Sunday 18 February 2018

Clare boost promotion bid in real game of two halves

Clare 1-20 Longford 1-9

Clare's Jamie Malone was man of the match in their clash against Longford. Photo: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile
Clare's Jamie Malone was man of the match in their clash against Longford. Photo: Brendan Moran / Sportsfile newsdesk

A fine second-half display by Clare earned them an 11-point rout of Longford at Cusack Park in Ennis yesterday and puts promotion from Division 3 of the Allianz Football League firmly in their own hands.

A win next Sunday at Newbridge over already-promoted Kildare would see them join the Lillywhites in Division 2 for 2017. But at half-time yesterday the 1,226 crowd wasn't expecting the disparity on the scoreboard that eventually emerged. Clare did go in ahead but only just. They led by 1-7 to 1-6 at the whistle and it appeared that all was to play for after the interval.

Longford were given an early fillip when after six minutes of play their team captain Michael Quinn grabbed the game's opening score, a goal, following a timely pass by wing-forward Barry McKeon.

Moments later, man of the match, wing-back Jamie Malone, opened Clare's account with a point from play.

David Tubridy grabbed the home side's goal after 17 minutes and it put them in front (1-3 to 1-2), a lead which they never relinquished for the remainder of the tie.

The Banner County hit the ground running after the break. Seven unanswered points inside 10 minutes laid down the foundation for victory against a sluggish Longford who didn't get their first score of the second half, a pointed close-in free by full-forward Brian Kavanagh, until the 66th minute. Clare's seven early second-half points were scored by Jamie Malone (3), Pearse Lillis (2) and one each by Keelan Sexton and the impressive Eoin Cleary.

Scorers - Clare: D Tubridy 1-5 (3f), J Malone 0-5, E Cleary 0-4, P Lillis 0-2, K Sexton 0-2, C O'Connor, S McGrath 0-1 each.

Longford: B Kavanagh 0-6, M Quinn 1-0; B Farrell, D Masterson, J McGivney 0-1 each.

Clare - J Hayes 7; S Malone 7, K Harnett 7, M McMahon 6; J Malone 9, G Kelly 7, C O'Dea7; G Brennan (capt) 8, C O'Connor 7; S Collins 7, E Cleary8, P Lillis 7; K Sexton7, P Burke7, D Tubridy 7. Subs: S McGrath 7 for S Collins (44), P Collins 6 for Burke (55), E Coughlan 6 for Sexton (55), S Haugh 6 for S Malone (58), J O'Dea 6 for Kelly (61).

Longford - P Collum 7; D Masterson 6, B Gilleran 6, CP Smyth 6; D McElligott 6, D Brady 6, D Reynolds 6; J McGivney 7, M Quinn (capt) 6; R Smyth 5, D Gallagher 6, B McKeon 6; M Hughes 6, B Kavanagh 7, B Farrell 6. Subs: R Connor 6 for McKeon, (h-t), S Kenny 5 for Gallagher (48), P McKeon 5 for Hughes (50), L Moran 5 for R Smyth (51), C Farrelly 5 for Reynolds (61), S Doyle for Farrell (69).

REF - L Devenney (Mayo)

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