Unconvincing Clare get the job done against Laois
Clare 1-21 Laois 0-16
Clare made it three wins from three as Davy Fitzgerald’s side ramped up their promotion bid with an unconvincing win over Laois at O’Moore Park last night.
Podge Collins was an unused sub for the Banner men as he nears a return, but it was Bobby Duggan’s free taking and Conlon’s goal that gave them their third win.
Clare were quick out of the blocks and hit three points in as many minutes with Aaron Cunningham, Gearoid O’Connell and Colin Ryan all on the mark for the Banner.
At full-forward, Willie Hyland gave Cian Dillon a tough time in the early stages, and the Clough/Ballacolla hit two brilliant points in the fourth and sixth minutes to make it 0-3 to 0-2.
Having a fit John Conlon in his side was a real boost for Fitzgerald and it was his high catch, carry and pass that sent Conor Ryan in for his first point in the 17th minute. But after Hyland and Zane Keenan led a mini revival from Laois, Conlon dented their hopes when he poked to the net in first-half injury-time.
Clare led by 1-13 to 0-9 at the interval, but an increased intensity in the tackle after the break meant there was even less space for Clare.
Yet despite Laois’ improved play out the field there was very little return on the scoreboard. Again it was their poor shooting that cost Laois – they hit eight wides in the 20 minutes after the break – while Bobby Duggan continued to chip away at the other end from placed balls as Clare eased to victory.
Clare: A Fahy; P O'Connor, C Dillon, P Flanagan; B Bugler, D McInerney, C Cleary; D Reidy (0-3), Conor Ryan (0-1); Colin Ryan (0-5, 1f, 1’65), J Conlon (1-2), G O’Connell (0-1); S O'Donnell, A Cunningham (0-2), B Duggan (0-6, 6f).
Subs: C Galvin for Cleary (h-t), O O’Brien for Dillon (50), C O’Connell (0-1) for G O’Connell (57), C O’Donnell for S O’Donnell (68), M O’Malley for Reidy (69).
Laois: E Rowland (0-1, 1’65); J Phelan, T Delaney, C Healy; L Bergin, N Foyle, R Mullaney; M Whelan, C Collier (0-1); C Dwyer (0-2), Z Keenan (0-5, 4f), P Purcell; S Maher (0-1), W Hyland (0-3), R King.
Subs: PJ Scully (0-3, 2f) for King (22), W Dunphy for S Maher (57), C Stapleton for Bergin (66), J Walsh for Foyle (66).
Referee: D Kirwan (Cork).