Conlon on song to keep the Banner flying high
Clare 1-21 Laois 0-16
Consecutive away wins have Clare primed for an immediate return to the top flight next year as John Conlon fired them to a third victory of the season. Podge Collins was an unused substitute for the first time this season as he nears a comeback from his cruciate ligament injury, but Clare will not be hugely satisfied with this mediocre performance.
They 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. At full-forward, Willie Hyland gave Cian Dillon a tough time in the early stages, and the Clough/Ballacolla man hit brilliant points in the fourth and sixth minutes to cut the gap to 0-3 to 0-2.
Laois will be disappointed with their shooting, though. Too often they shot hopefully at the target and after three in a row from Clare, including two from the impressive David Reidy, the visitors held a four-point lead.
Having a fit Conlon in his side was a real boost for Davy Fitzgerald and his high catch, carry and pass sent Conor Ryan in for a point in the 17th minute. 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 them. Yet despite Laois' improved play, there was very little return on the scoreboard. Again it was their poor shooting that cost them - 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 the win.
Scorers - Clare: B Duggan 0-6 (6f), J Conlon 1-2, Colin Ryan 0-5 (1f, 1'65), D Reidy 0-3, A Cunningham 0-2, Conor Ryan, G O'Connell, C O'Connell 0-1. Laois: Z Keenan 0-5 (4f), W Hyland 0-3, PJ Scully 0-3 (2f), C Dwyer 0-2, S Maher, C Collier, E Roland 0-1 ('65').
Clare: A Fahy; P O'Connor, C Dillon, P Flanagan; B Bugler, D McInerney, C Cleary; D Reidy, Conor Ryan; Colin Ryan, J Conlon, G O'Connell; S O'Donnell, A Cunningham, B Duggan. Subs: C Galvin for Cleary (h-t), O O'Brien for Dillon (50), C O'Donnell for G O'Connell (57), C O'Donnell for S O'Donnell (68), M O'Malley for Reidy (69).
Laois: E Rowland; J Phelan, T Delaney, C Healy; L Bergin, N Foyle, R Mullaney; M Whelan, C Collier; C Dwyer, Z Keenan, P Purcell; S Maher, W Hyland, R King. Subs: PJ Scully for King (22), W Dunphy for S Maher (57), C Stapleton for Bergin (66), J Walsh for Foyle (66).
Referee: D Kirwan (Cork).
Sunday Indo Sport