Friday 23 March 2018

Clare make no mistake in dispatching Saffrons

AFTER a poor enough opening-half performance, Clare made no mistake in dismissing the challenge of Antrim after the break at Cusack Park, eventually winning 0-20 to 0-12.

Despite having secured a second win from two outings, Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald was given food for thought after a rather patchy performance from his charges.

Having gone in at the break just a point ahead (0-8 to 0-7), the Banner resumed in a buoyant mood and a yield of five unanswered points inside eight minutes of the restart must have pleased the boss.

Antrim just couldn't cope with the increase in intensity in the second period and, apart from Clare's early second-half salvo, the men from the Glens also had to endure another offensive by their opponents during a two-minute spell late in the game when the home forwards picked off four scores in a row.

Despite losing corner-back Domhnall O'Donovan, who was red-carded in the 51st minute for striking out at Antrim's PJ O'Connell, Fitzgerald's men never faltered and an improved display from full-forward Conor McGrath in the second period helped them on their way.

Nicky O'Connell and Pat Donnellan at midfield were in control for the most part, even though No 8 Neil McManus was the pick of the visiting players. Pity then that the Ruairi óg clubman didn't see out the 70 minutes as he was also dismissed by referee Brian Gavin with three minutes to go for a second yellow-card offence.

Jerry Wallace's charges will now have to pick up the pieces when they face Offaly in their next outing, while Clare will travel to Portlaoise full of confidence that they can defeat Laois.

Wexford supporters celebrated one of the great escapes in a 3-18 to 2-20 victory over a shell-shocked Offaly side at Wexford Park.

Nine points adrift, 2-20 to 0-17, with seven minutes remaining, Liam Dunne's Slaneysiders heroically clawed their way back and right on 70 minutes former minor star Jack Guiney fired home a winning goal from a 20-metre free that found the net via a deflection.

Limerick bounced back from their first-round defeat with an impressive 1-24 to 2-12 win over Laois at O'Moore Park.

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