Deadly Deehan seals final spot
Offaly SFC semi-final
Clara 0-14 Tullamore 0-11
CHAMPIONSHIP favourites Clara were pushed to their limits before seeing off a dogged Tullamore in O'Connor Park on Saturday.
The holders had to dig deep before booking their passage to the final with superb points from Graham Guilfoyle and Thomas Deehan closing out the deal.
An emerging Tullamore side were in it right to the end and their collective effort very nearly forced a replay. The game was memorable for the point-kicking prowess of the rival No 15s, Deehan and Tullamore's All Star nominee Shane Dooley, who both bagged eight points.
Clara led 0-3 to 0-1 early on before Tullamore edged ahead thanks to Dooley, but two frees from Deehan gave his side a 0-7 to 0-5 interval lead.
In the second half the sides were level twice but Deehan's class shone through and his and Guilfoyle's late scores secured Clara's final place.
SCORERS -- Clara: T Deehan 0-8 (0-3f), G Guilfoyle 0-3, J Reynolds 0-2, M Mitchell 0-1. Tullamore: S Dooley 0-8 (0-4f), D Hogan, M Brazil and R Monaghan 0-1 each.
CLARA -- K Meehan; J Ledwith, J Quinn, D Kelly; D Ledwith, M Mitchell, L Hiney; S Brady, R Brady; T Dalton, J O'Hara, C Kelly; G Guilfoyle, J Reynolds, T Deehan. Subs: A Cronin for Ledwith (48), P Deehan for Kelly (48).
TULLAMORE -- E Brennan; G Heffernan, J Moloney, M Conlon; G Ward, P McConway, J Keane; B O'Reilly, K Hogan; D Hogan, M Brazil, J O'Dononghue; R Monaghan, K Williamson, S Dooley. Subs: J Kenny for Monaghan (49), S Kelly for Williamson (59m), N Stack for Ward (59).
REF -- F Smythy.