Category: Archive

N.Y. GAA Going against McGrain, Clare falter

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Mike Fitzpatrick

Westmeath 2-13, Clare 2-12

Dubliner Tom McGrain stole the show against Clare with a fantastic performance in this well-contested senior hurling battle Sunday at Gaelic Park. Clare’s John Punch opened the scoring in the early minutes with a splendidly taken goal. This was followed by a point from teammate Brian Chambers and another goal from Clare’s towering forward Barney Breen.

Westmeath seemed to be slipping behind rapidly and were not helped by the truly inspiring form of Clare goalkeeper Aidan O’Connor, who made some outstanding saves from Collie Fearon and Brian Daly. Clare were well in control of the game until McGrain decided otherwise.

Midway through the first half McGrain cleverly turned inside the Clare halfback line to set up Declan Rooney for his side’s first score of the afternoon. This was immediately followed by three points of his own, all taken at varying angles as if to convey to the crowd what a remarkable player he is. Sneaking through the Clare defense, he fired his first goal of the afternoon to bring Westmeath right back into the game. Clare responded with two identical points from John Kennedy. Taking his chances from way out, he scored two tremendous efforts and one more from nearer the goal just to prove he wasn’t a one-trick pony. Niall Hayes hit a couple for Clare before the break to lead Westmeath by four points.

A two-man attack involving McGrain and Brian Daly was thwarted by a fantastic reflex save by Clare’s O’Connor, diving low to his right to prevent what seemed to be a certain goal. The game continued at an even pace on an entertaining level, with both sides scoring points and threatening to steal the victory. Though Clare led throughout the game, during the second half there were never more than a few points in the balance.

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Kyle Quinn added his name to the scoresheet with two points for Clare, and this was followed by McGrain grabbing a point from a long way out following a good run across the park. Stealing the ball from the Clare midfield he scored another in reply to Niall Hayes’s double strike late in the game for Clare. John Punch scored a final point for Clare with less than two minutes to go to give his side a two-point cushion, but with mere seconds remaining, that man McGrail completed his fairy tale performance by slamming the ball home to come from behind and clinch the victory for Westmeath.

Westmeath: John McDonald, Jim Miller, Enda Condron, Colm Reilly, Brian McCabe, Enda Lohan, Declan Rooney (0-2), Jim Hughes (0-1), Brendan Kirby, Shane Dalton, Brian Daly, Tom McGrain (2-10), Collie Fearon.

Clare: Aidan O’Connor, Tony Byrne, Noel McGovern, Brian Adams, John Kennedy (0-3), Seamus Pender, Brian Chambers (0-1), Donal Moore, John Punch (1-1), Barney Breen (1-0), Niall Hayes (0-4), Kyle Quinn (0-2), Kevin Moore (0-1).

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