Ryan strike sees Banner survive Carlow fright
CLARE hurlers got the fright of their hurling lives as they were pushed to the limit by a hugely impressive Carlow side, before claiming both league points by the slenderest of margins at Dr Cullen Park yesterday.
It was a heartbreaking defeat for Kevin Ryan's team, who were denied a draw when a long-range free from outstanding home full-back Shane Kavanagh drifted wide in injury-time.
Level four times over the course of the game, Carlow matched the Banner County in all aspects of the game and were unlucky not to have at least shared the points.
Clare were never allowed to settle by a fiercely determined Carlow team whose half-back line of Edward Coady, John Rogers and Richard Coady was solid as a rock.
But it was the inability of the Carlow attack to make best use of their scoring opportunities which cost them another famous win to follow the previous Sunday's shock 0-16 to 0-13 win over Wexford at the same venue.
The game's crucial score came 16 minutes into the second half when Colin Ryan crashed the ball to the Carlow net from a close-range free to put Ger O'Loughlin's men into a 1-6 to 0-8 lead.
Almost immediately a pointed free from Kavanagh levelled matters. The impressive Jonathan Clancy and Robert Foley traded points from play before a pointed free from substitute Denis Murphy put Carlow back in front (0-11 to 1-7) with 10 minutes remaining.
But a brace of unanswered points out of play by Clare centre-forward John Conlon edged the Munster county over the line as the visitors maintained their unbeaten league record.
Scorers -- Clare: C Ryan 1-3, J Clancy, J Conlon 0-2 each, C O'Donovan, S Collins 0-1 each. Carlow: S Kavanagh 0-5 (0-4f, 0-1 '65), P Kehoe 0-2 (0-2f), C Doyle, A Gaule, D Roberts, D Murphy (0-1f) 0-1 each.
Clare -- D Tuohy; P Vaughan, C Dillon, G O'Grady; E Glynn, J McInerney, P Donnellan; B Bugler, C O'Donovan; S Collins, J Conlon, D McMahon; A Markham, B Nugent, C Ryan. Subs: J Clancy for Flynn (26), M Murphy for Nugent (45), M Flaherty for Markham (56).
Carlow -- K Kehoe; A Corcoran, S Kavanagh, D Shaw; E Coady, J Rogers, R Coady; D Roberts, E Nolan; E Byrne, M Brennan, C Doyle; A Gaule, R Foley, P Kehoe. Subs: D Murphy for Byrne (h-t); R Dunbar for P Kehoe (54); A Brennan for Gaule (61).
Ref -- S Whelan (Wexford).