Monday 18 December 2017

the game at a glance

Man of the match

John Conlon (Clare)

When Clare needed leadership, he stepped up. Four points, the last a lesson in nerve and patience as he held up possession close to the sideline and picked his moment, said everything about him.

Turning point

It didn't feel like it at the time but ultimately being reduced to 14 men after Nicky O'Connell's second yellow two minutes into the second half brought a different mindset for Clare, one they thrived on.

Talking point

Any amount around a buzzing Cusack Park. Clare have a really bright future with many of these players as the cornerstone. That much was written in stone on Saturday night. The exciting teenager Tony Kelly is an outrageous talent with a huge future ahead of him. And will Anthony Daly remain on in Dublin? Has he taken them as far as he can? Testing times for all ahead.

Magic moment

He's 19 years old in his first senior championship start on his home turf on one of those electric nights and his team, a point behind with 17 minutes remaining, wins a 20-metre free. The manager asks him to take it and orders him to go for a goal. Tony Kelly's is unstoppable. Could it get any better?

Ref watch

Clare's second free in the 28th minute brought an ironic cheer from the home crowd and Diarmuid Kirwan was noticeably more liberal in his application after that. He let a lot go. It contributed to a good evening's sport but there were a lot of wild tackles in this match and more players should have seen yellow cards.

What they said

Davy Fitzgerald

(Clare manager):

"We wanted the pressure. We said after the Waterford game, give us a tough draw because we have to find out what we're about. I think we showed tonight we have character."

Anthony Daly

(Dublin manager):

"We looked to be in a winning position but we didn't seem to drive on for some reason. The Clare crowd played their part as well. It was a Cusack Park night -- I've been lucky enough to be part of them at times.

I was on the other end of it tonight."

Match Statistics

Wides: Clare 11 (5 first half); Dublin 15 (7)

Frees: Clare 11 (5); Dublin 14 (8)

Yellow cards: Clare 3 (D O'Donovan 22, N O'Connell 27, 36); Dublin 0

Red cards: Clare 1 (N O'Connell 36); Dublin 0

Attendance: 9,827

What next?

Clare are in the Phase 3 qualifiers against Wexford or Limerick next weekend; Dublin, meanwhile, must ponder the failure to follow up last year's progress in what has been a most disappointing season.

Irish Independent

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