Clare recorded their largest ever win in championship hurling as they eased past Laois to book their place in the next phase of the All-Ireland hurling qualifiers.
Venue: Cusack Park
Wolfe Tones teenager Aron Shanagher ensured he’ll remember his first championship start for the Banner as he finished the tie with a personal tally of 3-01 all of which came from play. Fresh from sitting his Leaving Certificate the strong attacker will have tougher tests to pass as their campaign progresses but he certainly put his hand up for a starting jersey in their next clash.
A total crowd of 5,518 gathered in Cusack Park as the hosts annihilated the O’Moore men it what was an incredibly one-sided contest. Clare had ten different scorers over the seventy minutes while their opponents finished the encounter with thirteen men while they picked up injuries including one sustained by captain Cahir Healy.
At the eventual sounding of Barry Kelly’s half-time whistle Davy Fitzgerald’s outfit held a 2-14 0-04 advantage after playing an additional seven minutes. Clare exerted their dominance in the second half as Shanagher and Podge Collins struck for goal to confirm what everyone already knew.
Clare will discover their next round opponents on Monday morning with the possibility of playing either Wexford, Cork or Limerick on the cards. Whoever they face it will be a much more difficult task but the key thing for the men in Saffron and Blue was to return to winning ways and they did rather emphatically.
Clare: Andrew Fahey (Whitegate); Cian Dillon (Crusheen), Patrick O’Connor (Tubber), Oisin O’Brien (Clonlara); Jack Browne (Ballyea), David McInerney (Tulla) (0-03), Brendan Bugler (Whitegate); Conor Cleary (Kilmaley) (0-02), David Reidy (Éire Óg); John Conlon (Clonlara) (0-02), Padraic Collins (Cratloe) (1-03), Colm Galvin (Clonlara) (0-02); Tony Kelly (Ballyea) (0-10 3f), Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg) (1-03), Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones) (3-01). Subs: David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona) for McInerney (42), Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge) for Cleary (42), Cathal O’Connell (Clonlara) (0-05 4f) for Kelly (48), Shane Golden (Sixmilebridge) (0-01) for Reidy (51), Colin Ryan (Newmarket-on-Fergus) for Conlon (55).
Laois: Enda Rowland (St Lazerian’s Abbeyleix) (0-02 2f); Cahir Healy (Portlaoise), Ryan Mullaney (Castletown), Dwane Palmer (Camross); Matthew Whelan (Borris in Ossory/Kilcotton) (0-01), Colm Stapleton (Borris in Ossory/Kilcotton), Patrick Purcell (Rathdowney Errill); Leigh Bergin (Shanahoe), Ben Conroy (Slieve Bloom); Charles Dwyer (Ballinakill) (0-02), John Lennon (Rosenallis), Willie Hyland (Clough Ballacolla) (0-03 3f); Willie Dunphy (Clough Ballacolla) (0-01), Neil Foyle (Borris in Ossory/Kilcotton) (0-01), PJ Scully (Borris in Ossory/Kilcotton) (0-01 1f). Subs: Ross King (Rathdowney Errill) for Bergin (10, inj), Podge Lawlor (Ballinakill) for Healy (28, inj), Mark Kavanagh (Rathdowney Errill) (0-01) for Scully (35), Darren Maher (Clough Ballacolla) for Stapleton (48), Joe Phelan (Camross) for Dunphy (57).
Referee: Barry Kelly (Westmeath)
All photos by Gary Collins & Martin Connolly