Donie Smith scored nine points and Roscommon remain firmly in the promotion picture as they secured a seven-point win over Clare at Cusack Park in Ennis.

Roscommon held a 1-09 to 1-07 half-time lead even though they fell behind early to a David Tubridy strike. Diarmuid Murtagh’s goal ensured they held the advantage at the interval.

Clare had Ciaran Russell sent-off on the resumption and Cathal Cregg scored a goal after his introduction, which meant Gary Brennan’s goal was only a consolation.

The hosts claimed their first win of the campaign with a narrow two-point victory at Down last time out and they continued that impressive form from the off.

It took just three minutes for Tubridy to score his goal, after midfielders Cathal O’Connor and Gary Brennan linked brilliantly in the build-up.

But that was before Niall Kilroy dropped deep to perform his sweeper role for the visitors, and Roscommon hit back with two points in a row. Their captain Conor Devaney scored in the seventh minute and Donie Smith doubled their tally shortly after that.

Clare’s first point didn’t arrive until Eoin Cleary scored in the tenth minute but that gave them a 1-01 to 0-02 lead. However, Ciarain Murtagh scored three of the next four points, with two from frees, as his side drew level in the 19th minute.

Clare’s effort from Keelan Sexton was a brilliant score that involved O’Connor and Gary Brennan again, but they could not get enough ball into their dangerous attacking unit. Clare had no such problems, and they hit 1-02 in a devastating two-minute blitz.

Ciarain Murtagh landed his fourth point with another pinpoint free and there was mix-up from the kick out which resulted in John McManus’ pass to Diarmuid Murtagh before he blasted their goal past Killian Roche in the 21st minute.

Smith scored his second point and Clare were now five points in arrears after a sensational turnaround. Tubridy hit back with a free in the 28th minute but he dropped his next one short.

Nevertheless, Clare only trailed by 1-09 to 1-07 at half-time with Sexton, Pearse Lillis, Tubridy and Sean O’Donoghue on target.

Clare got the first point of the second half through Eoin Cleary but Donie Smith cancelled that out and Russell was sent-off for an off the ball incident in the 43rd minute.

The home team rallied before substitute Cathal Cregg fired a goal after a pass from Donie Smith with nine minutes remaining. Roscommon looked out of touch and Gary Brennan’s late goal almost caused an unlikely comeback.

ROSCOMMON: James Featherston; Seanie McDermott, John McManus, Peter Domican; Ronan Daly, David Murray, Niall Daly; Tadhg O’Rourke, Cathal Compton; Ciarain Murtagh (0-06, 0-05f), Niall Kilroy, Conor Devaney (0-02); Donie Smith (0-09, 0-02f), Ciaran Lennon, Diarmuid Murtagh (1-01, 0-01f).

Subs: Fergal Lennon for J McManus (26), Enda Smith for N Daly (half-time), Brian Stack for Murray (49), Cathal Cregg (1-01) for C Lennon (57), Ian Kilbride for O’Rourke (65), Shane Killoran for D Murtagh (70).

CLARE: Killian Roche; Cian O’Dea, Cillian Brennan, Eoghan Collins; Ciaran Russell, Aaron Fitzgerald, Pearse Lillis (0-01); Gary Brennan (1-00), Cathal O’Connor; Kieran Malone, Eoin Cleary (0-05, 0-03f), Sean Collins; Sean O’Donoghue (0-01), Keelan Sexton (0-02), David Tubridy (1-03, 0-03f).

Subs: Gearoid O’Brien for E Collins (54), Conor Finucane for Tubridy (58), Sean Malone for Lillis (60), Darragh Bohannon for Sexton (63), Conan O hAinifein for S Collins (66).

Referee: Niall Cullen (Fermanagh).