Tubridy steers Banner to victory
CLARE did their promotion hopes the world of good when recording a richly deserved win over Offaly in Tullamore.
Only two points separated the sides at the finish, but this was a more comprehensive win than the scoreline suggests and anything other than a victory for the visitors would have been a travesty.
They were the better side by a distance, and while they had to dig deep to get across the line, they possessed the character to do so.
When a man with a famous surname that will always stir up painful memories for Clare boss, Mick O'Dwyer, Brian Darby (a nephew of the legendary Seamus), struck a magnificent goal to put Offaly 2-4 to 0-9 ahead with 11 minutes left, the momentum was with the home side, even though they had played second fiddle for most of what had gone on before hand.
It was here, however, that Clare stepped up to the mark and with the magnificent Gary Brennan and David Tubridy pulling the strings, they scored four of the last five points to get the win their efforts merited.
It was a disappointing day for Offaly. From the start, they were up against it and Clare, playing with a stiff wind, strode into a 0-5 to 0-2 lead after 21 minutes. A well-taken Niall McNamee goal levelled it up in the 28th minute, but Clare responded well in the face of adversity.
Chris Dunning, Shane McGrath and Enda Coughlan all pointed to give them a 0-7 to 1-2 interval lead.
Offaly's woes were best summed up by the fact that four of their five subs had been introduced by the start of the second half and two of the replaced players headed straight down the tunnel when taken off.
Man of the match: D Tubridy (Clare)
SCORERS – Clare: D Tubridy 0-6 (1f, 1 '45'), S McGrath 0-2, E Coughlan, G Brennan, A Clohessy, C Dunning, S Ryan 0-1 each. Offaly: N McNamee 1-1, D Darby 1-0, A Mulhall (f), B Connor, R Brady (f), R Dalton 0-1 each.
CLARE – J Hayes 6; M McMahon 7, S McNelis 7, E Coughlan 7; D Callinan 6, G Kelly 6, S Haugh 6; G Brennan 9, C O'Connor 8; A Clohessy 6, S McGrath 8, C Dunning 7; M McCarthy 6, R Donnelly 6, D Tubridy 9. Subs: P McMahon 7 for Donnelly (52), S Ryan 7 for Clohessy (55).
OFFALY – A Mulhall 7; B Darby 6, P McConway 8, E Rigney 5; G Guilfoyle 7, J Moloney 6, M Brazil 7; R Brady 6, A McNamee 6; M Mitchell 5, B Connor 7, E Carroll 6; B Allen 6, N McNamee 7, P Cunningham 6. Subs: S Pender 6 for Rigney (24), P McPadden 8 for Cunningham (28), D Kelly 6 for Mitchell (33), R Dalton 6 for Allen (h-t), M Young 6 for A McNamee (63).
Ref – B O'Sea (Dublin).