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Clare survive Wexford scare as late surge books Banner place in All-Ireland semi-finals

Clare 1-24 Wexford 3-14

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Damien Reck and Tony Kelly battle for possession. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Damien Reck and Tony Kelly battle for possession. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Damien Reck and Tony Kelly battle for possession. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Clare survived an almighty scare to book their All-Ireland semi-final place with a stirring second-half comeback seeing off a valiant Wexford effort in Semple Stadium.

Clare, fresh from pushing Limerick to the pin of their collar in a classic Munster final, have now had the upper hand in their last four championship meetings with Wexford but they were pushed to the pin of their collar.

It wasn't looking good for Brian Lohan's Banner when Lee Chin fired two goals within three second-half minutes to leave them 3-11 to 0-14 ahead but with their championship survival on the line, Clare dug deep into their reserves.

Aran Shanagher fired a crucial goal in the 67th minute to regain the lead while the impact of Shane Meehan, another sub, also helped to turn the tide with Shane O'Donnell inspirational in the final quarter as they booked their semi-final date with Kilkenny.

The game was barely 30 seconds old when Jack O'Connor made a fine fetch before racing through the heart of the Clare defence and firing to the net to give the Model men the perfect start.

It could have been even better a minute later when Rory Hayes was caught in possession and Conor McDonald was unlucky to see his snap shot off the ground flash across the goal and wide.

Clare were rattled in the early going with Tony Kelly wayward from a hat-trick of frees before Peter Duggan eventually took over placed-ball duties, but points from play via Kelly and David Fitzgerald settled them down somewhat.

Hayes was whipped off after just eight minutes with Cian Nolan tasked with the job of picking up Wexford danger man Lee Chin and the Banner slowly began to settle into their stride despite Diarmuid O'Keeffe's strong influence as sweeper.

Wexford lost Rory O'Connor to injury early on when leading by 1-4 to 0-4 and that signalled a change in fortunes as Clare started to get to grips with the extra man after being caught napping in the opening quarter.

A pair of Duggan frees and a score from Diarmuid Ryan quickly had them level and it was nip and tuck from there to the half-time whistle as the game failed to ignite in the opening half, 0-10 to 1-7.

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Chin had Wexford dreaming of a place in the last four when six ahead with 15 minutes to play but Darragh Egan's troops couldn't live with Clare down the home stretch as the impact of Shanagher and Meehan proved the difference in a cracking finale.

SCORERS – Clare: A Shanagher 1-2, P Duggan 0-5f, I Galvin 0-2, T Kelly 0-4, D Reidy 0-2, D Fitzgerald 0-1, S O'Donnell 0-2, D Ryan 0-3, S Meehan 0-2

Wexford: L Chin 2-8 (6f), J O'Connor 1-0, O Foley 0-2, R O'Connor 0-1, D Reck 0-1, D O'Keeffe 0-1, M Dwyer 0-1

CLARE – E Quilligan; P Flanagan, C Cleary, R Hayes; D Ryan, J Conlon, D McInerney; C Malone, R Taylor; D Fitzgerald, S O'Donnell, P Duggan; I Galvin, T Kelly, D Reidy.

Subs: C Nolan for Hayes (8), M Rodgers for Reidy (54), A Shanagher for Fitzgerald (59), S Meehan for Galvin (62)

WEXFORD – M Fanning; S Donohoe, S Reck, L Ryan; M O'Hsnlon, D Reck, P Foley; L Óg McGovern, C Devitt; R O'Connor, J O'Connor, O Foley; L Chin, C McDonald, D O'Keeffe.

Subs: M O'Dwyer for R O'Connor inj (14), K Foley for O'Keeffe (62), C Flood for McGovern (63), C McGuckian for S Reck inj (67), P Morris for D Reck inj (69)

REF – C Lyons (Cork)


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