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CLARE 3-24 WEXFORD 1-20 (After extra-time)
CLARE came good in extra-time to book their place in the All-Ireland senior hurling quarter-finals.
Cathal McInerney, who was brought on with five minutes of normal time remaining, scored two goals in the first period of extra-time to finally seal this phase 3 qualifier for Davy Fitzgerald's side.
Both were created by Conor McGrath and finished clinically by McInerney, who had replaced fellow goalscorer Shane O'Donnell.
Jack Guiney's late goal sealed Wexford's fightback from seven points down and brought the sides level at 1-17 apiece and ensured two extra periods of 10 minutes each.
At half-time in extra-time, Clare had moved into an eight-point lead, 3-20 to 1-18, with a devastating run of scores.
Wexford kept plugging away and Jack Guiney rattled the crossbar in the second period. But their day ended on a low note when corner-back Bobby Kenny was sent off for a second bookable offence.
But Clare should not have needed extra-time to get the job done. They registered 16 wides over the regulation 70 minutes – including nine in the second half alone.
Fitzgerald's team had led by six at half-time – 1-10 to 0-7 – as Wexford struggled badly for scores from play.
Four of the Model County's first-half points were frees from Guiney but it was Clare who opened the brighter and led by 0-2 to 0-0 within two minutes through a pair of Colin Ryan frees.
Ryan would finish the first half with six points, including five from placed balls, but Shane O'Donnell's 14th-minute goal was a real fillip for the Banner County.
Wexford had recovered from their slow start to lead by 0-3 to 0-2, with Guiney notching two of those points, followed by Garrett Sinnott's eighth-minute point from play. But Clare were back in front when O'Donnell latched onto Patrick Donnellan's fine long pass to lash a shot past Mark Fanning.
Wexford responded at the other end when Podge Doran fired a shot at Patrick Kelly but the Clare goalkeeper controlled the ball comfortably and completed his clearance.
Clare were now in control and four minutes before half-time, they had the chance to extend a six-point lead when Tomás Waters body-checked O'Donnell, when the ball had run harmlessly through to Fanning.
It was an offence punished by referee Diarmuid Kirwan with a penalty award to Clare but Tony Kelly's drive was saved on the line.
In the follow-up passage of play, Clare did gain some reward when Brendan Bugler fired over from 45 metres to open up their biggest lead of the half, 1-9 to 0-5.
A pair of Guiney frees brought Wexford back to within five points but Ryan put six between the sides with the final score of the half, in the second minute of stoppage time.
Clare still remained comfortable in the early stages of the second half but Wexford had a sting left in them before they finally ran out of gas.
Scorers – Clare: C Ryan 0-10 (6f, 2 '65s'), C McInerney 2-1, T Kelly 0-5 (0-1 pen), S O'Donnell 1-1, J Conlon 0-3, B Bugler, P Collins, S Morey & A Cunningham 0-1 each. Wexford: J Guiney 1-8 (6f), D Redmond, P Morris, P Doran, G Moore 0-2 each, C Kenny, G Sinnott, C McDonald & M O'Regan 0-1 each.
Clare: P Kelly; D O'Donovan, D McInerney, C Dillon; B Bugler, P Donnellan, P O'Connor; C Galvin, C Ryan; J Conlon, T Kelly, P Duggan; P Collins, S O'Donnell, C McGrath. Subs: S Morey for Galvin (54), A Cunningham for Duggan (59), C McInerney for O'Donnell (65), F Lynch for Conlon (70+1), N O'Connell for Ryan (70+1), Ryan for Morey (75), Conlon for McGrath (80), Morey for O'Connor (86).
Wexford: M Fanning; E Moore, T Waters, B Kenny; R Kehoe, K Rossiter, C Kenny; A Shore, D Redmond; P Morris, E Quigley, G Sinnott; R Jacob, J Guiney, P Doran. Subs: G Moore for Quigley (34), H Kehoe for R Kehoe (h-t), E Doyle for Waters (64), PJ Nolan for H Kehoe (69), C McDonald for Doran (69), M O'Regan for Sinnott (76), C O'Shaughnessy for Rossiter (79).
Referee: D Kirwan (Cork).