Clare withstand defiant comeback from Brian Cody's Kilkenny to maintain 100pc record
Clare maintained their 100 per cent record in the Division 1A Allianz hurling League campaign with an excellent performance which just edged out Kilkenny in Nowlan Park.
They did it the hard way, eventually squeezing home by three points after taking an eight-point lead into the second half.
Kilkenny staged a defiant recovery, which cut the deficit to two points in the 67th minute. They had a chance to pare it back to one but Alan Murphy, who had earlier scored ten points from placed balls, drove a ‘65’ wide.
Clare sub, Niall Deasy closed out the scoring in the final minute of stoppage time.
Clare led by 2-12 to 1-7 at half-time, having inflicted most of the damage in the opening 19 minutes when they opened up an 11-point lead. It was level at 0-2 each after six minutes before Clare took complete control, scoring an unanswered 2-5.
Shane O’Donnell pounced for the first goal after eight minutes and the second came in the 19th minute when David Reidy’s long range shot was fumbled into the net by Eoin Murphy.
It was a most uncharacteristic error by Murphy, who had earlier made a great save from Podge Collins.
Kilkenny bounced back in the 20th minute when Bill Sheehan flicked the ball to the net off a long range free by Murphy. They cut the lead to five points on the half-hour mark but Clare regained control from there on, firing over four points, countered only by Pat Lyng’s stoppage time points.
It was the only point Kilkenny registered from play in the first half, with the other six coming from Alan Murphy (0-5 frees and a ‘65’).
Kilkenny: E Murphy (0-2, 2f); J Holden, P Walsh, P Deegan; C Buckley, R Lennon, J Lyng; J Maher, , O Walsh; J Donnelly, R Reid, R Leahy (0-1); B Sheehan (1-0), W Walsh (0-2), A Murphy (0-10, 8f, 2’65’).
Subs: E Morrissey for J Lyng (19), P Lyng (0-1) for O Walsh (26), M Keoghan (0-2) for Reid (26), C O’Shea for Lennon (44), L Blanchfield for Donnelly (62).
Clare: D Tuohy; J Browne, C Cleary, P O’Connor; D Fitzgerald (0-1), D McInerney, S Morey (0-1); C Galvin (0-1), T Kelly (0-1); C Malone (0-2), J Conlon (0-3), D Reidy (1-3); S O’Donnell (1-0), P Duggan (0-5,3f, 1s/l), P Collins.
Subs: M O’Malley for Fitzgerald (55), I Galvin for Collins (61), N Deasy (0-1) for Malone (66), J McCarthy for Duggan (71).
Referee - J McGrath (Westmeath)