Allianz HL D1: Clare edge out Wexford
Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group B
CLARE 0-18 WEXFORD 0-15
By Ronan Fagan at Chadwicks Wexford Park
Tony Kelly delivered a match-winning 0-12 as Clare pulled through against wasteful Wexford in Sunday's Allianz NHL Division 1 Group B second-round duel at a damp and blustery Chadwicks Wexford Park.
Clare made good use of first advantage of the strong wind to lead 0-12 to 0-4 at half-time with Kelly delivering seven frees, and while Wexford fought back to within 0-15 to 0-14 on 62 minutes, the Slaneysiders were ultimately left to regret shooting 10 second-half wides.
Clare stormed ahead by 0-6 to 0-0 after 12 minutes with the aid of the gale, as Kelly drilled over three frees from distance, and Ryan Taylor pointed twice, including going close with a goal effort which pingged over off the crossbar.
Wexford sought to limit the damage, and captain Jack O'Connor boosted their support amongst the 6,800 attendance with three pointed frees between the 14th and 27th minutes to close to within 0-6 to 0-3.
Kilkenny official Sean Cleere dismissed the Banner's captain John Conlon on a straight red-card for a robust challenge on Kevin Foley in the 29th-minute.
Tony Kelly steadied the Clare ship with four pointed frees, while David Fitzgerald and Shane O'Neill also contributed as the visitors surged clear by 0-12 to 0-4 at the interval.
Wexford quickly sought to benefit from the wind as Pádraig Foley (free) and the O'Connor brothers, Rory (2) and Jack, together with Mark Fanning - the 'keeper coming out field to get on the end of a set-piece – cut the gap to 0-12 to 0-9 within eleven minutes of the resumption.
However, wides were now beginning to impact on Wexford's recovery, although Conor McDonald (2), Paul Morris and Liam Óg McGovern continued to fuel the Model County fight-back as they closed to within 0-14 to 0-13 after 58 minutes.
Misfiring continued to hurt Wexford while three more Tony Kelly points (one free) ensured that Clare pulled through for a victory rooted in their greater economy.
Scorers for Clare: Tony Kelly 0-12 (10fs), David Fitzgerald 0-3, Ryan Taylor 0-2, Shane O'Donnell 0-1.
Scorers for Wexford: Jack O'Connor 0-4 (3fs), Pádraig Foley 0-3 (3fs), Rory O'Connor, Conor McDonald (0-2 each), Aidan Rochford, Mark Fanning, Paul Morris, Liam Óg McGovern 0-1 each.
CLARE: Donal Touhy; Conor Cleary, Jack Browne, Eoin Quirke; Stephen O'Halloran, Pat O'Connor, Aidan McCarthy; David McInerney, Tony Kelly; David Reidy, David Fitzgerald, Ian Galvin; Ryan Taylor John Conlon, Shane O'Donnell.
Subs: Cathal Malone for Kelly (blood., 26-29); Domhnall McMahon for Galvin (46); Seadna Morey for Taylor (55); Malone for Reidy (60); Liam Corry for Quirke (69); Aaron Shanagher for O'Donnell (70+2).
WEXFORD: Mark Fanning; Joe O'Connor, Liam Ryan, Shane Reck; Damien Reck, Pádraig Foley, Shaun Murphy; Liam Óg McGovern, Kevin Foley; Aidan Rochford, Rory O'Connor, Jack O'Connor; Cathal Dunbar, Conor McDonald, Paul Morris.
Subs: Aidan Nolan for McGovern (61); Harry Kehoe for D Reck (64).
REFEREE: Seán Cleere (Kilkenny).