Clare’s 2-20 to 2-19 defeat means Davy Fitzgerald’s side must now face off against Kilkenny once again next weekend in the Division 1 relegation decider.
Clare’s Tony Kelly had a chance to draw the sides level after his team were awarded a penalty in the closing moments of the game. However, the Ballyea man opted to go for a goal knowing that a win could see Clare avoid a relegation play-off should Dublin have been beaten by Galway.
In the end, Kelly’s penalty was saved and Dublin ran out 0-26 to 2-14 winners over Galway meaning that today’s final score in Kilkenny was inconsequential.
It was a game that Clare dominated for much of the first half leading 2-9 to 1-9 at half time thanks to two well taken goals by Shane O’Donnell.
However, Kilkenny rallied in the second period and were two points clear in the 69th minute when substitute Conor Cleary drew his Clare side within one point of Brian Cody’s men.
Speaking after the game, Clare boss Davy Fitzgerald referred to Tony Kelly’s missed penalty in the dying stages, stating that Clare could have drawn the game but instead opted for the win.
Fitzgerald also noted that next Sunday’s crunch decider (there will be a toss for home venue*) is likely to be even tougher for the Banner with Kilkenny adding 6 to 7 players to their squad, including members of the All Ireland winning Ballyhale Shamrocks side.
In the other game of the day, Tipperary staged a remarkable comeback having been 12 points down to Cork at one point in the second half to win 2-28 to 4-21.
There was better news for Clare’s Camogie side today when the Banner defeated Derry on a scoreline of 3-13 to 1-5.
CLARE SCORERS: Shane O’Donnell (2-0); Colin Ryan (0-7); Tony Kelly (0-4), Colm Galvin, Conor McGrath and Seadna Morey (0-2 each); Conor Cleary and John Conlon (0-1 each).