Clare were well worth this fine win at Newbridge in their Allianz Football League Division 2 South tie against Kildare.
et it will be a bittersweet triumph as it leaves the Banner neither sure of a promotion play-off nor safe from relegation.
That’s because Clare, Cork and Kildare could all end up on four points in the section next weekend, and then the fate of all three teams would come down to score difference.
Clare are well placed to progress on that count, with a current tally of plus 10, but the fact remains that they need a point at home to Cork next week to be sure of a shot at becoming a Division One team for next season.
Eoin Cleary was the hero for Clare, scoring seven second half points for his team, three of them from play as they used a stiff breeze well to overturn a two-point half-time deficit into this good win.
Cian O’Dea, Cathal O’Connor and David Tubridy were other players to impress for the Banner as they stuck at their task and kicked the long range scores that were needed to beat a massed Kildare defence.
This loss is a bad one for Kildare. They let the game slip in the last 12 minutes of the first half when they did not score. Playing with a decent breeze at their backs, that barren spell left them short of scores in the second half.
Kildare manager Jack O’Connor has done a fair bit of work on his team’s defence in the wake of conceding five goals to Meath in last year’s Leinster Championship semi-final.
He now needs to work on their attack – where Jimmy Hyland and Kevin Feely can be dangerous players, but their team-mates just don’t get the ball in to them quickly enough.
Scorers – Kildare: N Flynn 0-4 (2fs), J Hyland 0-4 (1 mark), K Feely and S O’Sullivan 0-2, D Kirwan 0-1. Clare: E. Cleary 0-7 (1 45’ 3f’s), D Tubridy 0-3 (2 f), J McGinn 1-0, G Cooney, D Bohannan and E McMahon 0-1.
Kildare: M Donnellan; M Dempsey, M O’Grady, E Doyle; K Flynn, S Ryan, R Houlihan; L Flynn, A Masterson; A Beirne, N Flynn, P Cribbin; J.Hyland, K Feeley, D Kirwan. Subs: C Kavanagh for Ryan and F Conway for Beirne (both half-time), D Malone for Doyle (44mins), P Brophy for Masterson (55mins), S O’Sullivan for Kirwan (60mins), B McLoughlin for Cribbin (69 mins).
Clare: S Ryan; C Rusell, C Brennan, E Collins; G O’Dea, S Collins, D Walsh; D O’Neill, C O’Connor; P Lillis, E Cleary, D Bohannon; G Cooney, D Tubridy, K Sexton. Subs: J McGann for Sexton (45mins), E McMahon for Bohannan (52mins), A Sweeney for Walsh (60 mins), K Hartnett for E Collins and A Griffin for Cooney (both 65mins), C Murray for O’Neill (69mins).
Referee: F Kelly (Longford).