Eoin Cody, Kilkenny, and David McInerney, Clare, in Allianz Hurling League action.
Eoin Cody, Kilkenny, and David McInerney, Clare, in Allianz Hurling League action.

Allianz HL D1: Clare register impressive victory

Allianz Hurling League Division 1B


By Eoin Brennan at Cusack Park

Clare secured the perfect pre-championship boost when grinding out a battling victory over previously unbeaten Kilkenny in Cusack Park, Ennis. Despite a brace of home goals nearing both water breaks, the Banner still found it difficult to shake off their stubborn opponents.

However, with the sides locked together for the ninth time by the 68th minute, it was the hosts who managed to find another gear as substitutes Gary Cooney (2) and Ryan Taylor provided the insurance points despite a glorious late goal chance for TJ Reid.

It was a thoroughly entertaining yet open affair throughout, highlighted by those goal bursts as first Tony Kelly’s overlapping run was picked out by Aidan McCarthy to rifle a shot to the top right corner of the net in the 17th minute before doubling his bounty with an equally clinical penalty just after the water break at 2-6 to 0-5.

Requiring a response, TJ Reid’s unerring freetaking allied to eye-catching points from Adrian Mullen, Billy Ryan and Walter Walsh saw Kilkenny duly bounce back off the ropes to lessen the damage to the minimum by the break at 2-09 to 0-14. 

With Kilkenny reeling in their hosts fully by the 43rd minute through chief threat Eoin Cody, the sides would be on level terms on three more occasions before the balmy contest ignited once more entering the final quarter.

Remarkably, there were three quickfire goals on the restart, two in the space of 60 seconds for Clare to emphatically snatch back the whip hand at 4-14 to 0-21.

David Reidy’s wondergoal following a slaloming run from 60 metres was almost immediately followed by a Shanagher volley to the net after great build up play from substitute Ryan Taylor. However, not to be outdone, Kilkenny’s would get themselves right back into contention only two minutes later when replacement Martin Keoghan managed to find a chink of light in a crowded goalmouth.

Buoyed by that lifeline, the Cats actually managed to get their noses back in front entering the final ten minutes after a trio of TJ Reid placed balls at 1-24 to 4-14.

Fresh legs from the bench aided Clare’s final push as Shane Golden, Cooney and Taylor all got in on the scoring action while goalkeeper Eibhear Quilligan also made a crucial injury-time save from Reid as the Banner outscored the table-toppers by 0-6 to 0-1 for the reminder to complete a third successive victory.

Scorers for Clare: Tony Kelly (2-5, 1-0 Pen, 5f); David Reidy (1-2); Aron Shanagher (1-1); Diarmuid Ryan, Aidan McCarthy (0-3 each); Gary Cooney (0-2); David McInerney, Mark Rodgers, Shane Golden, Ryan Taylor (0-1 each)

Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid (0-9, 7f, 2'65); Eoin Cody (0-4); Adrian Mullen, Richie Reid (0-3 each); Martin Keoghan (1-0); Billy Ryan (0-2); Richie Leahy, Walter Walsh, David Blanchfield, Michael Carey (0-1 each)

*CLARE: *Eibhear Quilligan; Aaron Fitzgerald, Conor Cleary, Rory Hayes; Diarmuid Ryan, John Conlon, David McInerney; Tony Kelly, Colm Galvin; Cathal Malone, David Reidy, Aidan McCarthy; Ian Galvin, Aron Shanagher, Mark Rodgers.

Subs: Paul Flanagan for Fitzgerald (5), David Fitzgerald for McInerney (30), Domhnall McMahon for C. Galvin (49), Ryan Taylor for I. Galvin (50), Gary Cooney for Rodgers (63), Shane Golden for Shanagher (63)

*KILKENNY: *Eoin Murphy; Tommy Walsh, Huw Lawlor, Paddy Deegan, Darragh Corcoran, Padraig Walsh, Conor Browne, Richie Reid, Richie Leahy, Adrian Mullen, Walter Walsh, Billy Ryan, James Bergin, TJ Reid, Eoin Cody.

Subs: Martin Keoghan for W. Walsh (33, BS), Michael Carey for Mullen (35, BS), Ciaran Wallace for T. Walsh (HT), David Blanchfield for Leahy (HT), Niall Brassil for Ryan (HT), Liam Blanchfield for Bergin (60), Cillian Buckley for R. Reid (65).

*REFEREE: *Johnny Murphy (Limerick).