Clare end 38-year-wait for National Hurling League title

Clare end 38-year-wait for National Hurling League title

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Tony Kelly put in a man of the match performance for Clare on Sunday
Tony Kelly put in a man of the match performance for Clare on Sunday

Clare left it late at Semple Stadium in Thurles on Sunday to capture their first National League Hurling title since 1978.

A brace from Tony Kelly added to four unanswered points from The Banner men in the final 5 minutes to hand them victory over Waterford on a scoreline of 1-23 to 2-19.

Clare conceded first half goals from Patrick Curran after just 17 seconds and Jake Dillon but trailed by just 3 points at the break (2-9 to 0-12) despite playing against a stiff breeze.

Waterford led for almost the entire second half but were denied in injury time courtesy of man-of-the-match Tony Kelly’s late brace of points, which guided them to their first Division 1 title in 38 years.

Speaking to reporters after the game, Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald said, “At the very end, when the game is in the melting pot, there’s only one man you’d like to actually get the ball. When Tony Kelly gets it, you know you have a fair chance of it going over the bar. I’d say I’d have been killed if he didn’t score it because I changed Colin Ryan off the free for the last one. I just felt Tony was on his game. That’s why I decided to make that call. He’s a good man to have in a pressure situation.”

Clare are unbeaten in 2016 having won 12 games and drawn 1 game in 13 competitive outings.

CLARE: P Kelly; C Cleary, C Dillon, P O’Connor (0-1); J Browne, D Fitzgerald (0-1), B Bugler; D Reidy (0-1), C Galvin; C McGrath (0-8, five frees), T Kelly (1-6, one point a free), P Collins (0-1); D Honan (0-2), A Cunningham (0-1), S O’Donnell. Subs: C Ryan (0-2, one free) for Galvin (43 mins), C O’Connell for Collins (55 mins), A Shanagher for O’Donnell (65 mins).

WATERFORD: S O’Keeffe; B Coughlan, N Connors, S Fives; D Fives (0-1), P Mahony, K Moran (0-1); J Barron (0-2), T de Búrca; M Walsh, A Gleeson (0-3), J Dillon (1-0); S Bennett (0-2), P Curran (1-9, six points frees and one 65), T Devine. Subs: C Dunford for Devine (46 mins), B O’Halloran (0-1) for Dillon (57 mins), M Shanahan for Bennett (67 mins),

Referee: D Kirwan (Cork).

 

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