Eoin Brennan reports from Cusack Park
CLARE GOT THEIR National League defence back on track with an emphatic 13 point victory over Kilkenny in front of a bumper home crowd of 7,395.
With both sides having suffered defeat in their opening round ties, it was the hosts who raised their intensity levels sufficiently as they led from start to finish to secure their biggest ever competitive victory over Kilkenny at senior level.
Wolfe Tones pair Aaron Cunningham and Aron Shanagher bookended an impressive display with goals at either end of the tie, with the latter ending the afternoon with 1-4 while also setting up the opening goal for his club-mate after only two minutes.
Shanagher’s early brace helped the Banner County to a 1-3 to 0-0 advantage by the fourth minute, a margin that they would hold for the majority of the half, despite goal chances at either end of the field.
A subdued Kilkenny did finish with a brace of TJ Reid points to lower the deficit to four by the break at 1-9 to 0-8 but try as they might, they were unable to reel in their sharper hosts who weathered a third quarter storm and even saw goalkeeper Donal Tuohy keep out a Reid penalty before finishing on the front-foot once more.
Substitutes Cathal McInerney and Jason McCarthy added freshness to Clare’s challenge while David Fitzgerald was superb in constantly driving his side forward as they outscored Kilkenny by 1-8 to 0-1 in the final quarter to ease up to a commanding victory.
Shanagher’s goal arrived in the 64th minute after a flowing move involving McCarthy, McInerney and Cathal Malone as Clare subjected their opponents to their worst start since 2013, albeit that Kilkenny bounced back to win the National League that year.
Scorers for Clare: David Reidy (6f, 1’65) 0-7; Aron Shanagher (1f) 1-4; Aaron Cunnngham 1-0; Podge Collins, Cathal McInerney 0-2 each; David Fitzgerald, John Conlon, Jason McCarthy, Peter Duggan (’65) 0-1 each
Scorers for Kilkenny: TJ Reid (4f, 2’65) 0-7; Conor Fogarty 0-2; Eoin Murphy (1f), Cillian Buckley, Richie Leahy 0-1 each
1. Donal Tuohy (Crusheen)
4. Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge)
3. Cian Dillon (Crusheen) (Captain)
2. Oisin O’Brien (Clonlara)
5. Brendan Bugler (Whitegate)
6. Conor Cleary (St Joseph’s Miltown)
8. David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona)
7. Jamie Shanahan (Sixmilebridge)
9. David Reidy (Éire Óg)
14. John Conlon (Clonlara)
11. Podge Collins (Cratloe)
12. Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge)
15. Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg)
10. Aaron Cunningham (Wolfe Tones)
13. Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones)
22. Cathal McInerney (Cratloe) for Cunningham (51)
20. Jason McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona) for Reidy (57)
17. Shane Golden (Sixmilebridge) for Shanahan (66)
18. Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin) for Malone (66)
19. Patrick Donnellan (O’Callaghan’s Mills) for Bugler (71)
1. Eoin Murphy (Glenmore)
2. Evan Cody (Dicksboro)
3. Padraig Walsh (Tullaroan)
4. Conor O’Shea (Clara)
5. Joey Holden (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
6. Paul Murphy (Danesfort)
7. Kieran Joyce (Rower Inistioge)
8. Conor Fogarty (Erin’s Own)
9. Cillian Buckley (Dicksboro)
10. Liam Blanchfield (Bennettsbridge)
11. TJ Reid (Ballyhale Shamrocks)
12. Richie Leahy (Rower Inistioge)
13. Richie Hogan (Danesfort)
14. Walter Walsh (Tullogher Rosbercon)
15. Kevin Kelly (St Patrick’s)
17. Shane Prendergast (Clara) for Cody (Half-Time)
23. Jonjo Farrell (Thomastown) for W. Walsh (Half-Time, inj)
26. James Maher (St Lachtain’s) for Hogan (49)
22. Ollie Walsh (Dicksboro) for Kelly (57)
25. Sean Morrissey (Bennettsbridge) for Blanchfield (66, inj)
Referee: James Owens (Wexford)
Note: This piece was updated, as the headline and intro incorrectly stated it was a 12-point win.
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