/ GAA

Laois 2-19 Clare 2-23

Updated: Sunday, 30 Mar 2014 21:51 | Comments

Laois' Paddy Purcell and Patrick Donnellan of Clare
Laois' Paddy Purcell and Patrick Donnellan of Clare

Audio

Clare played their 'get out of jail' card as they overcame a determined Laois side by 2-23 to 2-19 in the Allianz Hurling League quarter-final, with the O'Moore's down to 14-men from the 22nd minute.

Down a man, following a straight red card for defender Tom Delaney in the second quarter, Seamus Plunkett's side gave a brave performance, with just two points between the sides in the 69th minute, following a goal from substitute Brendan Reddin.

It took late scores from Tony Kelly and Colin Ryan (0-10) to ensure a four-point win, and a semi-final place for the visitors.

Earlier, Laois led by 1-01 to 0-03 after seven minutes following a Neil Foyle goal, but were 1-12 to 1-09 in arrears at the interval, with Shane O'Donnell netting the first of his two goals for Clare.

O'Donnell's second goal in the 45th minute opened up a 2-15 to 1-11 lead, and although Clare moved eight points clear Laois never gave up.

Stephen Maher (0-06) worked hard from placed balls, with Reddin's late goal ensuring a grandstand finish, but Clare held out for victory.
 

Twenty points separated the sides when they met in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Qualifiers last summer, but with the reigning All-Ireland champions in town, Laois were keen to show they meant business.

The hosts looked determined in the opening minutes, and although Foyle's goal handed them the lead after seven minutes, it was their accuracy that let them down in the opening 35 minutes.

Laois registered four wides inside the opening eight minutes, and although they extended their lead to two points following a Tommy Fitzgerald score, Clare fired six of the next seven points, with Ryan extremely accurate from placed balls.

Laois's wides tally stood at 11 at the break, as opposed to Clare's three, although the hosts were level on three occasions with Clare in the final 12 minutes of the half.

The dismissal of Delaney on a straight red card in the 22nd minute, drew the ire of the Laois supporters after an innocuous challenge on John Conlon, but Laois hit the next two scores, with Charlie Dwyer drawing level, before Matthew Whelan converted a 65 to push Laois in front.

Ryan continued to impress from placed balls, while Conor Cooney and Conor McGrath also added to the Clare tally, with the latter's second point ensuring a 0-12 to 1-09 score-line, with injury-time approaching.

Laois were eager to regain the lead before the interval, but Joe Fitzpatrick and Dwane Palmer efforts were both wide, either side of a strong goal chance for the hosts.

Foyle showed great pace to feed the unmarked John Purcell, who found Tommy Fitzgerald on the wing, but the Portlaoise clubman was denied by Patrick Kelly in the Clare goalmouth.

The visitors worked hard at the opposite end and utilised their extra man to good effect, with Shane O'Donnell smashing the ball past Eoin Reilly to ensure a 1-12 to 1-09 interval advantage.

Laois manager Seamus Plunkett made one change at the break, with goal-scorer Foyle moving to the bench and Ross King introduced.

With the wind firmly at their backs on the restart, Clare worked hard, but Laois actually managed more against the wind than in the opening 35 minutes.

Clare outscored Laois by 0-03 to 0-01 inside six minutes of the restart, and also registered three wides during this spell.

Stephen Maher cut the gap to four points once more, with his second score of the afternoon, but Clare were ruthless from the puckout, as O'Donnell pounced for his second goal, to ensured a 2-15 to 1-11 score-line in the 45th minute.

Eight points separated the sides in the 49th minute, but Laois fought hard.

The O'Moore's forced a 21-metre free, and although Willie Hyland was denied initially by a Conor Cooney block, an infringement ensured the free was retaken by Hyland was denied by goalkeeper Kelly on the second attempt.

Laois cut the gap to four points with five and a half minutes remaining with Hyland slotting over a wonder score.

Aaron Cunningham fired over an excellent point for the visitors, but Laois were far from finished.

Substitute Reddin's goal was certainly a crowd-pleasing score, and cut the gap to two points, with 90 seconds of normal time left on the clock.

But Clare's experience told in the end as Kelly and Colin Ryan fired points to ensure a semi-final date with Tipperary.

Clare: P Kelly; D McInerney, C Dillon, C Cooney; B Bugler, Conor Ryan, P O'Connor (0-01); P Donnellan, B Duggan (0-01); Colin Ryan (0-10, 8f), P Duggan, J Conlon (0-01); S O'Donnell (2-00), T Kelly (0-03), C McGrath (0-04).

Subs: A Cunningham (0-02) for Donnellan (46); C McInerney (0-01) for B Duggan (52); J Browne for Dillon (57); D Reidy for Conlon (72).

Laois: E Reilly; JA Delaney, B Campion, B Stapleton (0-01); J Fitzpatrick, M Whelan (0-02, 1 65), T Delaney; P Purcell (0-03), D Palmer; J Purcell, W Hyland (0-02), S Maher (0-06, 6f); N Foyle (1-00), C Dwyer (0-01), T Fitzgerald (0-03).

Subs: R King for Foyle (HT); P Whelan for J Purcell (41); B Reddin (1-01) for Dwyer (54); PJ Scully for Fitzgerald (67).

Referee: Alan Kelly (Galway)

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