Clare have nine points to spare over disappointing Offaly in Division 2 opener
Paraic McMahon reports from Cusack Park
COLM COLLINS BEGAN his ninth National League campaign as Clare senior football boss by overseeing a nine point win over Offaly.
Played in front of an attendance of 825, Clare got their Division 2 campaign off to a winning start deservedly seeing off the Faithful County on Sunday afternoon to collect a valuable two points.
Offaly boss, John Maughan who famously managed the Clare footballers to Munster SFC glory in 1992 returned to Cusack Park for the tie. During the outing, three members of the All-Ireland winning Offaly side of 2021, Lee Pearson, Cormac Egan and Jack Bryant featured in what will be viewed as a disappointing overall showing for the men from the Midlands.
Clare managed to weather an early Offaly storm with the visitors carving out a 0-05 0-01 advantage with twenty three minutes on the clock. Corner forward, Bernard Allen kicked three impressive scores during this spell, his quick hands also teed up Ruairí McNamee. With sixteen minutes played, Pearse Lillis opened Clare’s account.
Wing-back Alan Sweeney had the best goal opportunity of the opening half but his marker, Dylan Hyland was on the line to prevent the umpires reaching for the green flag. With Keelan Sexton firing the last three scores of the half, it was enough to see the hosts trail by a single point when the sides retreated at half-time.
Darragh Bohannon goaled when the second half was a mere two minutes old, the Shannon Gaels clubman appeared to be leaning back to kick a point but his apparent mis-hit was more than effective as it eluded Offaly netminder Paddy Dunican and slipped in the bottom left corner of the goal.
Eoin Cleary and Lee Pearson then traded scores before the Banner County hit 0-04 in succession. Offaly ended a twenty four minute scoring drought when Dunican converted a placed ball on sixty seven minutes.
Substitute Jamie Malone on the double plus white flags from Keelan Sexton and Ciaran Downes saw Clare finish with the final four scores to record a merited win. Cillian Brennan, Pearse Lillis, Ciaran Russell and debutant Manus Doherty were best for the winners with Bernard Allen and Lee Pearson showing well for Offaly. For round two, Clare travel to Cork while Offaly host Derry.
Scorers for Clare: K Sexton 0-05 (0-5f), D Bohannon 1-0, P Lillis (0-02), E Cleary 0-02 (0-1f), J Malone 0-2, D Tubridy 0-1, C Downes 0-1.
Scorers for Offaly: B Allen 0-3, R McNamee 0-1 (0-1f), D Hyland 0-1, L Pearson 0-1, P Durican 0-1 (0-1f).
1: Stephen Ryan (Kilrush Shamrocks)
4: Cillian Rouine (Ennistymon), 3: Cillian Brennan (Clondegad), 2: Manus Doherty (Éire Óg)
5: Cian O’Dea (Kilfenora), 6: Ciaran Russell (Éire Óg), 7: Alan Sweeney (St Breckans)
9: Darren O’Neill (Éire Óg), 8: Cathal O’Connor (Coolmeen)
10: Darragh Bohannon (Shannon Gaels), 11: Eoin Cleary (St Joseph’s Miltown), 12: Pearse Lillis (Cooraclare)
15: David Tubridy (Doonbeg), 14: Keelan Sexton (Kilmurry Ibrickane), 13: Aaron Griffin (Lissycasey)
17: Eoghan Collins (Ballyhaunis) for Rouine (54)
18: Padraic ‘Podge’ Collins (Cratloe) for Tubridy (54)
23: Jamie Malone (Corofin) for Griffin (57)
26: Daniel Walsh (Kilmurry Ibrickane) for Russell (64) (inj)
20: Ciaran Downes (Kilmihil) for O’Neill (71)
1: Paddy Dunican (Shamrocks)
19: Lee Pearson (Edenderry), 3: James Lalor (Raheen), 4: Niall Darby (Rhode)
5: Ciaran Donnelly (Bracknagh), 7: Cian Donohoe (St Brigid’s), 6: Johnny Maloney (c) (Tullamore)
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8: Jordan Hayes (Edenderry), 9: Cathal Mangan (Kilclonfert)
10: Bill Carroll (Capincur), 11: Anton Sullivan (Rhode), 12: Dylan Hyland (Raheen)
13: Bernard Allen (Tubber), 17: Niall McNamee (Rhode), 15: Ruairi McNamee (Rhode)
18: Cormac Egan (Tullamore) for Carroll (34)
23: David Dempsey (Ballycommon) for Sullivan (HT)
2: Declan Hogan (Tullamore) for N McNamee (HT)
14: Jack Bryant (Shamrocks) for Hyland (48)
22: Colm Doyle (Clara) for Pearson (64) (inj)
26: Rory Egan (Edenderry) for Mangan (71) (inj)
Referee: Brendan Griffin (Kerry)
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