Aaron Shanagher claims a hat-trick as Clare hammer Laois by 35 points
Clare 5-32 Laois 0-12
Tony Kelly was in inspired form as Aaron Shanagher's hat-trick helped the 2013 All-Ireland champions Clare to a huge win over Laois at Cusack Park in Ennis.
The former hurler of the year only played 48 minutes but starred for Davy Fitzgerald’s side as they cruised to the win.
Clare were knocked out of the Munster championship by Waterford after they claimed the Division 1 league crown this year and this was the ideal setting to get back on track.
Laois had been in desperate form in the league, they only survived in Division 1B on the final day when they beat Westmeath in a play-off, and Offaly had knocked them out of Leinster.
In previous years, Clare have struggled in the qualifiers, with defeats to Cork and Wexford, but they will be full of confidence as they enter the draw for Round 2 on Monday morning.
They led 2-14 to 0-5 at half-time and pulverised the Laois rearguard again in the second-half. Shane O’Donnell and Shanagher got the first-half goals, and with Shanager adding two more, and O’Donnell scoring the fifth goal Clare were brilliant.
Laois were ahead inside the opening minute when Charles Dwyer blazed over from distance, but Tony Kelly tied it up with a free.
And after Shanagher had put an earlier chance wide, O’Donnell followed up on David Reidy’s shot, to goal the rebound in the sixth minute.
But Laois hit two in a row to stay in the game, before Clare went through the gears and moved 1-5 to 0-3 in front. Laois had to rely in the occasional wonder scores, but Clare were more clinical in front of the posts.
As the conditions deteriorated, Laois’ discipline also went, Conroy got his red card after two bookable offenses in the 25th and 27th minutes. Laois also suffered injuries, and joint captain Cahir Healy was one of the casualties.
After Neil Foyle’s point in the 25th minute, Laois remained scoreless for the rest of the half, including the seven minutes of added time.
Meanwhile Clare were rampant. They struck eight points without reply, and Tony Kelly brought his tally to six points by half-time.
Shanagher scored a goal five minutes into injury-time, he drove to the Laois defence and finished to the bottom corner, to end Laois’ challenge early.
Clare were 2-14 to 0-5 in charge at the break, Clare scored eight points in a row at the start of the second-half and the game was over at that stage.
The goals followed, and Charles Dwyer was sent-off for a second bookable offence late on.
Scorers – Clare: A Shanagher 3-1, T Kelly 0-10 (3f), P Collins 1-3, S O’Donnell 1-3, C O’Connell 0-5 (4f), D McInerney 0-3, C Galvin 0-2, J Conlon 0-2, C Cleary 0-2, S Golden 0-1.
Laois: E Rowland 0-2 (2f), C Dwyer 0-2, W Hyland 0-3 (3f), PJ Scully 0-1 (1f), W Dunphy 0-1, N Foyle 0-1, M Kavanagh 0-1, M Whelan 0-1.
Clare – A Fahy; C Dillon, O O’Brien, P O’Connor; J Browne, D McInerney, B Bugler; C Cleary, D Reidy; C Galvin, P Collins, J Conlon; T Kelly, S O’Donnell, A Shanagher.
Subs: D Fitzgerald for McInerney (43), S Morey for Cleary (43), C O’Connell for Kelly (48), S Golden for Reidy (52), C Ryan for Conlon (55).
Laois – E Rowland; R Mullaney, D Palmer, C Healy; M Whelan, L Bergin, P Purcell; J Lennon, B Conroy; C Dwyer, PJ Scully, C Stapleton; N Foyle, W Dunphy, W Hyland.
Subs: R King for Bergin (9), P Lawlor for Healy (28), M Kavanagh for Scully (41), D Maher for Stapleton (49), J Phelan for Dunphy (58).
Ref – Barry Kelly (Westmeath).