HL1 final replay: Super Kelly wins it for Clare

May 08, 2016

Clare's Podge Collins with Philip Mahony of Waterford.
©INPHO/Ken Sutton.

An outstanding display by Clare captain Tony Kelly saw them come from behind to defeat holders Waterford by 1-23 to 2-19 at Semple Stadium.

It was quite simply an amazing finish to the game as Kelly scored the last two points of the match deep into injury time to secure the victory.

First, he converted a free from inside his own half to level matters and that looked to have sent the game into extra time.

That was not on Kelly's mind as he raced along the sideline to gather the sliotar and send high over the bar to snatch a victory from the jaws of defeat.

Waterford played their part in what can only be described as an absorbing fixture that was played at a serious tempo all the way through.

The Decies led at half time by 2-09 to 0-12 thanks to goals from Patrick Curran and Jake Dillon.

And Waterford for long periods looked the better side in the second half as throughout the match their blocking and catching by Tadgh De Burca and Austin Gleeson was outstanding.

A remarkable finish saw Clare battle back from two points down with time almost up to claim their first NHL title since 1978.

Curran's goal after only 16 seconds set the trend for a frantic start to the match as the Waterford corner forward added a point from a free seconds later.

A good move between Tony Kelly and the impressive Podge Collins ended with the former sending over Clare's opening score.

Collins then found himself in loads of space and he strove forward to make it 1-01 to 0-02 after five minutes.

Kevin Moran and Aaron Cunningham traded good scores in the next three minutes before Collins and Kelly combined again for the Clare joint skipper to score his second point of the game.

Conor McGrath popped up with the next two scores as he pointed frees in the 15th and 17th minute to put Clare 1-02 to 0-06 in the lead.

Clare's Cian Dillon and Tony Kelly lift the Allianz HL Division 1 silverware. ©INPHO/Cathal Noonan.

Curran who missed a couple of frees earlier, stood up and converted his second to level matters.

Then came the second goal of the game as a mistake in the Clare defence saw Jake Dillon steal in behind the defenders and give Patrick Kelly no chance in the Clare goals.

That made it 2-03 to 0-06 after 19 minutes and although McGrath converted a free, Waterford really took over and points from Gleeson, Curran (free), Shane Bennett and Jamie Barron put them six points in front by the 24th minute.

McGrath who was coming more and more into the game found his range again with points from a free and from play, while Waterford responded with two points of their own through Darragh Fives and Curran from play and it was 2-09 to 0-09 by the 30th minute.

However, the McGrath show was far from over as he hit the last three points of the half (two from play and one from a free).

Waterford made a bright start to the second half also as Gleeson pointed from the throw in, but Pat O'Connor and David Fitzgerald responded for Clare.

Curran hit three points with a Kelly point the only response for Clare as further points by Barron and Gleeson left Waterford firmly in the driving seat as they led by 2-15 to 0-15 after 47 minutes.

The game changed a minute later when the outstanding Kelly raced through and fired the ball past Stephen O'Keeffe.

The sides continued to exchange points up until the 65th minute when substitute Brian O'Halloran put Waterford three points up.

Clare were not to be outdone though and they battled back and it was fitting that Kelly would be the match winner.

Clare - P Kelly; C Dillon, P O'Connor (0-1), D Fitzgerald (0-1); J Browne, C Cleary, B Bugler; D Reidy (0-1), C Galvin; T Kelly (1-6, 0-1f), C McGrath (0-8, 5f), P Collins (0-1); D Honan (0-2), A Cunningham (0-1), S O'Donnell. Subs: Colin Ryan (0-2, 1f) for C Galvin, C O'Connell for P Collins, A Shanagher for S O'Donnell.

Waterford - S O'Keeffe; B Coughlan, N Connors, S Fives; D Fives (0-1), K Moran (0-1), Philip Mahony; T De Burca, J Barron (0-2); M Walsh, A Gleeson (0-3), S Bennett (0-2); J Dillon (1-0), P Curran (1-9, 0-6f, 0-1'65), T Devine. Subs: C Dunford for T Devine, B O'Halloran (0-1) for J Dillon, M Shanahan for S Bennett, T Ryan for M Walsh.

Referee - D Kirwan.

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