Duggan unlocks floodgates for Banner
Clare 3-19 Down 0-5
Clare had their expected facile win over Down in Mullingar, the Banner boys winning out in the end by an unflattering 23-point margin.
The Munster runners-up had the wind advantage in the first half, which was spoiled by driving rain.
A point from a free and a goal, both from their outstanding player on the day, Bobby Duggan, had them four points to the good with less than two minutes played. It was virtually one-way traffic for the opening half-hour and a great individual goal from Shane O'Donnell put Clare 10 points ahead in the 20th minute. By half-time, the margin had risen to 14 points (2-11 to 0-3).
Despite Down playing with the elements in their favour on the change of ends, the best efforts of the likes of Caolan Bailie and Chris Egan were insufficient to stem the Clare tide.
Goalkeeper Sean Savage fared well overall on a busy afternoon and he was unlucky in the 35th minute, after producing a great save from Jamie Shanahan, to see an alert Niall Deasy (who was outstanding all through) tap the rebound into an unguarded net.
Without ever having to fully extend themselves, Clare rattled over six points to the Ulster champions' one in the time remaining, to qualify for a potentially very difficult All-Ireland semi-final clash with Dublin next month.
Scorers -- Clare: B Duggan 1-7 (5f), N Deasy 1-5, S O'Donnell 1-0, S Gleeson 0-2, A O'Gorman, J Malone, J Shanahan, C Deasy and M O'Leary 0-1 each. Down: C Bailie 0-3 (2f), G Lynch and E Sands 0-1 each.
CLARE -- E Quilligan; S O'Brien, B Carey, G Ryan; A McGuane, C Cleary, E Quirke; D Conroy, A O'Gorman; N Deasy, J Malone, J Shanahan; B Duggan, S Taylor, S O'Donnell. Subs: C Deasy for Taylor (15), M O'Leary for O'Gorman (h-t), S Gleeson for O'Donnell (36), N Bolton for Quirke (40), E Tuohy for Cleary (49).
DOWN -- S Savage; C Costello, J McGrath, C Taggart; R Brannigan, G O'Neill, J McManus; L McMullan, C Egan; R Burns, C O'Neill, C Bailie; G Lynch, M Nicholson, E Sands. Subs: S Mageen for Lynch (21), C Fitzsimmons for G O'Neill (41), S O'Callaghan for Mageen (41), P Og McCrickard for Burns (54), B Byers for Costello (56).
Ref -- P O'Dwyer (Carlow)