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Dublin: 11 °C Friday 25 May, 2018


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ALL-IRELAND CHAMPIONS Clare began their journey through the qualifiers when they hosted Liam Dunne’s Wexford in Cusack Park, Ennis this afternoon. It was, in a word, superb.

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Good afternoon and welcome to’s liveblog of the All-Ireland SHC round one qualifier between Clare and Wexford in Cusack Park.

The All-Ireland champions came up just short against Cork in the Munster semis last month, while the Dubs did for Wexford. Now for both of these counties, it’s win or bust.

Throw-in is at 3.30pm. Game on, Ger.

Here’s the Clare team named by Davy Fitz yesterday. Patrick Kelly returns in goal, and Colm Galvin and Cian Dillon are both fit to start.

1. Patrick Kelly

2. Cian Dillon

3. David McInerney

4. Jack Browne

5. Brendan Bugler

6. Conor Ryan

7. Pat O’Connor

8. Colm Galvin

9. Pat Donnellan

10. John Conlon

11. Tony Kelly

12 Colin Ryan

13. Podge Collins

14. Conor McGrath

15. Cathal McInerney

Here’s the Wexford side — three changes from the side which lost to Dublin with Eoin Moore, David Redmond and Garrett Sinnott all starting.

1. Mark Fanning

2. Liam Ryan

3. Matthew O’Hanlon

4. Keith Rossiter

5. Eoin Moore

6. Lee Chin

7. Ciaran Kenny

8. David Redmond

9. Harry Kehoe

10. Garrett Sinnott

11. Podge Doran

12. Liam Óg McGovern

13. Paul Morris

14. Conor McDonald

15. Rory Jacob

“There’s no back doors after today,” says Davy Fitz in pre-match conversation with RTÉ. They have to improve from the defeat against Cork, he admits.

“It’s the lions’ den,” says Wexford boss Liam Dunne, “but what better way to express yourselves than playing against the All-Ireland champions, particularly at home?”

Late change in the Wexford XV as Andrew Shore comes in to replace Garrett Sinnott.

The teams are out on the pitch in Cusack Park. We’ll have a minute’s silence before we start and then, showtime.

THROW IN: We’re off.

Wexford 0-1 Clare 0-0: 1 mins – Liam Óg McGovern gets Wexford on the board with a fine score from the left wing.

Tony Kelly has his first attempt but it drops wide.

Wexford 0-2 Clare 0-0: 2 mins – Andrew Shore hits a monster point from all of 70 yards. Fine score.

Wexford 0-3 Clare 0-1 — 5 mins: Fine work from Podge Collins and Colin Ryan opens the scoring for Clare. Paul Morris hits back immediately to restore Clare’s two-point lead.

7 mins – Solid defending by Clare as Conor McDonald twists and turns to try to wriggle his way through and get a shot on goal.

Wexford are engineering lots of chances but they’ve hit two bad wides in the last two minutes; Harry Kehoe the most recent culprit.

GOAL FOR WEXFORD! Wexford 1-3 Clare 0-1 — 9 mins: Conor McDonald comes on to a loose ball and rifles a shot that beats Pa Kelly at his near post.

Wexford 1-6 Clare 0-1 — 12 mins: Wexford are running amok here and they lead by eight points after just 12 minutes. Lee Chin, Eoin Moore and Liam Óg McGovern hit three points in quick succession.

This is in danger of getting out of hand quickly.

Wexford 1-7 Clare 0-1 — 13 mins: David Redmond tacks on another for Wexford. Breathless stuff and Clare look rattled.

Wexford 1-7 Clare 0-2 — 15 mins: Colin Ryan points a free and Clare have their first score in over 10 minutes.

GOAL FOR WEXFORD! Wexford 2-7 Clare 0-3 — 17 mins: Colin Ryan knocks over another free but Wexford break back down the field and Liam Óg McGovern breaks free to fire in their second goal. This is quite incredible.

Wexford 2-8 Clare 0-5 — 19 mins: Cathal McInerney and Conor McGrath point either side of a Paul Morris score for Wexford. Nine points the margin now.

Wexford 2-8 Clare 0-6 — 21 mins: Colin Ryan points another free, as you’d expect.

Wexford 2-8 Clare 0-7: 22 mins – Young Wexford corner-back Liam Ryan is starting to struggle a little bit to contain Conor McGrath. He gives away a free and Colin Ryan points again.

23 mins — SAVE! Rory Jacob has two bites at the cherry as he goes in pursuit of Wexford’s third goal. He hits the target at the second attempt but Pa Kelly gets his stick behind it.

Wexford 2-8 Clare 0-8 — 25 mins: Andrew Shore gives away a soft free and Colin Ryan knocks over his fifth free of the day to take his running total to 0-6.

27 mins – Clare play some nice hurling in midfield but they overdo it and give possession back to Wexford cheaply. Harry Kehoe should punish them but his long-range effort drops left and wide.

28 mins – There’s a rarity. Colin Ryan misses his first free of the afternoon, a difficult chance from the right sideline.

Wexford 2-8 Clare 0-9 — 29 mins: Conor McGrath is one of the Clare players really putting his hand up now. He points and Clare now have five unanswered points. It’s over 10 minutes since Wexford’s last score.

Substitution: Jack Guiney on to replace Rory Jacob.

Wexford 2-9 Clare 0-9 — 31 mins: Paul Morris points a free to restore the margin to six points.

A worrying moment again for Liam Dunne and the Wexford selectors as young star Conor McDonald goes down injured and needs treatment.

Wexford 2-9 Clare 0-10 — 34 mins: Andrew Shore tries to clear the ball but it goes straight to Tony Kelly who takes a step or two before booming it back over the bar.

We’re into added time at the end of the first half. There’ll be two minutes.

RED CARD! Podge Collins shown a straight red in first-half stoppage for helmet interference. Replays showed that he pulled at the face mask of David Redmond. That’s a massive blow.

HALF TIME: Wexford 2-9 Clare 0-10

Back in five.

Some reaction to that Podge Collins red:

In the comments section, Aideen Thornton has been digging into the rule book so you don’t have to:

Hurling: Rule 5.20 resulting in an Immediate Ordering Off has been amended to read: “To behave in any way which is dangerous to an opponent,including to deliberately pull on, take hold of a faceguard or any other part of an opponent’s helmet”.

SECOND HALF: We’re up and running again. “Relentless attack” seems to have been the message from Davy Fitz at the start of this second half.

Wexford 2-10 Clare 0-10 — 36 mins: Jack Guiney gets Wexford’s first point on the board.

Substitution: One change for Wexford at half-time — Garrett Sinnott on for Harry Kehoe.

Wexford 2-11 Clare 0-10 — 37 mins: Andrew Shore gets a jump on David McInerney to gather possession and it’s all too easy as he finds the space to turn and point.

Wexford 2-11 Clare 0-11 — 38 mins: Smart play by Brendan Bugler who finds Tony Kelly, and he points.

Cracking chance for Lee Chin but he’s blocked down by David McInerney who threw his whole body into the tackle. That’s a big stop.

Wexford 2-11 Clare 0-12 — 39 mins: Colin Ryan puts up his seventh point of the day, his second from play. Super strike.

Wexford 2-12 Clare 0-12 — 42 mins: Paul Morris has been in fine form for Wexford today and he points for the fourth time today.

Wexford 2-12 Clare 0-13 — 43 mins: Wexford simply cannot afford to give away frees because Colin Ryan will punish them. He does the necessary again, cutting the gap to five.

Substitution: Diarmuid O’Keeffe on to replace David Redmond for Wexford.

Does Colin Ryan deserve his place in the Clare team? Ciarán wades in on the debate:

Commentator coming out with a hearty defence of Colin Ryan. His 2 points from have been gifts from Collins and Bugler. He just doesn’t contribute enough from open play, It’s not like Kelly can’t take frees.

WIDE COUNT: Wexford 9-6 Clare

Wexford 2-12 Clare 0-14 — 47 mins: Marvellous, marvellous score by Cian Dillon and it’s greeted by a massive roar from the Ennis crowd. Clare aren’t going to surrender without a fight.

Wexford substitution: PJ Nolan on for Podge Doran.

Nolan, who is only on the pitch a moment, hits Wexford’s 10th wide of the afternoon. Between those sloppy shots and poor discipline, they’ve left the door wide open for a Clare comeback.

Two more wides for Wexford — their tactic of taking on shots from distance is costing them at the moment.

Clare substitution: Peter Duggan on for Pat Donnellan.

Wexford 2-13 Clare 0-15 — 52 mins: Diarmuid O’Keeffe finally ends Wexford’s string of wides. Ryan points a Clare free at the other end.

Wexford 2-13 Clare 0-17 — 54 mins: Colin Ryan booms over another free — number 10, I think — and Tony Kelly scores a beaut to follow.

Two-point game now and all of the momentum is with Clare.

Clare substitution: A bit of confusion as to who is coming off but eventually, Darach Honan comes on for John Conlon.

Wexford 2-14 Clare 0-18 — 59 mins: Colin Ryan’s free-taking exhibition continues. Gap is back to two.

Wexford 2-15 Clare 0-18 — 60 mins: Beautiful work by Liam Óg McGovern who steps back inside two Clare defenders and points. That’s 1-3 for him today.

Wexford 2-16 Clare 0-19 — 62 mins: Controversy as Conor McGrath appears to have pointed, only for it to be waved wide. There’s no Hawk-Eye in Cusack Park but after some consultation between the officials, the original call is overruled and the point is awarded.

Wexford substitution: Richie Kehoe on for Andrew Shore, who has been one of Wexford’s standout performers today.

Wexford 2-17 Clare 0-19 — 65 mins: Diarmuid O’Keeffe has a chance to put the game out of Clare’s reach but he’s denied by a fine stick save by Kelly. Morris points the resulting 65.

PENALTY TO WEXFORD! Very, very harsh on Clare. Liam Óg McGovern goes down but the replays show that Brendan Bugler got his hurl across and flicked the ball away cleanly. Referee Conor McAllister gave that from miles back and it looks like he got it wrong.

Now, does Morris go for goal or pop it over the bar?

Wexford 2-18 Clare 0-20 — 68 mins: Paul Morris takes the easy option and points it. Wexford lead by four.

PENALTY FOR CLARE! Oh my days! Clare come straight back down the pitch, brilliant work by Darach Honan and he sets up Conor McGrath who is fouled.

Tony Kelly can give Clare a lifeline here…

Wexford 2-18 Clare 1-20 — 69 mins: SAVED… AND THEN A GOAL FOR CLARE! Tony Kelly’s penalty is saved on the line but Seadna Morey — who is only on the pitch a few minutes — follows in to score. One-point game.

Wexford 2-18 Clare 1-21 — 70 mins: Conor Ryan points. All square!

Darach Honan has a glorious chance to win it — but it’s wide!

FULL TIME: Garrett Sinnott has a chance to win it for Wexford with the final puck of the game from 40 yards… and he puts it wide!

Wexford 2-18 Clare 1-21: My word. My. Word.

Extra time to be played in Cusack Park. That’ll begin in about 10 minutes. I’d advise you to use that time to catch your breath!

Clare will of course be back to full strength for extra time. The rules allow them to play with 15 men, although Podge Collins cannot be used.

Substitutions: Wexford bring on Ian Byrne for Conor McDonald. Clare bring on Shane Golden for Seadna Morey; David Reidy will be their 15th man.

EXTRA TIME: We’re underway in the first period of extra-time.

Wexford 2-19 Clare 1-21 — 3 mins ET: Lee Chin gets the opening score of extra-time. Clare have never been in front in the game.

GOAL FOR CLARE! Clare 2-21 Wexford 2-19 — 4 mins ET: Conor McGrath scores! Wonderful piece of play as he roasts Matthew O’Hanlon and slots his shot past Mark Fanning.

Clare lead! What have Wexford got now?

Clare 2-21 Wexford 2-21 — 6 mins ET: That’s what they’ve got! Paul Morris points a free and then Lee Chin pops up with another gem from play. All square!

SAVE! Another fine save by Pa Kelly. Jack Guiney pounces as Diarmuid O’Keeffe’s shot comes back off the post but Kelly stands tall to block at his near post. He’s made some bad mistakes today, but some great saves as well.

Clare 2-22 Wexford 2-21 — 10 mins ET: Cathal McInerney fields the ball in acres of space and points to give Clare the lead again.

HALF TIME EXTRA TIME: Clare 2-22 Wexford 2-21

Clare substitution: Seadna Morey is back on, replacing Cathal McInerney.

Clare 2-23 Wexford 2-21 — 11 mins ET: Well-worked score by Clare and Tony Kelly applies the finish.

Clare 2-23 Wexford 2-22 — 12 mins ET: Ian Byrne points again. Only a single point in it still.

Wexford substitution: Veteran forward Rory Jacob back on for Garrett Sinnott.

Clare 2-23 Wexford 2-23 — 16 mins ET: A vital point. Rory Jacob takes one step and fires a score off his left side.

Clare 2-24 Wexford 2-23 — 17 mins ET: Conor McGrath with a fine, fine score.

The shooting stats are Clare 26/39, Wexford 25/43 by RTÉ’s latest count.

Clare 2-24 Wexford 2-24 –18 mins ET: Paul Morris points for the ninth time today and with two minutes of extra time to play, we’re all square again.

Who’s going to win it?

Clare on the attack…

Rory Jacob dispossess Conor Ryan but his shot drops just short. Less than a minute left…

Clare 2-25 Wexford 2-24 — 20 mins ET: Conor McGrath points! Is that it?

Clare 2-25 Wexford 2-25 — 20 mins ET: Paul Morris equalises! Surely that’s it?

FULL TIME: Clare 2-25 Wexford 2-25

What a ridiculous, thrilling, remarkable game of hurling. It finishes all square after extra time — the only thing we’re missing here is penalties!

They’ll have to do it all again — next weekend, you suspect — and as soon as the GAA confirm a date and time for the replay, we’ll let you know.

Thanks for reading and for commenting. That was one hell of game.

About the author:

Niall Kelly