Ryan maintains Clare's perfect record
CLARE continued their impressive start to the NHL by shrugging off the challenge of a plucky Laois side in Portlaoise yesterday.
A second-half goal from substitute Alan Markham, following Colin Ryan's opening three-pointer after 25 minutes, gave the Banner men the initiative after Laois had earlier hauled themselves back with a well-taken Willie Hyland penalty on 38 minutes.
Clare manager Ger O'Loughlin had his troops well oiled for this encounter following their impressive showing in the opening round. Two long-range efforts from Mickey O'Connell stole the show, with the defender twice splitting the posts just after the interval, at which stage Clare lead 1-5 to 0-6.
Laois rallied strongly in the second half with the help of Hyland's penalty, and successive points from Shane Dollard (two) and John Brophy put them 1-10 to 1-9 ahead.
However, Clare showed some steel by staying patient and clawing themselves back into the game. The goal from Markham was a peach, as his sweetly struck shot left Paddy Carroll with no chance in the Laois goal.
The Munster men tagged on scores through Fergal Lynch and Sean Collins as they comfortably maintained their 100pc record in the league.
SCORERS -- Clare: C Ryan 1-3, A Markham 1-0, M O'Connell, J Conlon 0-2 each, P Donnellan, J Clancy, S Collins, F Lynch, M Flaherty 0-1 each. Laois: W Hyland 1-3, B Campion 0-3, S Dollard O-2, E Costello, J Brophy, J Rowney, O-1 each.
CLARE -- P Brennan; P Vaughan, C Dillon, M O'Connell; D O'Donovan, J McInerney, P Donnellan; J Clancy, B O'Connell; S Collins, J Conlon, F Lynch; C Ryan, M Flaherty, M Murphy. Sub: A Markham for Murphy (h-t).
LAOIS -- P Carroll; JA Delaney, D Maher, C Dunne; M Whelan, B Campion, M McEvoy; E Holohan, B Dunne; E Jackman, J Rowney, W Hyland; E Costello, J Brophy, J Purcell. Subs: T Fitzpatrick for Rowney (h-t), C Delaney for Holohan (h-t), S Dollard for Jackman (60).
REF -- D Richardson (Limerick)