Clare Suffer First Defeat of 2017 NFL

Galway 3-13 Clare 1-11

By Peter O’Connell

THE Clare footballers were emphatically beaten by Galway in Salthill on Sunday afternoon, in what was their first defeat of the 2017 NFL division 2 league season.

In a game dominated by an exceptionally strong wind and torrential second half rain, Clare conceded three goals, having let in none in their opening games against Derry and Down. Goals from Eamon Brannigan and Shane Walsh helped Galway to build a 2-8 to 0-5 interval advantage. Too often Galway players broke from deep with no Clare player tracking.

Clare needed to start the second half with a couple of scores but instead Johnny Heaney and Barry McHugh pointed for Galway, who now led by 11 points. A Keelan Sexton goal, set up by Cian O’Dea, gave Clare brief hope but nine second half wides, cost them. Clare did miss some decent goal scoring opportunities, while goalkeeper Joe Hayes made a couple of excellent saves.

“We had goal chances that we should have put away. We made a bad effort at putting them away but overall, Galway were the better team. I just felt that we were a bit dead and the energy that we have been used to getting from these fellas wasn’t there today,” Clare manager Colm Collins said afterwards.

“The ordinary work rate, which you expect, wasn’t apparent today. That has to be there next Sunday and no more about it. You’re going nowhere without it,” he added as Clare prepare to play Cork in Ennis in their fourth NFL game of the season.

Galway centre back and man of the match, Gareth Bradshaw, scored their second half goal after Hayes had saved from Johnny Heaney.

A more comprehensive report and post match reaction will be published in Thursday’s Clare Champion.

Clare: Joe Hayes (Lissycasey); Dean Ryan (Éire Óg), Kevin Harnett (Meelick), Martin McMahon (captain- Kilmurry Ibrickane); Liam Markham (Cratloe), Gordon Kelly (St Joseph’s, Miltown), John Hayes (Kilrush); Cathal O’Connor (Coolmeen), Ciaran Russell; Cian O’Dea (Kilfenora), Keelan Sexton (Kilmurry Ibrickane), Shane Brennan (Clondegad); Eoin Cleary (St Joseph’s, Miltown), David Tubridy (Doonbeg), Jamie Malone (Corofin).

Subs: Seanie Malone (Miltown) for Shane Brennan (53 mins), David Egan (Kilmihil) for Cian O’Dea (59 mins), Eoghan Collins (Castlebar) for Liam Markham (62 mins), Gearóid O’Brien (Kilrush) for Ciaran Russell (69 mins), Kieran Malone (Miltown) for Dean Ryan (69 mins)

Scorers: Eoin Cleary 0-4 (3fs), Keelan Sexton 1-0, Jamie Malone 0-3, David Tubridy 0-2 (1f), Liam Markham and Ciaran Russell 0-1 each.

Galway: Rory Lavelle; Declan Kyne, David Walsh, Luke Burke; Gary O’Donnell (captain), Gareth Bradshaw, Johnny Heaney; Paul Conroy, Fiontán O’Curroin; Thomas Flynn, Michael Lundy, Eamon Brannigan; Shane Walsh, Barry McHugh, Michael Daly.

Subs: Gary Sice for Tom Flynn (59 mins), Liam Silke for Johnny Heaney (65 mins), Sean Armstrong for Eamonn Brannigan (66 mins), Cathal Sweeney for Michael Daly (70 mins).

Scorers: Barry McHugh 0-5 (4fs), Gareth Bradshaw 1-2, Shane Walsh 1-1, Eamonn Brannigan 1-0, Gary O’Donnell, Johnny Heaney, Micheal Lundy, Michael Daly, and Paul Conroy 0-1 each.

Referee: Fergal Kelly (Longford)

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