Kennedy delight after Clare seal historic crown
CLARE'S Tony Carmody scored a first-half goal and went off injured minutes later -- but raised the rafters at the end when he lifted the trophy at Semple Stadium on Saturday.
The wily centre-forward was one of the more experienced members of a Clare team which ended up winning this title for the first time in the county's history, and he grinned from ear to ear as he held the cup aloft.
"We were the last Clare team left in any competition this year and to win an All-Ireland at this grade for the first time is absolutely brilliant," the captain said. "Please God we can all drive on next year."
After a slow start, which saw them conceding 1-1 courtesy of a Paul O'Flynn goal and pointed free by Michael Grace, Clare quickly settled into the game and a fine goal by Carmody set the tone for their performance.
He was unfortunate to injure himself while scoring, blasting a low shot to the net after emerging with the sliotar from a scramble and running free of the defence.
But that goal gave Clare a two-point lead and they remained in front for the rest of the game. A flurry of points towards the end of the first half put them four in front at the break and when Daire Keane got their second goal shortly after the resumption, they looked comfortable.
By the end, all of their players from midfield through the forward line had scored as they tacked on more points and ended up winning well. Clare manager Kevin Kennedy said afterwards that he and some of the players "have been years involved with this panel" and they were delighted to eventually take the ultimate prize.
"It's an All-Ireland for Clare and we don't win that many," he said. "I think today Tony Carmody was going to have an exceptional game and it was a major loss when he had to come off, but we have a panel of 31 players."
The likes of Shane Golden and Ronan Keane proved too strong in the centre of the field, winning much possession, while Joe O'Connor and Niall Gilligan in the forwards and Patrick Kelly and Michael Hawes at the back all turned in solid displays.
Scorers -- Clare: T Carmody, D Keane 1-0 each, N Gilligan 0-3 (2f), S Golden, J O'Connor, P Hickey 0-2 each, M Duggan, K Dilleen, R Keane, D O'Rourke 0-1 each. Kilkenny: P O'Flynn 1-2, E Hickey, G Aylward, S Burke (2f) 0-2 each, S Byrne, M Grace (1f), C Conway (1f) 0-1 each.
Clare -- A Fahy; M Earley, P Kelly, A Brigdale; K Moynihan, M Hawes, J Fennessy; R Keane, S Golden; M Duggan, T Carmody, K Dilleen; J O'Connor, N Gilligan, P Hickey. Subs: D Keane for T Carmody, P Fitzpatrick for K Moynihan, D O'Rourke for M Duggan, S Chaplin for S Golden, C Tierney for N Gilligan.
Kilkenny -- R O'Neill; W Phelan, M Walsh, S Phelan; L Harney, PJ Rowe, S Byrne; M Grace, W O'Dwyer; P O'Flynn, S Kenny, JJ Farrell; G Shelly, E Hickey, A Stapleton. Subs: G Aylward for A Stapleton, S Burke for JJ Farrell, O Walsh for S Kenny, C Conway for W O'Dwyer, N Kenny for E Hickey.
Ref -- D Kirwan (Cork).