Collins on the mark as rampant Banner ease pain of hurlers' defeat
Clare 4-26 Carlow 2-13
CLARE footballers made short work of the Carlow challenge in this All-Ireland SFC Round 2B qualifier at Dr Cullen Park yesterday, having the tie done and dusted by half-time, when leading 2-15 to 1-6.
The Banner county went about their work direct from the throw-in and before a home player had laid hands on the ball, a swift Clare attack ended with centre-forward Enda Coughlan pointing. The visiting No 11 quickly added a second and, already, Anthony Rainbow's side were struggling to deal with opponents playing with a pace and intensity that had the home players chasing shadows.
Although midfielder Eoghan Ruth hit a splendid Carlow point to open their account on three minutes, Clare's superiority soon manifested itself throughout the field, with midfielder Gary Brennan the game's dominant figure. With good support from his partner Shane McGrath, the Banner forwards received an enviable supply of good midfield ball and the attackers made hay.
With full-forward David Tubridy in immaculate form, the Clare score mounted and they were sailing ahead 0-9 to 0-4, all from play, before a fine Carlow movement produced a well-taken goal from centre-forward Ciarán Moran on 24 minutes. The Clare response was a Tubridy point.
The visiting supporters in the attendance of 1,200 were on their feet in the 28th minute when dual star Pádraic 'Podge' Collins steered a ground shot to the Carlow net. The distress signals were clear for Rainbow's men when Coughlan beat home goalie Andy O'Brien in first half injury-time.
Just before that goal, O'Brien had made a superb save from a Gary Brennan penalty, awarded when Clare No 15 Rory Donnelly was clipped en route to the Carlow goal. The Carlow netminder brilliantly tipped the resulting spotkick over his bar.
Remarkably, 1-15 of Clare's first-half total came from play, by which point both midfielders and all six starting forwards had made the scoresheet.
By game's end that number had extended to 11.
The second half provided further evidence of Clare's domination as they outscored their opponents by 2-11 to 1-7.
An exchange of 43rd and 46th-minute goals between Podge Collins and David Bambrick left Clare 3-17 to 2-7 in front and, with the Carlow challenge evaporating, Clare's fourth goal came from substitute Podge McMahon.
Clare manager Colm Collins said: "We weren't taking anything for granted. We have had hard games with Carlow where we got turned over so we had a history with them. We are delighted to be still involved. At this stage of the championship, you are going to be playing a good team."
Although Carlow's tally of 2-13 would win many matches, coach Rainbow conceded: "We leaked too much at the back. We were outplayed and outclassed."
He described Clare's display as "clinical".
Scorers – Clare: P Collins 2-0, D Tubridy (1f), G Brennan (1 pen), E Coughlan 0-4 each, P McMahon, A Brennan 1-1 each, S McGrath, R Donnelly, E Cleary 0-3 each, S Collins 0-2, D Ryan 0-1f. Carlow: C Moran 1-1, D Bambrick 1-0, D St Ledger, C Coughlan (1f), P Broderick (2f) 0-2 each, E Ruth, B Kavanagh, M Meaney, M Ware, S Kinsella (f), W Minchin (f) 0-1 each.
Clare – J Hayes 7; S Hickey 6, K Hartnett 7, M McMahon 7; J Malone 7, G Kelly 8, C Russell 7; G Brennan 9, S McGrath 8; S Collins 7, E Coughlan 8, S Brennan 7; P Collins 8, D Tubridy 8, R Donnelly 8. Subs: D Ryan 6 for Hickey (injured) (16); P McMahon 6 for Tubridy (42); C O'Connor for McGrath (42); E Cleary 7 for P Collins (50); S McNelis 6 for Russell (55); P De Loughrey for Hayes (61).
Carlow – A O'Brien 7; R Mahon 5, C Lawlor 5, B J Molloy 6; K Nolan 6, D St Ledger 6, B Kavanagh 6; E Ruth 6, H Gahan 5; M Meaney 5, C Moran 6, D Bambrick 6; S Kinsella 5, D Foley 5, C Coughlan 6. Subs: G Power 6 for Lawlor (31); M Ware 5 for Foley (33); P Broderick 6 for Kinsella (h/t); W Minchin 6 for Meaney (42); J Lowry for Nolan (59).
REF – M Duffy (Sligo).