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Clara's goalscoring hero - 'He had the kind of Anthony Nash style'

Keith Hogan on how Lester Ryan’s free taking style proved crucial in yesterday’s Kilkenny county final.

Clara's Lester Ryan with Eddie Keher after yesterday's game.
Clara's Lester Ryan with Eddie Keher after yesterday's game.
Image: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

CORK GOALKEEPER ANTHONY Nash’s freetaking style influenced the outcome of yesterday’s Kilkenny senior hurling final as Clara claimed a famous victory.

Lester Ryan popped up with the match winning goal from a late 20-yard free that helped Clara defeat Carrickshock by 1-15 to 2-10 at Nowlan Park.

Ryan’s style of striking was similar to that displayed by Anthony Nash in this summer’s All-Ireland senior championship. And Keith Hogan, Clara’s regular free taker during the game, revealed that was why Ryan was elected to take the late free.

“Myself and Lester have been practicing penalties and 21-yard frees all year”, Hogan told KCLR 96FM after the match. “We said we’d decide this morning so there wouldn’t be any confusion. We decided if there was a goal opportunity from a ’21 or a penalty, Lester was going for it.

“He had the kind of Anthony Nash style, he had the edge on it. The orders were to go for it and he did.”

Clara went on from there to claim a two-point victory and secure the club’s second senior title, their previous triumph arriving in 1986. What made the triumph more remarkable is the fact that the club were relegated from the senior ranks two years ago and they won the Kilkenny intermediate title last year.

“It’s hard to believe”, admitted Hogan. “To see myself, my friends, grown men, grown women with tears in their eyes, hugging each other. Maybe tomorrow morning I’ll actually full appreciate it. It’s just a dream now.

“When we got relegated we were heartbroken. But we believed we had more to offer to senior hurling. Going down was a severe disappointment. We didn’t believe we deserved to be intermediate, we believed we’d more to offer.

“So when we came back up, we weren’t just up to survive. We were up to take our game to the senior championship and leave our mark on it.”

Provincial Arena

They achieved that feat and now go forward to face Wexford’s Oulart-The-Ballagh in the Leinster club championship next Sunday.

“It’s only 12 months ago, we were in a Leinster campaign at intermediate level”, says Hogan. “We know what a fantastic opportunity it is. We’ll be looking forward to leaving our mark on it.”

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Fintan O'Toole

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