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Peter Duggan goal the platform for comfortable Clare win

Updated: Sunday, 14 Feb 2016 18:24 | Comments

Clare's Conor McGrath and Niall Wynne of Offaly
Clare's Conor McGrath and Niall Wynne of Offaly

Clare 2-21 Offaly 0-15

Clare eased past 13-man Offaly at Cusack Park as Peter Duggan's goal before the break saw the Banner men eventually brush Offaly aside in this Allianz Hurling League Division 1B encounter.

The Faithful County had Conor Doughan sent off along with Clare's goalscorer in the 50th minute, while Paddy Rigney also got his marching orders eight minutes later for a second yellow card offence.

Nine points from Colin Ryan and three more from John Conlon meant Offaly could not keep in touch with the home side, who also hit 16 wides in Ennis.

Had Shane Dooley managed to convert 61st-minute penalty things might have been different for Eamonn Kelly's side, but an added-time goal from Aaron Shanagher wrapped up the win for Clare.

After winning the toss and electing to face the breeze in the first-half, Clare would have been disappointed to get off to a sluggish start in Ennis.

A Colin Ryan point from play did give them the first score of the game, but the following 15 minutes belonged to Offaly as Eamonn Kelly's side took hold around the middle.

With Shane Kinsella operating as a sweeper for Offaly, and David McInerney doing likewise for the Banner men, there was plenty of loose ball gathered by the pair. But when the Offaly defence managed to get the ball into their attackers' hands they did plenty of damage.

Paddy Murphy got his side up and running in the sixth minute and after Shane Dooley landed his first of three first-half frees, a great point from Pat Camon gave Offaly a 0-3 to 0-1 lead after a quarter of an hour.

Clare played in fits and starts for most of the first-half and two points in a minute from Colm Galvin and full-back Cian Dillon soon drew them level.

But with Jason Sampson pulling the strings for Offaly they hit three of the next four points - another Murphy point from play was followed by frees from Conor Doughan and Dooley for a 0-06 to 0-03 lead.

But Clare made a change at that stage and moved Darach Honan out to wing-forward in a swap with Peter Duggan. The result was five points in a row for Clare.

And in the last minute of normal time before the interval, Duggan showed all the power he is renowned for and shook off two Offaly defenders and flicked past James Dempsey to the net for a 1-13 to 0-7 half-time lead.

Conlon started Clare off again with a great point in the 36th minute, but he immediately left the field injured and after a couple of frees from Colin Ryan were matched by Dooley, the game's major talking point ensued.

John Conlon has his jersey pulled by Conor Doughan

With the Offaly goal under sever pressure, an off the ball altercation between Peter Duggan and Doughan ensued, with Duggan emerging from the encounter with no helmet. Both players were shown straight red cards.

Dooley kept Offaly in with a chance with two quick points and moments after Rigney picked up his second yellow card, Dooley saw his tame penalty saved by Patrick Kelly, which would have closed the gap to five points.

From there Clare eased clear as substitute Bobby Duggan and David McInerney pointed in a five-point run for the Banner men.

There was plenty of honest effort from Offaly, especially from top scorer Pat Camon and Shane Kinsella, who landed a great score late on, but Clare will be delighted with the win ahead of next week's clash with Wexford in Wexford Park.

Clare: P Kelly; P O'Connor, C Dillon (0-01), D McInerney (0-02); Conor Ryan, P Flanagan, C Cleary (0-01); D Reidy (0-01), C Galvin (0-01); Colin Ryan (0-09, 0-07f); J Conlon (0-03), P Duggan (1-00), S O'Donnell (0-01), D Honan, C McGrath.

Subs: A Cunningham for Honan (35+1 mins), A Shanagher (1-00) for Conlon (39 mins), B Duggan (0-02, 0-01f) for Colin Ryan (52 mins), D Fitzgerald for McGrath (57 mins), J Browne for Conor Ryan (64 mins),

Offaly: J Dempsey; N Wynne, C McDonald, P Rigney; P Camon (0-03), C Doughan (0-01, 0-01f), S Gardiner; P Guinan, S Kinsella (0-01); P Murphy (0-02), S Dooley (0-08, 0-06f, 0-01'65), J Bergin; J Mulrooney, C Egan, J Sampson.

Subs: J O'Connor for Guinan (32 mins), S Quirke for Sampson (35+1 mins), S Cleary for Mulrooney (63 mins), B Murphy for Bergin (65 mins)

Referee: S Cleere (Kilkenny).

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