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N.Y. GAA Clare start well but Cats bag the points

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Mike Fitzpatrick

Kilkenny 3-13, Clare 1-9

Kilkenny is a side in transition. Having endured a nightmare season last time around, when they failed to win a single game, the Cats have now picked up another vital win, as they ease themselves closer and closer to the knockout rounds.

Clare have proved to be disappointing this season. Having now lost four games in succession, their chances of making it to the playoffs lie in tatters. The Bannermen, despite having such exciting players as Darren Doherty, Marty McGlade and Liam Briody, were simply outplayed by their opponents in this senior hurling clash. With such on-form sides as Tipperary, Waterford and Limerick in this division, nobody said it was going to be easy to make it to the latter stages of the season, but Kilkenny have toughed it out, and now stand a good chance of making it.

Clare started the game with fire in their hearts, eager to turn their season around, and indeed due to some fabulous play from Briody and McGlade, they soon opened up a healthy five-point lead over their opponents.

Kilkenny, a little shellshocked, could have reacted in either of two ways. They could have sat back and accepted the onslaught, or they could fight back. Luckily for Cats supporters, Kilkenny chose the latter. With some inspiring forward work from Tommy Lehart and a goal from Brendan Ryan, Kilkenny overtook their rival’s lead, and going into the half-time break, it was they who held the lead. After the break, Clare’s hearts were broken by some tremendous work in the middle of the park by Vinnie Norton, who continually thumped the ball forward for Lehart to latch onto, and it was due to this combination of players that resulted in James Fitzgerald grabbing a brace of goals to give Kilkenny an even more convincing lead as they stormed their way to victory.

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Kilkenny eventually ran out as 10-point victors, an impressive achievement considering the fact that they were losing by five at one stage. The Cats are on course for the knockout rounds, and although Clare are seemingly out of this year’s championship, don’t bet against this spirited side upsetting one of the bigger guns in their final couple of games.

Kilkenny: James Joyce, Mark Kennedy, Darragh Moore, David Brennan, John Nolan (0-1), Owen Mullally, Mark O’Brien (0-1), Vinnie Norton, Tommy Lehart (0-7), Brendan Ryan (1-0), Jerome Edge, Kevin Corbett (0-2), James Fitzgerald (2-1). Sub: Richie Hogan (0-1)

Clare: Vincent Kennedy, Brian Adams, Marty McGlade (0-2), Seamus Pender, Ray McKenna, Paul Burke, Gerry Rogerson, Martin Craig (0-1), Martin McNamara (0-1), Darren Doherty (0-1), Michael Kerr, Liam Briody (1-4), Lawrence Kennedy.

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