SF Qualifier: Banner oust Faithfuls in Tullamore thriller

June 24, 2018

Offaly's Ruairi McNamee scores a goal despite goalkeeper Eamon Tubridy of Clare.
©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo.

Clare completed the Round Three Qualifier line-up when pipping Offaly by 1-19 to 2-14 in a dramatic encounter at O'Connor Park.

Played in sizzling sunshine, this was a fantastic match, where the hosts battled valiantly throughout and can consider themselves unfortunate to get no reward for an excellent effort.

Clare, though, dominated mush of the play and deserved to progress, Indeed, they will be confident of ruffling some feathers after tomorrow morning's Round Three draw.

Ruairi McNamee (giving his side a 1-3 to 0-2 advantage after 13 minutes) and Jamie Malone (1-4) traded first-half goals and the latter struck the woodwork twice (crossbar and post!) before goalkeeper Alan Mulhall netted from an injury-time penalty to send the midlanders in level at the short whistle, 2-5 to 1-8.

The losers led seven minutes into the second half, with captain Anton Sullivan leading the way, but four unanswered points from David Tubridy, Malone (2) and Gavin Cooney edged the winners three clear after 50 minutes, 1-14 to 2-8.

McNamee and Bernard Allen closed the gap to the minimum but Eoin Cleary replied. Substitute Gearoid O'Brien cancelled out Allen's next point and Cleary (scorer of six points) replied to one from Johnny Moloney as both sides kept piling forward.

Allen brought it back to a one-point game again on the stroke of full time as did Anton Sullivan deep into added time, but Clare subs O'Brien and Kevin Hartnett hit back each time to send the Banner through.

Clare - E Tubridy; E Collins, C Brennan, G Kelly; C O'Dea (0-1), A Fitzgerald, P Lillis (0-1); G Brennan, C O'Connor; K Sexton, K Malone (0-2), J Malone (1-4); E Courtney, D Tubridy (0-1), E Cleary (0-6, 2f). Subs: G Cooney (0-1) for E Courtney, R Eyres for E Tubridy, G O'Brien (0-2) for D Tubridy, C O hAinifein for K Malone, J Culligan for K Sexton, K Harnett (0-1) for E Collins.

Offaly - A Mulhall (1-0pen); B Darby, S Pender, J Lalor; D Hogan, P McConway, N Darby; M Brazil, C McNamee; C Donoghue, S Nally, R McNamee (1-2); B Allen (0-5f), A Sullivan (0-3), J Moloney (0-4). Subs: J Hayes for C Donoghue, P Cunningham for S Nally, E Rigney for D Hogan, C Doyle for S Pender, J Evans for C McNamee, J O'Connor for J Moloney.

Referee - P Neilan.

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