Clare began their defence of the Oscar Traynor Trophy with a good victory over Galway, just like previous meetings between the sides it was a very well contested match with the result in doubt right to the final whistle.
Oliver Fitzpatrick reports from Frank Healy Park
Venue: Frank Healy Park
Galway started well and Stephen Kelly had to be sharp on four minutes to head clear a good delivery from Geoff Power. Moments later a great strike from 25 yards from Jason Molloy opened the scoring for the visitors. Clare responded well and David McCarthy scored the equalizer on 15 minutes with a great strike from a free kick on the edge of the box.
Clare went in front on 35 minutes when Stephen Kelly broke up a Galway attack and made a powerful run forward before sending a through ball to Eoin Hayes down the left wing. Hayes got on the end of the delivery and ghosted past three defenders before firing an unstoppable shot to the back of the Galway net.
Donie Garrihy’s side were well on top now and McCarthy went close again with a left foot strike that narrowly missed the target on 40 minutes after some nice footwork on the edge of the Galway box. It remained 2-1 to Clare at the break.
It was end to end stuff in the second half with Galway putting Clare under a lot pressure as they tried to get back in the game. Ronan Caldwell forced Barry Ryan into making a good save on 50 minutes with a well struck shot. Molloy went even closer for Galway on 64 minutes with a powerful shot from inside the box as Ryan kept Clare in front with a great save.
A good run and cross from Eoin Whelan on 67 minutes was met by an Eoin Hayes header that narrowly missed the target. A strong run and shot from Colin Ryan on 69 minutes took a deflection and John Egan did well to make the save. Galway went close again from a Geoff Power free kick on 71 minutes as Ryan showed a safe paid of hands to hold the shot.
Galway kept the pressure on and Ryan kept out an effort from Power again on 76 minutes after a mistake at the back created the opening. One last effort for Galway in injury time was ruled out for offside as Clare held on for the victory and the points.
Clare: Barry Ryan, Steve Carroll, Eoin Whelan, Conor Mullen, Stephen Kelly, Colin Ryan, Colin Smyth, Joe Collins, Eoin Hayes, David McCarthy, Ian Collins. Subs: Kaylan O’Loughlin for Carroll, Niall Whelan for Joe Collins (inj)
Galway: John Egan, Keith Greany, Gearoid Linnane, Ronan Greanny, Deck Cullen, Dave Coen, James Ryan, Barry McEntee, Ronan Caldwell, Geoff Power, Jason Molloy. Sub: Oscar Sinbandi for McEntee.
Referee: Pa Gleeson