Minor HC review: Clare denied at the death

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Updated: August 7, 2011

Clare 1-18 v Galway 1-23 AET

Galway claimed their place in the minor All Ireland final with a extra time win over Clare in a win that capped a stunning comeback. 3 points down going into added time at the end of the 60 minutes, Galway fought back in stunning fashion to claim a 5 point win. Galway were the better side in extra time with Clare deflated after the coming so close to victory.

The game exploded into life in the final few minutes of regulation time as both side lit up Croke Park in dramatic fashion.

With the game into added time and Clare leading by a goal, Gort man Gerard O’Donoghue stepped up to fire up an equalising goal and rescue Galway from defeat. However Clare could still have won as the second ticked down, Tony Kelly’s 66 metre free hitting the post however a defeat would have been harsh on either side and they will meet again to determine who will make the 2011 final.

While the game ended in stunning fashion, the first half was a less entertaining affair with the occasion seemingly getting to the players. Clare were the faster off the blocks with the impressive Aaron Cunningham scoring a point on three minutes after Cathal O’Connell had missed a free from out near the touchline a minute earlier.

However Galway responded to take the lead with Billy Lane and O’Donoghue putting Galway 02-01 up after 6 minutes. Shane O’Donnell and Shane Maloney then traded frees as Galway maintained a slight advantage.

Munster Champions Clare then stepped it up a great, as Tony Kelly, Cunningham and then O’Connell with two all scored to put Clare 06-03 up with 20 minutes on the clock.

Maloney steadied the Galway nerves with a free after O’Donoghue and Patrick Sweeney hit a couple of wides for the tribesmen.

However Clare continued to pick off the points, despite at times looking like they had less of the ball, Galway’s midfield impressing as were the Clare backline, particularly Jack Browne, who was having a fine game.

Shane O’Donnell and O’Connell either side of a Maloney free put Clare 08-05 ahead with another O’Connell free putting the Banner County in 4 points to the good at half time.

The second half saw Galway come out all guns blazing with Maloney with 2, O’Donoghue, Martin Breheny and Higgins all scoring in the opening 10 minutes of the half to level the tie, Colm Galvin fine point from distance Clare only effort.

With 20 minutes to go it was now game on, Kelly, who switched to number 35 for the second half, put Clare back in front before Carr levelled it again.

The two sides then swapped the leads before a moment of brilliance from Aaron Cunningham set up Oisin Hickey, who up to that point had been relatively quiet, to score a fine goal.

Clare were now 3 points up and at last had a bit of breathing space but not for long as Galway hit back through John Hansberry and Breheny to reduce the arrears to one.

O’Connell and Kelly, from a might distance out, put the lead back to three with Maloney responding with 4 minutes to go with a free of his own.

With regulation time almost up Cunningham thought he had won it with another fine point however there will still time for O’Donoghue to rescue a replay.
Galway came out of the blocks of added time in stunning fashion, scoring three points in a row to rattle Clare. Clare managed to stem the tide but Galway stepped up another geat to rattle off 4 more scores to all but seal the win and despite a couple of late point from Clare, the day belonged to Matty Murphy and his charges.

Galway will now face either Dublin or Waterford in the final in September.

Sportsnewsireland.com will have live score updates on all GAA Championship matches over the summer.

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