Shane Golden gets away from Offaly's Eanna Murphy.

Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Clare run riot against Offaly for first championship win in 21 months

Tony Kelly fired over 0-6 from play, while Conor McGrath finished with 1-4.
14,169
11

Clare 3-26

Offaly 0-15

Eoin Brennan reports from Cusack Park, Ennis

CLARE’S ROAD TO redemption took its first step with a comprehensive victory over Offaly on home soil.

In what was the second half of an All-Ireland Senior Qualifier double header with the county’s footballers, 14,268 were in attendance to witness a welcome return to winning ways for the Banner County, amazingly their first championship victory since the 2013 All-Ireland Final replay 21 months ago.

Both teams had points to prove after disappointing opening losses, however it proved all too easy for Davy Fitzgerald’s side who powered to a facile 20 point win.

The scoring spree would commence from the outset as Clare opened up a 1-5 to 0-1 lead after only eight minutes, the goal coming from a Conor McGrath bullet in the seventh minute.

Clare's John Conlon and Offaly's Gary Conneely

Source: Ryan Byrne

Offaly did hit back with three points in a row through chief scorers Shane Dooley and Shane Kinsella but while Clare hit nine first half wides, they always seemed threatening throughout, with McGrath and Tony Kelly on song as they build up a 1-13 to 0-09 half-time advantage.

Indeed, it could have been more only for Shane O’Donnell to hit the crossbar while Colin Ryan also had an effort saved by goalkeeper James Dempsey.

Clare's Davy Fitzgerald with Shane O'Donnell.

Source: Ryan Byrne

There would only be one team in the second half however, as a John Conlon goal on the restart appeared to take the wind out of Offaly once more.

Instead, Conor Ryan (2) and Tony Kelly (2) added to their tallies while the latter set up O’Donnell for Clare’s third goal in the 43rd minute to effectively put the result beyond any doubt.

Clare even had the opportunity to take off O’Donnell and Conlon with 20 minutes to go and still extend their margin as Tony Kelly maintained his scoring rampage with another four final quarter points.

Colm Galvin also made a welcome return to the county side after his returning to the panel recently, as Clare eased into the second round of the qualifiers next Saturday.

Brian Whelahan (left) cut a forlorn figure at full-time.

Source: Ryan Byrne

Scorers for Clare: Tony Kelly 0-8 (2f); Conor McGrath 1-4; John Conlon 1-2; Colin Ryan 0-3 (2f); Shane O’Donnell 1-0; Darach Honan, Conor Ryan 0-3 each; Shane Golden 0-2; Patrick O’Connor 0-1

Scorers for Offaly: Shane Dooley 0-6 (6f); Shane Kinsella 0-4; Sean Cleary 0-2; James Mulrooney, Paddy Murphy, Joe Bergin 0-1 each

Clare

1. Patrick Kelly (Inagh-Kilnamona)

4. Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge)
3. Cian Dillon (Crusheen)
2. David McInerney (Tulla)

5. Brendan Bugler (Whitegate)
8. Patrick O’Connor (Tubber)
7. Jack Browne (Ballyea)

6. Conor Ryan (Cratloe)
11. Tony Kelly (Ballyea)

10. John Conlon (Clonlara)
9. Colin Ryan (Newmarket-on-Fergus)
12. Shane Golden (Sixmilebridge)

15. Conor McGrath (Cratloe)
14. Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg)
22. Darach Honan (Clonlara)

Subs

Aaron Cunningham (Wolfe Tones) for O’Donnell (52)
David Reidy (Éire Óg) for Conlon (52)
Paul Flanagan (Ballyea) for Dillon (59)
Domhnall O’Donovan (Clonlara) for Browne (59)
Colm Galvin (Clonlara) for Honan (62)

Offaly

1. James Dempsey (Kinnity)

3. Dermot Shortt (St Rynagh’s)
2. Niall Wynne (St Rynagh’s)
4. David King (Coolderry)

5. Éanna Murphy (Seir Kieran)
6. Colin Egan (Belmont)
18. Gary Conneely (St Rynagh’s)

8. Emmet Nolan (Birr)
11. Dan Currams (Kilcormac/Killoughley)

12. Paddy Murphy (Ballinamere)
19. Shane Kinsella (Kinnitty)
14. Joe Bergin (Seir Kieran)

13. Shane Dooley (Tullamore)
10. James Mulrooney (Seir Kieran)
15. Brian Carroll (Coolderry)

Subs

Sean Cleary (Shinrone) for Nolan (HT)
Sean Ryan (Birr) for Conneely (41)
Pat Camon (St Rynagh’s) for Shortt (51)
Stephen Wynne (St Rynagh’s) for Currams (57)
Dermot Mooney (Seir Kieran) for Murphy (60)

Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow)