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NFL Division 2 South: Clare turn it around in the second half

Kildare 0-13 – 1-13 Clare

By Cian Dalton

Image via RTE

I don’t want to make a habit out of using clichés but this truly was a game of two different halves. Kildare went in three points up at the break and looked comfortable at home in St. Conleth’s. Clare came out a changed side in the second half, clawing back the deficit and defending their lead well to the end. Jack O’Connor will be disappointed with the second half performance from his men while Clare will be happy, sitting pretty at the top of the table with two wins from two.

This was a tight affair in the opening stages. Neil Flynn got Kildare off the mark before David Tubridy scored a free off the ground from a tight angle. Clare went a point up before Jimmy Hyland, who was unmarkable in the first half, put Kildare level again. From then until half time it was the Flynn and Hyland show, the two scoring all of Kildare’s first half scores between them.

Clare were flat in the first half and found it hard to penetrated the Lilywhite’s defense. The game itself was tame enough and it looked like it was going to pan out in Kildare’s favour without incident. The Clare team must have received a bit of hairdryer treatment at half time as they came out a changed team.

A substitute doesn’t always majorly impact a game but it must be some feeling as a manager to see the player you brought on score a game-changing and winning goal. Colm Collins brought on Joe McGann in the 44th minute, a decision which paid dividends five minutes later when McGann scored a goal from play. An under hit shot fell into his arms, catching the defender unawares and the young forward fired it home from close range.

Clare motored on from there, kicking three points on the trot. Eoin Cleary put in a fantastic effort in the second half, scoring seven points including two late frees that sealed the win. It was a proper role reversal for the teams in the second half, Kildare looking listless and out of ideas. David Tubridy chipped in with some important scores for the visitors but Cleary takes the man of the match award for me. Kildare can feel unlucky about the way the goal happened but they never looked like getting back on top once Clare caught up with them.

Clare are leading the Division 2 South leaderboard and I fancy them to beat Laois next week for a clean sweep in the league.

Kildare Mark Donnelan, Eoin Doyle, Mick O’Grady, Mark Dempsey, Ryan Houlihan, Shea Ryan, Kevin Flynn, Aaron Masterson, Luke Flynn, Paul Cribbin, Neil Flynn, Alex Beirne, Darragh Kirwan, Kevin Felly, Jimmy Hyland. Subs: Con Kavanagh on for Shea Ryan 36’, Fergal Conway on for Alex Beirne 50’, Darragh Malone on for Eoin Doyle 43’, Paddy Brophy on for Aaron Masterson 55’, Shane O’Sullivan on for Darragh Kirwan 61’, Brian McLoughlin on for Paul Cribbin 72’. Scorers: Neil Flynn (4 points (2 frees)), Jimmy Hyland (4 points (1 free)), Kevin Feely (2 points), Darragh Kirwan (1 point), Shane O’Sullivan (2 points).


Stephen Ryan, Eoghan Collins, Cillian Brennan, Ciaran Russell, Daniel Walsh, Sean Collins, Cian O’Dea, Cathal O’Connor, Darren O’Neill, Darragh Bohannon, Eoin Cleary, Pearse Lillis, Keelan Sexton, David Tubridy, Gavin Cooney. Subs: Joe McGann on for Keelan Sexton 44’, Emmet McMahon on for Darragh Bohannon 51’, Alan Sweeney on for Daniel Walsh 60’, Kevin Harnett on for Eoghan Collins 65’, Aaron Griffin on for Gavin Cooney 66’, Dale Masterson on for Pearse Lillis 71’, Cormac Murray on for Darren O’Neill 71’.

Scorers: David Tubridy (3 points (2 frees)), Gavin Cooney (1 point), Eoin Cleary (7 points (4 frees)), Joe McGann (1 goal), Emmet McMahon (1 point), Darragh Bohannon (1 point).

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