Dublin 2-17 Clare 0-17

Updated: Monday, 24 Feb 2014 15:08 | Comments

Conor McGrath of Clare tries to block Liam Rushe's clearance at Parnell Park
Conor McGrath of Clare tries to block Liam Rushe's clearance at Parnell Park



Conal Keaney turned in another huge display as Dublin got up and running in Allianz HL Division 1A with a comfortable 2-17 to 0-17 win over All-Ireland champions Clare at Parnell Park.

Named as a wing-forward but starting in the full-forward line, Keaney delivered an impressive 1-3 from play.

Free-taker Alan McCrabbe also tallied nine points from placed balls and proved that his year out from county action hasn't affected him.

It was the perfect response from Anthony Daly's side after their heavy defeat to Galway in round one. But it was a surprisingly bad afternoon for Davy Fitzgerald's Clare after their enthusiastic display against Kilkenny a week ago.

Daly clearly demanded a big improvement from his Leinster champions because they opened with gusto.

McCrabbe put them ahead with a first minute free, moving them into a lead that they would hold for the rest of the game. Clare were never quite out of it but were always chasing a home side that looked hungry and sharp throughout.

Keaney started in a two-man full-forward line alongside David O'Callaghan and proved a dynamic outlet and he fired over 1-2 in the opening half. Both David McInerney and Cian Dillon struggled to keep tabs on him.

The hosts were aided by a diagonal breeze and edged Clare in possession terms around the middle third.

McCrabbe converted eight of his placed balls in the opening half but was generally lively and chopped over one brilliant side line cut.

Clare's forwards saw less of the ball. They trailed 1-12 to 0-10 at half-time and five of their points came from Colin Ryan frees.

Another of their scores came from a long range Pat O'Connor effort while John Conlon shot 0-02.

Clare boss Fitzgerald made changes in every line of the field to the team originally named. Pat Donnellan and Shane Golden formed the midfield with Colm Galvin shifted in to left corner-forward.

All-Ireland final hero Shane O'Donnell played at full-forward but got little change out of Peter Kelly. The Munster side made little use of the helping breeze after the break and were quickly killed off.

Colm Cronin grabbed Dublin's second goal after 45 minutes, following up on Keaney's 14th minute bet blast to put them 2-14 to 0-12 up. Keaney was involved again with a great catch before McCrabbe's low ball in which Cronin seized on and batted to the net.

Shane Durkin weighed in with two great points from distance as well as an inspirational catch that boosted the Dubs.

Dublin: G Maguire, N Corcoran, P Kelly, S Timlin, S Durkin (0-02), L Rushe, M Carton, C Cronin (1-01), J McCaffrey (0-01), R O'Dwyer, A McCrabbe (0-09, 8f, 1 s/l), D Sutcliffe, D O'Callaghan (0-01), M Schutte, C Keaney (1-03).

Subs: J Dougan for Timlin, E Dillon for McCrabbe, D Treacy for O'Callaghan, N McMorrow for O'Dwyer.

Clare: D Tuohy, D McInerney, C Dillon, S Morey, P O'Connor (0-01), Conor Ryan, B Bugler, P Donnellan, S Golden, J Conlon (0-03), T Kelly (0-02, 1f), Colin Ryan (0-07, 7f), C McGrath (0-01), S O'Donnell, C Galvin.

Subs.: N O'Connell for Golden, C O'Connell (0-01) for Conor Ryan, B Duggan (0-02, 2f) for Colin Ryan, D Reidy for Morey.

Referee: A Kelly (Galway).

Hear Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald's reaction to the loss, when he spoke to RTE Sunday Sport

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