Friday 3 February 2023 Dublin: 10°C
Tommy Dickson/INPHO Tony Kelly facing Ryan Mullaney.
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Clare maintain winning start as Tony Kelly and super sub Shanagher lead the scoring against Laois
Brian Lohan’s Banner side went three from three in Ennis.

Clare 0-17

Laois 0-9

Eoin Brennan reports from Cusack Park, Ennis

THE FORM GUIDE was eventually maintained in Ennis this afternoon as Clare made it three wins from three to leave Laois still searching for their first points of a new-look Division 1 of the National Hurling League.

In front of 1,009 hardy souls, unprecedented weather conditions made for a testing encounter as incessant rain was accompanied by hailstones and even thunder and lightning. Consequently, it was a battle for long periods but eventually the home side’s winning know-how shone through as they belied the conditions with six of the last seven points to run out deserving winners.

Successive points for substitute Aaron Dunphy and Ross King had upped the ante by the turn of the final quarter at 0-10 to 0-07. However, strong character-filled displays from David Reidy and midfielders Tony Kelly and David McInerney would turn the tide back in Clare’s favour while their bench also contributed handsomely.

Aron Shanagher’s three-point haul in five minutes initiated the home side’s second wind while fellow substitutes Domhnall McMahon and Ian Galvin also chipped in with second half points to avoid any grandstand finish.

Clare also started confidently with the aid of a strong gale as Tony Kelly (three), Aidan McCarthy and the returning Aaron Cunningham helped their side to a 0-5 to 0-1 lead by the seventh minute.

brian-lohan Tommy Dickson / INPHO Clare manager Brian Lohan. Tommy Dickson / INPHO / INPHO

They would only score one more point for the next 25 minutes however as seven wides halted their momentum. And it allowed Laois to settle into their stride through Ross King (2) and Willie Dunphy at 0-6 to 0-4 by the 30th minute.

Tony Kelly did lift the home side’s fortunes with three late points to take a 0-9 to 0-4 cushion into the break but with Laois welcoming the wind for the new half, the game was still precariously in the balance.

The third quarter would be highlighted by three goal opportunities, two of which went the visitors’ way as first James Keyes was denied by new goalkeeper Eibhear Quilligan while Willie Dunphy’s pulled rebound was also cleared off the line by debutant Liam Corry.

Up the other end, Ryan Taylor’s kicked attempt by blocked by advancing goalkeeper Enda Rowland and it seemed to spur Laois into life as replacement Aaron Dunphy and Ross King lessened the damage to three by the 52nd minute at 0-10 to 0-07.

Clare required a spark and it would arrive from the bench as the aerial dominance of Aron Shanagher reaped three quickfire points while the hardworking David Reidy also opened his account as the hosts stretched their advantage to six.

Laois’ only final quarter contribution came from Willie Dunphy as their challenge rather petered out for the remainder. However, Clare, and indeed the driving rain, remained relentless as Tony Kelly score a further brace and also teed up Ian Galvin for another as Brian Lohan’s side put one foot in the knock-out stages with a third consecutive victory.

tony-kelly-with-padraig-chaplin-age-8-from-sixmilebridge Tommy Dickson / INPHO Kelly with Padraig Chaplin, age 8, from Sixmilebridge afterwards. Tommy Dickson / INPHO / INPHO

Scorers for Clare: Tony Kelly (0-8, 5f); Aron Shanagher (0-3); Aaron Cunningham, Aidan McCarthy, Jack Browne, Domhnall McMahon, David Reidy, Ian Galvin (0-1 each)

Scorers for Laois: Ross King (0-5f); Willie Dunphy (0-2); Aaron Dunphy, Paddy Purcell (0-1 each)


1. Eibhear Quilligan (Feakle)

4. Jack Browne (Ballyea)
3. Shane Golden (Sixmilebridge)
2. Liam Corry (Éire Óg)

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5. Stephen O’Halloran (Clarecastle)
6. Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge)
7. Aidan McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona)

8. David McInerney (Tulla)
9. Tony Kelly (Ballyea)

10. David Reidy (Éire Óg)
11. David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona)
12. Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge)

13. Ryan Taylor (Clooney-Quin)
14. Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg)
15. Aaron Cunningham (Wolfe Tones)


24. Domhnall McMahon (Michael Cusack’s) for Fitzgerald (32, inj)
17. Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones) for Cunningham (45)
18. Ian Galvin (Clonlara) for Morey (47)
26. Podge Collins (Cratloe) for O’Donnell (56)
25. Niall Deasy (Ballyea) for Taylor (65)


1. Enda Rowland (St Lazerian’s Abbeyleix)

3. Frank Flanagan (Portlaoise)
4. Donnacha Hartnett (Mountmellick)
2. Diarmuid Conway (Clough-Ballacolla)

5. Padraig Delaney (The Harps)
6. Ryan Mullaney (Castletown)
7. Ciaran McEvoy (Portlaoise)

8. Colm Stapleton (Borris-in-Ossory/Kilcotton)
9. Fiachra C-Fennell (Rosenallis)

10. Willie Dunphy (Clough-Ballacolla)
11. James Ryan (Rathdowney-Errill)
12. Paddy Purcell (Rathdowney-Errill)

13. Ross King (Rathdowney-Errill)
14. Stephen Bergin (Clough-Ballacolla)
15. James Keyes (Colt)


23. John Lennon (Rosenallis) for Stapleton (10, inj)
17. Matthew Whelan (Borris-in-Ossory/Kilcotton) for Conway (44)
25. Aaron Dunphy (Borris-in-Ossory/Kilcotton) for Mullaney (44, inj)
22. Ronan Broderick (Clough-Ballacolla) for Flanagan (59)
26. Cian Taylor (Portlaoise) for Bergin (62, inj)

Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow).

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