By Peter Nolan
It was a banner day for Clare in Sunday’s New York GAA nightcap at Gaelic Park, as they upset Senior B frontrunners Monaghan, 1-12 to 0-8.
Clare got a break with Mickey Slowey unavailable for this match. Barry Moyles filled in admirably for the New York County man, scoring 0-6, but Monaghan seemed a bit unsure without their offensive focal point.
Martin Slowey was pressed into service at center half-forward, and although talented, footballers like Slowey can play anywhere, his tigerish presence was missed in the Monaghan back line.
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The close first half started well for Clare with Pauric Davis’s free opening the scoring. Clare were attacking well from the midfield, and Gary Dowd twice raced through only to be let down by his final touch.
Monaghan were struggling with a poor kickout and aggressive wingback Alan Kavanagh fielded one such short kickout and fired over Clare’s second point. Monaghan kept at it though and finally broke through with two points from Moyles to level.
Center back Paul O’Connor had a fine afternoon for Clare, and it was his pass that put Stephen Flynn through for Clare’s go-ahead point. Clare extended that advantage when midfielder Cathal Loughane latched onto a breaking ball and coolly picked his spot, driving home the all-important goal for Clare. The sides exchanged points for the rest of the half and Clare went to the interval leading 1-5 to 0-4.
Monaghan never stopped trying but they never seriously threatened this well-balanced Clare side in the closing half. Clare were very strong in the half back line, and Monaghan could find no way back as they were outscored 0-7 to 0-4 in the second half.
This is a big win for Clare as it keeps their season alive. Monaghan won’t like their first loss of the season, but it shouldn’t trouble them too much as they still are in great shape for the playoffs.
Man of the Match: Alan Kavanagh.
Clare: Eoghan Loughlin, Brian Cooney, Kevin Heaney, Paddy Barry (0-1), Paul O’Connor, Alan Kavanagh (0-2), Cathal Loughnane (1-0). Gary Dowd, John Madigan (0-3), Eion Coveney, Gary Rocks, Stephen Flynn (0-2), Padraig Davis (0-3), Michael Loather (0-1).
Monaghan: Simon Sheridan, Garreth Duffy, Paul Rushe, Gary Birdey, Louie Breslin, Bernard Traynor, Hughie O’Sullivan, Rauri O’Neill (0-1), Darren Quinn, Martin Slowey, Mark Dobbin, Paddy Skeath, Barry Moyles (0-6), John Lydon (0-1).