Clare's Indian sign over Wexford was maintained in Semple Stadium this afternoon after knocking the Leinster side out of the All-Ireland Championship for the third time in four years.
A scorching start matched the stifling weather conditions as a tally 1-07 by the 12th minute provided the Banner with a lead that they would never surrender despite a rousing Wexford second half revival.
Indeed, thanks in the main to an emphatic finish by Cathal Malone in the ninth minute, Clare would take a 1-09 to 0-03 advantage into the opening water break and actually extended their margin to eleven by the 20th minute after resuming with points through Aidan McCarthy and Aron Shanagher.
Wexford did find their feet with an opportunist goal from Diarmuid O’Keeffe in the 22nd minute but Clare had effectively cancelled it out by the half hour mark after Shanagher and Tony Kelly ensured a 1-15 to 1-05 cushion.
A defiant Wexford slowly gathered momentum for the remainder with the last five points of the half, three from Lee Chin. And while half-time seemed to come at just the wrong time for Davy Fitzgerald’s side, they resumed with three further unanswered points through Conor McDonald, Rory O’Connor and Liam Óg McGovern to slash the deficit to just two at 1-15 to 1-13 by the 40th minute.
Inevitably, Tony Kelly finally ended Clare’s twelve-minute barren period but what followed was a blow-for-blow final 30 minutes that saw Clare’s lead fleshed out to six only to be halved coming down the final straight.
A tense finale was accentuated by goal chances at either end as Aron Shanagher was brought down for a 20 metre free while Lee and Conor McDonald would be denied by last ditch tackles from David McInerney and John Conlon.
Wexford’s frustrations were compounded when Clare grabbed an injury-the goal through substitute Gary Cooney whose flick from a Tony Kelly delivery appeared to be the clinching score.
However, Wexford would finally get the goal they craved albeit that Chin’s rebound strike came too late to alter the result as Clare inflicted another detrimental reverse on their former All-Ireland winning manager on their way to the last eight of the All-Ireland Championship.
Clare: Eibhear Quilligan; Paul Flanagan, Conor Cleary, Rory Hayes (0-01); Diarmuid Ryan (0-01), John Conlon, Paidi Fitzpatrick; Colm Galvin, Tony Kelly (0-09, 0-07f); Cathal Malone (1-01), David Reidy (0-03), Ryan Taylor (0-03); Aron Shanagher (0-02), Aidan McCarthy (0-03), Ian Galvin.
Subs: David McInerney for Fitzpatrick (HT), Mark Rodgers (0-02) for I. Galvin (48), Jack Browne for C. Galvin (55), Aaron Fitzgerald for Conlon (65), Gary Cooney (1-00) for Shanagher (70)
Wexford: Mark Fanning; Gavin Bailey, Liam Ryan, Matthew O’Hanlon; Joe O’Connor, Simon Donohoe, Liam Óg McGovern (0-01); Shane Reck, Diarmuid O’Keeffe (1-00); Paul Morris, Lee Chin (1-12, 0-09f, 0-01’65), Rory O’Connor (0-02); Cathal Dunbar (0-05), Conor McDonald (0-02), Kevin Foley.
Subs: Damien Reck for J. O’Connor (46), Jack O’Connor for McGovern (47), Aidan Nolan for Morris (53), Connal Flood for Bailey (58), Mikie Dwyer for O’Keeffe (66)
Referee: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)