Tuesday 24 April 2018

Clare cut loose in second-half as they punish woeful Laois performance

Clare 2-18 Laois 0-14 SFC Qualifiers Round 2A

Donal Kingston of Laois is tackled by Gordon Kelly of Clare during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 2A match between Laois and Clare at O’Moore Park in Portlaoise, Co Laois. Photo: Sportsfile
Donal Kingston of Laois is tackled by Gordon Kelly of Clare during the GAA Football All-Ireland Senior Championship Round 2A match between Laois and Clare at O’Moore Park in Portlaoise, Co Laois. Photo: Sportsfile

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

A dominant second-half display saw Clare march past Laois in O'Moore Park on Saturday.

It is the second year in a row Clare have beaten Laois at this stage of the All-Ireland, but this time around it was achieved with a bit more panache.

Twelve months ago in Ennis they hit the last five points of the game to win by one, but no such drastic action was required from Colm Collins' men here. They had the victory more or less wrapped up with 20 minutes to go and coasted home against 14-man Laois.

"I think this team can go as far as they want to go," said Collins.

"When they are playing well they are a match for anyone in the country. Last year's run and some of the results this year have given them an extra bit of self-belief, and that's very important as well."

Dreadful

The true test of Clare's abilities will be administered by a better side than Laois, with the hosts proving far too welcoming. It was a dreadful end to a dreadful year for them, and there appears to be little cause for celebration on the horizon, with a handful of their established players coming to retirement age.

Manager Peter Creedon said afterwards that he is keen to stay on, but after a season which ended in relegation to Division 4 and heavy defeats to Kildare and now Clare in the championship, his future is uncertain.

Laois had kept themselves in the game throughout the first-half, always on Clare's coat-tails but never any better than that. Eoin Cleary was leading the charge for the Banner men, kicking 0-6 in the first-half as Clare lead 0-11 to 0-8 at half-time.

The turning point came on 42 minutes, when Laois lost midfielder John O'Loughlin to a second yellow card.

As he left the field, so too did their resilience.

Clare got a goal soon after, Jamie Malone applying the finish, and Keelan Sexton added another as Clare romped home to a comfortable 10-point win.

Scorers - Clare: E Cleary 0-9 (3f, 3 45s), K Sexton 1-2 (0-1f), G Brennan, C O'Connor, P Lillis 0-2 each, J Malone 1-1. Laois: D Kingston 0-8 (7f), S Attride 0-3, G Walsh (f), C Begley, D Conway 0-1 each.

Clare: J Hayes 7; G Kelly 7, K Harnett 7, M McMahon 6; P Lillis 7, C Russell 7, D Ryan 7; G Brennan 8, C O'Connor 8; C O'Dea 7, E Cleary 9, S Collins 6; K Sexton 8, D Tubridy 6, J Malone 7. Subs: J Hayes 6 for Russell (56), G O'Brien 6 for Tubridy (56), S Malone 6 for Sexton (61), D Nagle 6 for O'Dea (61), E Collins 6 for Harnett (64, blood sub), K Malone 6 for S Collins (68), D Bohannon 6 for Lillis (68).

Laois: G Brody 7; D Strong 5, M Timmons 6, T Collins 5; E Buggie 5, P McMahon 7, C Begley 6; B Quigley 5, J O'Loughlin 5; A Farrell 6, D Conway 6, D O'Connor 5; S Attride 7, D Kingston 7, G Walsh 6. Subs: N Donoher 6 for O'Connor (ht), J Kelly 6 for Buggie (47), P Kingston 6 for Conway (50), R Munnelly 5 for Walsh (50), J Finn 6 for Quigley (55), B Daly 5 for Attride (60).

Ref - J Henry (Mayo)

Irish Independent

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