After an opening round defeat at home by Waterford a week earlier Mick O’Dwyer got his Division 4 Clare campaign off to a winning start on Sunday last by defeating Leitrim impressively in Carrick-on-Shannon when coming from behind and keeping his promotion hopes alive.
Following Clare’s victory over Leitrim the home side’s promotion hopes from Division 4 are all but gone, especially after an away defeat by Limerick the previous Sunday.
Leitrim dominated in the opening 24 minutes after which they led by 1– 5 to 0-1 with Emlyn Mulligan orchestrating matters for them hitting 0–3 and creating a goal that was finished to the net by Conor Beirne while Wayne McKeon also pointed.
David Tubridy answered with a point from a 5th minute Clare free and Leitrim had a let off when Mark McCarthy blazed a goal chance wide eight minutes later. At this stage of the game it looked like Leitrim was on the road to a clear-cut victory.
But then the game was delayed for 8 minutes due to a concussion injury to Leitrim’s Adrian Croal for which he had be substituted in the final ten minutes of the first half.
When the action resumed after this break in play Leitrim seemed to lose their composure for the rest of the game. Clare rallied in this spell and closed the gap with Leitrim to a point by half-time (1–5 to 1–4) after David Tubridy put over a free with Mark McCarthy getting a goal and a point while Shane McGrath also shot a point.
Substitute Rory Donnelly levelled with a Clare point in the opening minute of the second half. But shortly afterwards Leitrim’s Paddy McGowan put his side ahead again with a similar score after receiving a pass from Emlyn Mulligan.
David Tubridy made it level pegging once more with a 40th minute point from a free and Clare then took a lead they never surrendered when Podge McMahon shot over four minutes later.
Prior to McMahon’s point Leitrim also enjoyed a let off when Declan Callinan deflected a goal chance inches wide. Then Clare keeper Joe Hayes made a terrific point blank save to deny a Kevin Conlan Leitrim goal chance, which had Conlan scored would have put his side into a two points lead.
Following this the Leitrim challenge went into meltdown while Mick O’Dwyer’s men went on to build up a 0– 7 lead by the end the game. Gary Brennan and David Tubridy contributed 0–2 each for Clare in this period while Shane McGrath, Gordon Kelly and Cathal O’Connor added a point each.
Leitrim replied with a Daniel Beck point and Emlyn Mulligan chipped in with 1 –1 from late close in frees. Clare’s Martin McMahon was red carded before the end for a foul on Mulligan from which Mulligan goaled when he shot through a cluster of Clare players on the line.
LEITRIM: Cathal McCrann; Danny Beck 0–1, Ciaran Egan, Paddy Maguire; Colm Clarke, Paul Brennan, Alan Wynne; Wayne McKeon 0–2, Paddy McGowan 0–1; Adrian Croal, Emlyn Mulligan 1-4 (three frees), G. Hickey; Conor Beirne 1–0, James Glancy, Kevin Conlan.
Subs:- Brendan Flynn for McCrann (22 mins); Brian McDonald for Croal (26 mins); Cian Reynolds for Hickey (half-time), Sean McWeeney for Egan (42 mins); Ray Cox for Conlan (58 mins).
CLARE: Joe Hayes; Laurence Healy, Shane McNeilis, Enda Coughlan; Declan Callinan, Gordon Kelly 0–1, Martin McMahon; Gary Brennan 0–2, Cathal O’Connor 0–1; Shane McGrath 0–2, Alan Clohessy, Chris Dunning; Mark McCarthy 1–1, Podge McMahon 0–1, David Tubridy 0- 5 (four frees).
Subs:- Rory Donnelly 0–1 for Dunning (22 mins); Niall Kelly for McMahon (66 mins), Cathal Duggan for McCarthy (71mins).
Referee: Paddy Neilan (Roscommon).