Ryan: We had the belief to see off Banner challenge
Kildare 0-13 Clare 0-12
Clare were swept away by a Lilywhite wave of scores in the final quarter at Cusack Park and afterwards Kildare manager Jason Ryan insisted that they never doubted their ability to turn a six-point deficit into a win.
Kildare 0-13 Clare 0-12
Colm Collins' Clare side looked unstoppable up until the 45th minute when they kicked their last point. From there to the finish line, Kildare took over and stormed to victory.
Ryan's side had the greater experience and he pointed to a similar loss his side suffered in this year's league as telling in their reason to believe.
"We are the team that went out against Tyrone, with a couple of seconds to go winning by five points, and lost so we learned from that. It's never a lost cause. In the second half we showed a lot more patience and composure on the ball and we used the ball much better.
"Even when Clare had a lot of bodies back, Kildare showed a lot of patience and kept recycling the ball and waited for an opportunity to open up.
"It's another learning experience for the guys and I'm really proud of them today. They believed in themselves, they wanted to win and they stuck at it. They believed they were going to get score after score and they did that," said Ryan, who was a keen observer of yesterday's provincial finals in Ulster and Leinster to discover the identity of their next opponents.
Whoever they end up facing in a fortnight's time, there is plenty to work on for Kildare if they are to have any hope of progression.
During the first half they went on a 25-minute scoreless stretch between their second and third points. They also struggled to rein in the dominant Clare midfield duo of Gary Brennan and Shane McGrath, while some of Ryan's forwards had games to forget.
But the game was also laced with positives for his side. They were stunning in the last 20 minutes as they reeled off score after score as the inevitability of falling short began to dawn on Clare.
Alan Smith was a late introduction to the starting 15 and he nailed down a slot for the rest of the championship with a super display of point-taking. Eoghan O'Flaherty – the man dropped to accommodate Smith – was a second-half replacement for Gary White and he was excellent when the pressure kicks arrived.
If they can perform like that for more than a third of a game, Kildare will be a tough draw.
"In the first half we didn't perform," admitted Ryan. "We didn't perform at one end of the field. I thought our defence in the first half was absolutely outstanding.
"All of our defenders had a really good first half and unfortunately when we got over the halfway line, in the areas we've been really happy with all year, it just didn't happen.
"I think we have to give credit to Clare, they got bodies there and we struggled. We made poor decisions and gave away ball, we weren't far away from giving 20 balls away in the first half, poor decisions.
"I am really proud of them today, I thought they showed tremendous heart, determination and all the guys who came off the bench made a really big impact so well done to them all.
"It'd be nice to be playing football in August that's for sure. We've a huge number of guys who this is their first year playing championship, so we have a lot of new guys on the team as well," Ryan said.
Clare will reflect on what might have been for some time. Mark Donnellan's fine save from Shane McGrath denied the Banner a goal in their pomp, which may have killed off Kildare, but Collins was hugely proud of his side in defeat.
"The post-mortem of a game is always so severe because you can blame or do a hundred things. But over the course of the game I would be very proud of how the lads played and I wouldn't have any fault with any of them," he said.
"I just think that we came up against a team that had their spells and scored their scores. We are very disappointed but were proud of the lads. It's been an absolute pleasure all year long. We'll get over the defeat and drive on for next year," said the Clare manager.
Scorers – Kildare: A Smith 0-6 (1f), E O'Flaherty 0-3, E Callaghan 0-2, P O'Neill 0-1, P Brophy 0-1; Clare: D Tubridy 0-4 (3f, 1 '45'), S McGrath 0-2, G Brennan 0-2, E Coughlan 0-1, P Collins 0-1, R Donnelly 0-1, M McMahon 0-1.
Kildare – M Donnellan 8; C Fitzpatrick 7, O Lyons 7, E Bolton 8; M O'Grady 7, F Conway 7, K Cribbin 7; T Moolick 6, G White 6; C McNally 7, N Kelly 6, P O'Neill 7; E Callaghan 7, P Fogarty 5, A Smith 9. Subs: T O'Connor 7 for Fogarty (31), E O'Flaherty 8 for White (43), P Brophy 7 for Kelly (48), E Doyle 7 for O'Grady (52), S Hurley 6 for Moolick (58), D Hyland 6 for Conway (72).
Clare – J Hayes 8; S Hickey 7, K Hartnett 8, M McMahon 7; J Malone 7, G Kelly 8, C Russell 7; G Brennan 8, S McGrath 9; S Collins 7, E Coughlan 6, S Brennan 7; P Collins 8, D Tubridy 7, R Donnelly 7; Subs: D Ryan 7 for S Collins (56), E Cleary 6 for Donnelly (56), M O'Leary 6 for Coughlan (60), S McNelis 6 for Hickey (65), P McMahon 6 for S Brennan (66), L Healy for Russell (70).
Ref – J McQuillan (Cavan)
Game at a glance
MAN OF THE MATCH
Alan Smith (Kildare)
It would be wrong to give the man of the match award to anyone else other than Alan Smith after this win. There were plenty of excellent Clare performances, but Smith's three points in the first half when his side struggled kept them in the game.
Four minutes after his introduction in the second half, Eoghan O'Flaherty kicked his first point. It ended an 11-minute scoreless streak for Kildare, during which Clare had opened up a six-point lead. The Lilywhites went on to score seven in a row to power to the win.
Two minutes into first-half added time, Shane McGrath kicked a terrific score for Clare. With the time almost up, the home side showed remarkable patience to work the ball into a scoring position, often turning down half-chances, before McGrath scored from an acute angle.
Is football on the rise in Clare? Colm Collins (right) has put an impressive structure and discipline in place for this Clare team and they deserved to reach the fourth round for the first time. However, with another year's preparation in the bag, it might be an achievable goal for 2015.
Joe McQuillan was very keen to let the game flow where possible, but also flashed a few yellow cards for the heftier challenges. At one stage early on he appeared to give Podge Collins a stern talking to, but it seemed his shadow for the day, Emmet Bolton, was the main aggressor in that battle.
WHAT THEY SAID
Jason Ryan (Kildare manager):
"In the second half we showed a lot more patience and composure on the ball and we used the ball much better ... It'll be nice to be playing football in August, that's for sure."
Colm Collins (Clare manager):
"We maybe should have introduced fellas a little earlier but overall I'd be very proud of all of them out there."
Kildare 7 (6 in first half)
Clare 10 (4)
Kildare 8 (3)
Clare 24 (11)
Kildare 3 (A Smith 4, P O'Neill 14, N Kelly 48)
Clare 2 (R Donnelly 14, J Malone 62)
Kildare are into Round 4B of the qualifiers where they will face beaten Ulster finalists Monaghan on the weekend after next. Clare's decent championship showing has come to an end for this year.
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