Hogan the hero as Clara surge to glory
CLARA made it a Kilkenny double in the hurling finals, following up Thomastown's junior success as they powered to an emphatic victory at Croke Park.
Much of the damage was done in the opening half as they enjoyed a seven-point interval lead, and Keith Hogan's goal within three minutes of the restart effectively settled the contest.
Clara eased through the gears, with points from Brian O'Shea, David Langton and James Nolan in addition to a brace of frees from Hogan reflecting their dominance on the scoreboard.
Two Martin Finn frees briefly stalled their momentum, but Hogan landed four points in quick succession to confirm a 0-11 to 0-4 interval lead for Clara.
London club St Gabriel's almost made the dream start to the second half but Luke Hands saw his powerful drive edge narrowly wide of Kevin Nolan's upright, and from the resultant puck-out, Clara struck for the game's solitary goal.
It arrived after Conor Phelan had embarked on a trademark run and when he delivered the ball to Hogan, the corner-forward evaded a rash challenge from Aidan Ryan to find the net from close range.
Hogan added a brace of frees to his imposing tally and an excellent score by Jack Langton left 12 points between the sides.
That deficit was whittled down through Finn's accuracy from placed balls but it was never likely to kick-start a St Gabriel's recovery. Hogan landed the final score in injury-time to seal a comprehensive Clara win.
SCORERS – Clara: K Hogan 1-9 (0-7f), B O'Shea, J Nolan, Liam Ryan, Lester Ryan (f), D Langton, J Langton, N Prendergast 0-1 each; St Gabriel's: M Finn 0-8 (7f, 1 '65'), J Grealish 0-2, K Walsh 0-1.
CLARA – K Nolan; T Ryan, J Phelan, S O'Shea; N Prendergast, S Prendergast, D Langton; J Langton, Lester Ryan; C Phelan, A Murphy, Liam Ryan, B O'Shea, J Nolan, K Hogan. Subs: C Bolger for Murphy (53), C Prendergast for O'Shea (53), D Nolan for T Ryan, K Phelan for Hogan (60), C O'Shea for J Langton (60).
ST GABRIEL'S – A Ryan; F Tierney, B Costello, N Coady; E McKeigue, PJ Rowe, E Collins; N Rogers, E Cooney; L Hands, S Egan, K Walsh; M Fitzsimon, M Finn, J Grealish. Subs: G Wynne for Fitzsimon (h-t), T Lally for Rowe (35), C Sexton for Egan (44), T Moroney for Cooney (47), C Hands for Wynne (57).
REF – S Hourigan (Limerick).