the blocks against a very strong breeze but two further Sligo scores gave them a three point lead with twenty four minutes played.
David Kelly and Adrian Marren added points to extend Sligo’s lead to six points with thirty minutes gone. Three Clare points in as many minutes from Shane McGrath and Pat Burke cut the gap to two points with half-time fast approaching. Sligo added a final score before the break to leave it 0-11 to 0-09 in their favour at the break.
Clare raced out of the blocks following the resumption with Shane McGrath and Gary Brennan from a free all registering on the scoreboard to equalise matters. Efforts from Shane McGrath, Shane Hickey and Pat Burke put the Banner ahead by five points with forty seven minutes played.
It took Sligo twenty two minutes of the second half to get their first score and it came from wing-forward Niall Murphy which reduced Clare’s lead to seven. Pat Burke and Doonbeg’s David Tubridy pushed Colm Collins’ charges nine clear with six minutes remaining. Curragh man Adrian Marren managed to find the back of Joe Hayes’ net with time running which ensured it finished 0-22 to 1-13 in Clare’s favour.
Niall Carew’s Sligo are now without a win in three League matches and sit second from bottom in Division 3. Against the breeze, they were outscored 0-13 to 1-02 which is worrying for the Sligo men. They travelled to Ennis confident of bringing the two points home with them, but they now venture back West demoralised and dejected. David Kelly and Adrian Marren did well for an average Sligo.
For Colm Collins and his management of Ger Keane and Ephie Fitzgerald it was all about getting back to winning ways. They did this even though they struggled initially against the breeze, but nonetheless they showed character to claw their way back into proceedings and eventually win by six points. Shane McGrath, Gary Brennan, Gordon Kelly and Pat Burke stood out for the Banner.
Clare: Joe Hayes (Lissycasey), Dean Ryan (Éire Óg) (0-01), Kevin Hartnett (Meelick), Martin McMahon (Kilmurry/Ibrickane), Jamie Malone (Corofin), Gordon Kelly (St Josephs Miltown), Ciarán Russell (Éire Óg), Gary Brennan (Clondegad) (0-03 2f), Cathal O’Connor (Coolmeen) (0-01), Seán Collins (Cratloe) (0-02), Shane Hickey (Kilmurry/Ibrickane) (0-03), Shane McGrath (Thomas Davis) (0-05), Pádraic Collins (Cratloe), Shane Brennan (Clondegad), Pat Burke (Kilmacud Crokes) (0-05). Subs: David Tubridy (Doonbeg) (0-02 1f) for S Brennan (HT), Seán Haugh (O’Currys) for Malone (59), Martin O’Leary (Kilmihill) for Burke (59), Chris Dunning (Wolfe Tones) for S Collins (68), Darren Nagle (Liscannor) for McMahon (BC) (70)
Sligo: Aidan Devanney, Daniel Maye, Ross Donovan, Eoin Flanagan, Keelan Cawley, Brendan Egan, Noel Gaughan, Pat Hughes, Criostoir Davey (0-01), Neil Ewing (0-01), Mark Breheny (0-01), Niall Murphy, David Kelly (0-03), Adrian Marren (1-07 3f), Cian Breheny. Subs: Kevin McDonnell for Davey (29), Stephen Gilmartin for C Breheny (45), Johnny Martyn for Maye (52), Luke Bree for Cawley (62), Gareth Ryan for Gaughan.
Referee: Jerome Henry (Mayo).