Ryan shines in lacklustre clash
Allianz Hurling League Div 2
Clare were far from convincing at Cusack Park, Mullingar yesterday, where a total of 47 scores masked some poor play from both sides.
The home side started brightly and were 0-2 to no score ahead by the 10th minute before Clare got into their stride and rattled over seven unanswered points, with Colin Ryan particularly prominent at left corner-forward.
However, a spirited Westmeath comeback had Kevin Martin's charges very much in contention by the break, when Clare led by 0-10 to 0-9.
Ger 'Sparrow' O'Loughlin's half-time team-talk seemed to have worked wonders when the visitors extended their lead with 1-3 in the opening three minutes of the second half, towering corner-forward Darach Honan striking a fine individual goal with just a minute elapsed.
However, when Brendan Murtagh rifled the ball to the net from a 41st-minute free, Westmeath were back in the hunt.
But the same player had a mixed day from placed balls and he later shot two poor wides from seemingly routine frees as Westmeath continued to chase the game.
The teams continued to trade points throughout an often-scrappy second half and with 10 minutes of normal time remaining, the home fans sensed a possible upset with the gap at four points, 1-19 to 1-15, and Westmeath giving as good as they were getting.
Clare's superior class showed in the closing stages, though, as Westmeath began to tire.
Derek McNicholas' intuitive goal in the fifth minute of added time -- only two minutes had been signalled -- helped to put a more respectable look on the final scoreboard for Westmeath, who remain pointless.
Man of the match: Colin Ryan (Clare)
SCORERS - Clare: C Ryan 0-9 (4fs), D Honan 1-4, N O'Connell (2fs), J Conlon 0-3 each, J Clancy, C Morey and F Lynch 0-2 each, P O'Connor, C McInerney 0-1 each. Westmeath: D McNicholas 1-5 (0-1 s/l), B Murtagh 1-4 (1-3fs), B Smyth 0-2, E Price, A Mitchell ('65'), J Shaw, C Flanagan, C Curley and A Devine 0-1 each
Clare -- D Touhy 6; P Vaughan 6, C Cooney 5, D O'Donovan 6; B Bugler 7, C Dillon 6, J McInerney 6; N O'Connell 7, J Clancy 7; P Donnellan 5, J Conlon 7, F Lynch 6; D Honan 8, C McInerney 6, C Ryan 8. Subs: C Morey 7 (for C McInerney, h-t), P O'Connor 6 (for Donnellan, h-t), S Collins 6 (for O'Connell, 63).
Westmeath -- P Burke 6; R Whelan 5, P Greville 6, E Price 7; P Gilsenan 6, A Mitchell 7, J Shaw 6; J Clarke 7, N Flanagan 6; B Smyth 6, B Murtagh 6, C Flanagan 5; C Curley 5, D McNicholas 8, D Carty 5. Subs: A Devine 6 (for Carty, 48), A McGrath 5 (for Curley, 58).
Ref -- G Duffy (Antrim).