Underdogs Clare claim famous victory over Kildare to take Division Three title
CLARE 2-17 KILDARE 1-19
PROMOTION was the main target for Kildare and Clare but the Banner County claimed bonus silverware by winning the Allianz Division 3 final at Croke Park tonight.
Kildare made two changes from their published line-up. Johnny Byrne played at right corner back in place of Peter Kelly, and Eamonn Callaghan slotted into Niall Kelly's centre-forward position.
Clare had dual player Podge Collins in the substitutes for the first half, but he was brought on for the second half in place of Sean Malone.
The Lilywhites started well and within ten minutes led by 1-5 to 0-2.
Neil Flynn carved out the opening for his 5th minute goal with a determined run along the Clare end line before firing the ball home.
The Banner depended mostly on David Tubridy's free-taking to keep them in touch but in the 35th minute Tubridy's close range goal sent them into the interval leading by 1-10 to 1-9.
Early second half points were exchanged with Adam Tyrell scoring three in a row for Kildare, two from frees, and Eoin Cleary (three) and Jamie Malone for Clare.
With 15 minutes to play, Kildare led by 1-15 to 1-13, but four minutes later were reduced to 14 men when Kevin Feely was sent off for a second yellow card offence.
Kildare rallied and led by 1-16 to 1-15 after 64 minutes.
Then came a glorious chance to really hurt Clare when Tommy Moolick was clean through, but the Kildare man's shot rebounded off the upright and it was still all to play for.
A glorious Paul Cribbin long range point gave the Lilywhites a two point cushion at 1-17 to 1-15 four minutes from the end.
And then he did it again with one minute to play but Clare equalised with a Dean Ryan goal after a superb catch by Gary Brennan opened up the Kildare defence.
At 2-16 for Clare and 1-18 for Kildare, with seven minutes added on by referee Noel Mooney, the action was hectic.
Clare had Graham Kelly sent off on a straight red and Ryan Houlihan's second yellow saw the runners-up reduced to 13 men in the 75th minute, but Eoin Cleary's 76th minute point saw the Banner through to a cherished victory.