Munster MHC: Banner send Kingdom packing

April 22, 2014

Clare were comfortable winners over Kerry in the Munster MHC playoff ©INPHO/James Crombie
Clare roared to a 6-25 to 0-11 play-off victory over Kerry at Ennis this evening.

Wolfe Tones clubman Aaron Shanagher was the star of the show, helping himself to a personal tally of 3-6.

The Banner County had lost their opener to defending All-Ireland champions Waterford at this same venue 13 days ago, a result which diverted them into the loser's group. They are now just 60 minutes away from a provincial semi-final berth - and a rematch against Na Deise.

A barnstorming finish to the first half propelled Eamon Fennessy's charges into a 2-10 to 0-7 interval lead.

To their credit, Ian Brick's Kingdom - who were thumped by Cork in their first outing in the competition - started purposefully despite conceding 1-2 inside the opening three minutes.

Full forward and top scorer Shanagher netted the hosts' opening major and corner forward Colin Corbett clipped over their first two points. But Kerry dug in there and were within the minimum coming up to the midway point in the first half, 1-3 to 0-5.

Corbett lashed in the second goal just before the short whistle as the winners assumed a nine-point half-time cushion, with Corbett and Shanagher bagging 2-7 between them during the first half-hour.

Shanagher and centre forward Michael O'Shea added further three-pointers to extend the gap to 20 points twelve minutes after the restart, 4-15 to 0-7, and the Banner boys outscored their opponents by 1-7 to 0-1 over the next eight minutes, with the irrepressible Shanagher completing his hat-trick.

There was still time for substitute Stephen Conway to add a sixth Clare goal as the rampant hosts sealed a date with Tipperary - again at Cusack Park - next week.

Thus, Kerry are the first county to exit the 2014 Munster MHC, while - with Tipperary waiting in the wings - the Banner remain on course for a Waterford rematch.

Clare - J Loughnane; D Power, S Downey, R Hayes; J McCarthy, D Walsh, D Fitzgerald; M O'Malley (0-2), P McNamara (0-2); D Chaplin, M O'Shea (1-2), I Galvin (0-6); B Guilfoyle (0-1), A Shanagher (3-6, 0-4f), C Corbett (1-5). Subs: L O'Donovan (0-1) for D Chaplin, C Smyth for P McNamara, C Fitzgerald for M O'Shea, J Cunningham for M O'Malley, S Conway (1-0) for B Guilfoyle.

Kerry - S Murphy; J Barrett, D Shanahan, A O'Mahony; S O'Sullivan, M Leane, R Collins; B Barrett (0-9, 8f, 1'65), M Lynch; F Mackessy (0-1), A Murphy, J Brick (0-1); Joe Diggins, J Goulding, J Buckley. Subs: J Conway for F Mackessy, D O'Carroll for J Buckley, Jason Diggins for M Lynch, W O'Connor for S O'Sullivan, T McElligott for A Murphy.

Referee - P Kelly.

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