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All-Ireland SHC 2013: Clare’s route to the final

Here is how Davy Fitzgerald and The Banner County got to Croker.

Limerick's Donal O'Grady and John Conlon of Clare battle for possession.
Limerick's Donal O'Grady and John Conlon of Clare battle for possession.
Image: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

2 June: Munster SHC quarter-final, Semple Stadium

Clare 2-20 Waterford 1-15

CLARE BEGAN THEIR diverted road to Croke Park with a come from behind win over Waterford. A five year wait to beat the Déise looked set to stretch further as The Banner trailed 1-9 to 0-8 at half-time.

Jake Dillon had Waterford in the ascendancy on his senior championship debut after taking advantage of a defensive lapse in in the Clare defence to hit the net. Ultimately, Waterford would regret their 15 wides.

Clare outscored Waterford by 2-12 to 0-6 in the second half and Shane O’Donnell and Conor McGrath struck for killer goals.

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Clare’s Conor McGrath scores a goal despite being tackled by Liam Lawlor of Waterford. INPHO/Lorraine O’Sullivan

Scorers for Clare: Colin Ryan 0-7 (6f, 1 65), Tony Kelly 0-4, Shane O’Donnell & Conor McGrath 1-0 each, John Conlon & Darach Honan 0-3 each, Colm Galvin 0-2, Fergal Lynch 0-1.

Scorers for Waterford: Maurice Shanahan 0-7 (6f), Jake Dillon 1-2, Seamus Prendergast 0-2, Kevin Moran, Jamie Barron, Pauric Mahony & Gavin O’Brien 0-1 each.

23 June: Munster SHC semi-final, Gaelic Grounds.

Cork 0-23 Clare 0-15

CLARE MAY HAVE been confident going into their semi-final clash but they were fended off with worrying ease by The Rebels.

Having defeated Cork three times in 2013, Clare started well and led 0-11 to 0-8 at the break. The benefit of a strong wind swung to Cork in the second half and they reeled off eight unanswered points 16 minutes after re-taking the field.

Padraic Collins was top scorer for The Banner but Patrick Horgan and Seamus Harnedy combined for 11 points in the comfortable Cork win.

Scorers for Clare: Padraic Collins 0-5, Darach Honan, Conor McGrath, Colm Galvin, Colin Ryan (0-1 ’65, 0-1f) 0-2 each, Tony Kelly, Shane O’Donnell 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cork: Patrick Horgan 0-8 (0-5f), Seamus Harnedy 0-3, Jamie Coughlan, Anthony Nash (0-2f), Luke O’Farrell, Conor Lehane 0-2 each, Cian McCarthy, Daniel Kearney, William Egan, Patrick Cronin 0-1 each.

6 July: All-Ireland Qualifiers, Phase 2, Cusack Park

Clare 1-32 Laois 0-15

We described this victory as a breeze back in July and, two months on, that perception has not changed an iota.

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Clare’s Darach Honan and Darren Maher of Laois. INPHO/Ryan Byrne

There were 14 different Clare scorers in the 20-point triumph at Cusack Park. Brendan Bugler got the scoring spree started and Laois found themselves 0-17 to 0-8 down at half-time. Shane O’Donnell came off the Banner bench in the second half and notched the game’s only goal. Next on the menu were Wexford.

Scorers for Clare: C Ryan (0-11, 0-08f, 0-02’65), P Duggan (0-04), S O’Donnell (1-00), D Honan (0-03), C McGrath (0-03), P Collins (0-02), D McInerney, C Dillon, B Bugler, P Donnellan, P O’Connor, J Conlon, T Kelly, C Galvin, L Markham 0-01 each.

Scorers for Laois: S Maher (0-05, 0-03f), Z Keenan (0-04, 0-01f), W Hyland (0-03), PJ Scully (0-02), J Brophy (0-01).

13 July: All-Ireland Qualifiers, Phase 3, Semple Stadium

Clare 3-24 Wexford 1-20

Wides came back to haunt Davy Fitzgerald’s men and almost eliminated them from the tournament before Cathal McInerney scored two extra time goals to see his side through.

Clare were six points clear going into the final 15 minutes but a late Jack Guiney gpoal left it 1-17 each at full-time.

O’Donnell was a goalscorer again but McInerney was the hero as Clare went into overdrive in extra time and reeled off 2-7 to get into the quarter finals.

Scorers for Clare: C Ryan 0-10 (6f, 2 65s), C McInerney 2-1, T Kelly 0-5 (0-1 pen), S O’Donnell 1-1, J Conlon 0-3, B Bugler, P Collins, S Morey & A Cunningham 0-1 each.

Scorers for Wexford: J Guiney 1-8 (0-6f), D Redmond, P Morris, P Doran & G Moore 0-2 each, C Kenny, G Sinnott, C McDonald & M O’Regan 0-1 each.

28 July: All-Ireland SHC quarter-final, Semple Stadium

Clare 1-23 Galway 2-14

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Davy Fitz cracks out the ‘Sharpey Shuffle’. INPHO/Donall Farmer

The last eight victory over the Tribesmen was one of Clare’s best performances of the season as they shut down their much-vaunted attack and reeled off 23 points from 10 different sources.

Not for the first time this season, Clare got off to a slow start and were 0-4 to 0-2 down after five minutes before they seized control. Conor McGrath scored a goal and there were points from Darach Honan, Conor McGrath, Colin Ryan and Patrick O’Connor as Clare led by seven at the break.

Galway boss Anthony Cunningham made three changes at the break and his side got two second half goals but, once again, crucial points came from multiple players as Clare pulled clear.

Scorers for Clare: Colin Ryan 0-10 (0-8f), Conor McGrath 1-2, Padraic Collins 0-4, John Conlon, Darach Honan, Patrick O’Connor, Brendan Bugler, Tony Kelly, Fergal Lynch, Nicky O’Connell 0-1 each.

Scorers for Galway: Joe Canning 0-9 (0-6f, 0-2 ’65), Niall Healy, Jonathan Glynn 1-0 each, Damien Hayes 0-3, Aidan Harte, Joseph Cooney 0-1 each.

18 August: All-Ireland SHC semi-final, Croke Park

Clare 1-22 Limerick 0-18

Limerick paid dearly for a sluggish start and some badly missed frees as Clare reached their first final in 11 years. A 12th minute goal from Darach Honan was scrappy but so very vital for The Banner as they held Limerick at arm’s length in the second half.

Patrick Donnellan and Patrick O’Connor put Clare ahead early on and a wayward Declan Hannon missed several opportunities to tot up the points for the Treaty County. Hawk-Eye was out of action after a score-awarding error early in the afternoon but there was never any doubt about any of Clare’s fine points.

Colin Ryan scored 11 points for Davy Fitzgerald’s men as the Limerick challenge faded, leaving Cork in Clare’s sights.

Scorers for Clare: Colin Ryan 0-11 (9f), T Kelly 0-4, D Honan 1-0, P Collins 0-3, P Donnellan, P O’Connor, C Galvin, C McInerney all 0-1.

Scorers for Limerick: S Dowling 0-6 (5f, 1 65’), D Hannon (2f), P Browne, G O’Mahony all 0-2, C Allis, J Ryan, G Mulcahy, D Breen, T Ryan, K Downes all 0-1.

8 September: All-Ireland SHC final, Croke Park…. to be decided.

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About the author:

Patrick McCarry

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