Clare secured back-to-back opening National League Division 2 victories for the first time under Colm Collins when easing past the disappointing challenge of newcomers Offaly in Cusack Park, Ennis this afternoon.
In front of a modest 825 spectators, Clare's sixth successive season in Division 2 commenced with a dominant performance, accentuated by outscoring the flagging visitors by 1-12 to 0-02 in the last 45 minutes. Darragh Bohannon’s goal just after half-time was the crucial score as it catapulted the Banner into the ascendency for the first time at 1-04 to 0-05, a position from which they would only strengthen thereafter.
On the flip side, Offaly will rue not making the most of a strong start with the aid of the strong conditions which were accompanied by an incessant drizzle. They did build up an early 0-05 to 0-01 advantage, thanks in the main to an eye-catching hat-trick of points from Bernard Allen by the 23rd minute but also kicked as many wides.
So once the home side finally settled into their stride, frees from Keelan Sexton (2) and Eoin Cleary lessened the interval damage to just the minimum at 0-05 to 0-04. It could have been even better for Clare but a flowing move that ended with Alan Sweeney rounding goalkeeper Paddy Dunican, only for his shot to be saved on the line by Dylan Hyland.
Clare did make amends immediately on the restart however when Darragh Bohannon’s effort nestled into the left corner of the net following good work from Ciaran Russell, Pearse Lillis and Keelan Sexton. With that, the hosts went about cementing the points, with experienced trio Eoin Cleary, David Tubridy and Sexton stretching the gap to six before substitutes Jamie Malone (2) and Ciaran Downes fleshed out the final margin in injury-time.
Clare: Stephen Ryan; Manus Doherty, Cillian Brennan, Cillian Rouine; Cian O’Dea, Ciaran Russell, Alan Sweeney; Cathal O’Connor, Darren O’Neill; Darragh Bohannon (1-00), Eoin Cleary (0-03, 0-02f), Pearse Lillis (0-02); David Tubridy (0-01), Keelan Sexton (0-04, 0-04f), Aaron Griffin
Subs: Podge Collins for Tubridy (55), Eoghan Collins for Rouine (55), Jamie Malone (0-02) for Griffin (57), Daniel Walsh for Russell (65), Ciaran Downes (0-01) for O’Neill (71)
Offaly: Paddy Dunican (0-01, 0-01f); Niall Darby, James Lalor, Lee Pearson (0-01); Ciaran Donnely, Johnny Moloney, Cian Donohue; Jordan Hayes, Cathal Mangan; Bill Carroll, Anton Sullivan, Dylan Hyland (0-01); Ruairi McNamee (0-01), Niall McNamee, Bernard Allen (0-03)
Subs: Cormac Egan for Carroll (HT), David Dempsey for Sullivan (HT), Declan Hogan for N. McNamee (HT), Jack Bryant for Hyland (49), Colm Doyle for Pearson (64), Rory Egan for Mangan (75)
Referee: Brendan Griffin (Kerry)