Clare maintained their Division 1A status for 2018 after a comfortable victory over Dublin in Cusack Park. Dublin led by a point at the break but the Banner men played well in the second half scoring two goals which proved crucial to the outcome of this contest.

Allianz Hurling League Div 1A Relegation Play-off
Clare 3-18 Dublin 0-19

Joint managers Gerry O’Connor and Donal Moloney will take a lot of positives from this campaign and will look forward with optimism to the Munster Championship clash against Limerick on June 4th. Dublin came to Cusack Park brimming with confidence after the return of the Cuala players from their All-Ireland Club exertions on St Patrick’s Day and fancied their chances of causing a major upset.

The Dubs played well in the first half with their half back line led by Liam Rushe and Chris Crummy dominating the early exchanges. Up front Eamon Dillon, Donal Burke and Caolan Conway got on the score sheet throughout the first half putting them in a strong position going into the second half. However Dublin succumbed to Clare’s second half dominance and will need to improve ahead of their championship meeting against Galway.

John Conlon (Clonlara) scores Clare's second goal

John Conlon (Clonlara) scores Clare’s second goal

Aron Shanagher had Clare’s opening point after a great cross-field ball from Tony Kelly, the Wolfe Tones star made no mistake in splitting the posts. Dublin created the game’s first goal-scoring opportunity when Donal Burke’s first time pull produced a fine save from Andrew Fahy. Caolan Conway had Dublin’s first point before Cathal McInerney set up Aron Shanagher in front of the goal but his shot was wide.

Scores from Eamon Dillon, Niall McMorrow and David Treacy (free) had Dublin 0-04 to 0-01 in front after 11 minutes. Clare responded with a brace from David Reidy. Chris Crummy extended Dublin’s lead to two points before Seadna Morey’s pass was intercepted by Caolan Conway who set up Eamon Dillon and his shot produced another fine save from Fahy. A well taken David Fitzgerald point closed the gap before the Banner men had the opening goal.

Aron Shanagher climbed highest to catch Andrew Fahy’s long delivery before slamming the ball to the roof of the net giving Dublin goalkeeper Conor Dooley no chance. David Reidy and David Treacy exchanged frees before John Conlon extended the lead to three points 1-06 to 0-06 after 24 minutes. Donal Burke kept the Dubs in touch with two points. Colm Galvin’s long range effort extended the lead to two points.

Dublin finished the half well with points from David Treacy (frees), Donal Burke, Eamon Dillon and Caolan Conway. Tony Kelly had Clare’s last point of the half and Dublin led at the interval 0-13 to 1-08. Clare started the second half very well with Tony Kelly scoring within 10 seconds. David Reidy levelled matters from a placed ball as Clare got to grips with the game.

Colm Galvin and Kelly controlled midfield while Cian Dillon dominated at full-back forcing Dublin manager Ger Cunningham to replace Ryan O’Dwyer. Colm Galvin and Tony Kelly added points before John Conlon broke onto a loose ball and his low shot found the bottom corner of the net to extend Clare’s lead to five points. Eamon Dillon responded for the Dubs before another David Reidy free maintained Clare’s five-point lead.

Tony Kelly celebrates his goal against Dublin

Tony Kelly celebrates his goal against Dublin

Dublin kept plugging away and two David Treacy points closed the gap to 2-13 to 0-16 after 55 minutes. David Reidy stretched this to four points before Tony Kelly intercepted a Dublin puck-out to fire in an absolute rocket to the bottom corner of the net. Dublin battled on and Chris Crummy closed the gap to six points. Jason McCarthy was introduced and scored two great points as Clare looked to be out of sight. David Treacy pointed from a placed ball but Clare finished very well with scores from Aron Shanagher and club-mate Aaron Cunningham.

Chris Crummy had the last point of this game as Dublin tried hard to keep the scoreline within respectable limits but could find no way through a resolute Clare defence. The result means that Clare will continue to play in the top flight next year, this can only benefit the development of this squad going forward.

Best for the winners were: Cian Dillon, Tony Kelly, Colm Galvin, Aron Shanagher and Jason McCarthy. Dublin will need to be more consistent in their performances if they want a major force in the next few years. They were best served by Chris Crummy, David Treacy and Eamon Dillon.

Clare: Andrew Fahy; David McInerney, Cian Dillon, Seadna Morey; Brendan Bugler, Conor Cleary, David Fitzgerald (0-1); Jamie Shanahan, Tony Kelly (1-3); Colm Galvin (0-2), Podge Collins, John Conlon (1-1); Cathal McInerney, Aaron Shanagher (1-2), David Reidy (0-6,5fs). Subs: Jason McCarthy (0-2) for Shanahan (20 mins), Paul Flanagan for Morey (h/t), Aaron Cunningham (0-1) for McInerney (49 mins), Gearoid O’Connell for Bugler (67 mins).
Dublin: Conor Dooley; Cian O’Callaghan, Eoghan O’Donnell, Oisin Gough; Chris Crummy (0-3), Liam Rushe, Shane Barrett; Darragh O’Connell, Ben Quinn; Donal Burke (0-3), Niall McMorrow (0-1), David Treacy (0-7,5fs); Caolan Conway (0-2), Ryan O’Dwyer, Eamon Dillon (0-3). Subs: Jake Malone for Quinn (20 mins), Cian Boland for Conway (47 mins), Rian McBride for O’Dwyer (49 mins), Fergal Whitely for McMorrow (63 mins), Sean O’Riain for Treacy (67 mins).
Referee Johnny Ryan (Tipperary)