Electric Ireland MHC: Galway defeat Clare
Electric Ireland Minor Hurling Championship
GALWAY 1-24 CLARE 1-22
By David Connors at O'Moore Park
Galway’s pursuit to become the first county since Cork in 1969-’71 to capture three All-Ireland minor titles on the spin remains alive after overcoming a spirited Clare and dumping their neighbours out of the championship in the process.
Brian Hanley’s side came into the contest in the knowledge that provided they avoided defeat to the Banner by a five-point margin or less they would qualify for the semi-final stage of the competition.
While for Clare, a win simply wasn’t enough, it had to be six or more, but it was always going to be an uphill task against a highly-fancied Galway outfit.
Fergal Lynch’s charges mounted an exceptionally brave second half fightback but Galway powered back in the final quarter to run eventually out two points winners in what was an absorbing encounter.
Sean McDonagh’s 29th minute penalty goal separated the sides following an eventful first half.
Alex Connaire, a late change to the Galway side, opened the scoring but Clare sharpshooter Shane Meehan pointed two frees to give his side the early advantage.
In a nip and tuck opening half, efforts from Sean McDonagh (two), Colm Cunningham, Gavin Lee, and Enda Collins had stretched Galway’s advantage out to three points by the 16th minute.
Long-range points from Tony Butler, Cian Galvin (free) and braces from Oisin O’Donnell and Meehan had the gap back to one, however, with five minutes of the half remaining.
But a foul by Clare midfielder Conner Hegarty on Shane Morgan saw the referee award a penalty which Mountbellew-Moylough’s McDonagh dispatched to the ‘keeper Aaron Shanahan’s left leaving the scoreline at 1-11 to 0-11 at the break.
Clare’s half-back were utterly dominant under the Galway restarts in the second half and provided the platform to flip the contest on its head.
The revival in attack, led by Meehan and substitute Sean Ronan, who fired over two points with his first two touches, had Clare 0-19 to 1-15 to the good by the 45 minute.
But Clare lost defender Storm Devanney to a straight red card on the 50th minute leaving them with an uphill battle against a resurgent Galway who hit the opposition for nine points in the closing ten minutes to secure victory.
Galway substitute Sean O’Hanlon was in sublime form down the home stretch bisecting the posts four times from play and carrying the fight to Clare late on.
Clare captain Cian Galvin blasted home a leader’s goal to tie proceedings in injury time, but Galway supersubs O’Hanlon and Paddy Cummins hit the last two scores of the contest to secure the win.
This victory booked Galway’s place in the semi-finals where they’ll take on Wexford next weekend at Croke Park.
Scorers for Galway: Sean McDonagh 1-9 (1-0pen, 5fs, 265), Sean O’Hanlon 0-4, Alex Connaire 0-3, Greg Thomas 0-2, Gavin Lee, Colm Cunningham, Enda Collins, Tiernan Killeen, Liam Leen and Paddy Cummins 0-1 each.
Scorers for Clare: Shane Meehan 0-13 (9fs), Cian Galvin 1-1 (1f) Oisín O’Donnell, Seán Ronan 0-2 each, Tony Butler, Colm O’Meara, Diarmuid Cahill and Conner Hegarty 0-1 each.
GALWAY: Michael Egan; Eanna Davoren, Eoin Lawless, Adam Nolan; Enda Collins, Ian McGlynn, Christy Brennan; Liam Leen, Alex Connaire; Colm Cunningham, Sean McDonagh, Tiernan Killeen; Gavin Lee, Shane Morgan, Greg Thomas.
Subs: Luke Prendergast for Davoren (37), Sean O’Hanlon for Killeen (43), Colm Molloy for Lee (52), Paddy Cummins for Morgan (55), Oisín Slevin for Leen (60).
CLARE: Aaron Shanahan; Tony Butler, Adam Hogan, Storm Devanney; Jarlath Collins, Cian Galvin, Colm O’Meara; Conner Hegarty, Oisín Clune; Oisín O’Donnell, Diarmuid Cahill, Cormac Murphy; Shane Meehan, Dylan Downes, Cillian O’Connor.
Subs: Seán Ronan for Murphy (43), Shane Punch for Downes (50), Keith Smyth for Cahill (52)
REFEREE: Cathal McAllister (Cork).