By Jack Flynn
Monaghan 0-11, Clare 1-5
The final match on the extended slate at Gaelic Park on Sunday was a Senior Football Div. II showdown between Monaghan and Clare. it was Monaghan who came away with the victory 0-11 to 1-5, against a Clare side that needed a late rally to keep things close.
There wasn’t much to get excited about in this one, as both sides played a mediocre game which struggled to hold the interest of most of the spectators.
Monaghan put the match away early, scoring the five straight points in the first half to build a lead they would not lose.
Four different players tallied for Monaghan during the run, and full forward Ray Kelly scored two points for his side. Paul Devlin finally scored a point for his team, putting a ball over the bar to reduce Clare’s deficit to four points, 0-5 to 0-1.
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Kelly and Eddie Murphy answered with points, and Monaghan was firmly in control of the match. As the halftime horn was sounding, Devlin was converting a free that made the score 0-7 to 0-2 in favor of Monaghan after 30 minutes.
Clare put up a better fight in the second half, but found the match slipping further and further away. Devlin scored Clare’s third point after both teams went through an 11-minute scoring drought.
Kelly answered with his forth point on the afternoon and in turn Clare’s Dan Lynch put a ball over the bar to make the score 0-8 to 0-4 in favor of Monaghan.
Finally, Monaghan cemented the match with points from Paul McGlynn, John Browne and P.J. Rogers to make the score 0-11 to 0-4.
Both teams had chances to score goals, but wound up shooting themselves in the foot, Clare’s Joe Egan had an excellent goal chance with 15 minutes remaining, but somehow struck the ball well wide of the net. Murphy was sprung out alone and was bearing down on the Clare net, but he inexplicably fell down and lost possession.
Despite being down seven points with time winding down, Clare refused to quit. a Lynch goal was followed by a Dermot Boylan point, and suddenly only three points separated the sides.
Boylan’s score would be the last one of the match, however, as Clare could not pull off the comeback. a last-minute free by Clare’s Aiden McCarthy was struck wide, and Monaghan held on for the victory.
Monaghan scorers: Kelly 0-4, Murphy 0-2, Scott, McEntee, McGlynn, Browne and Rogers 0-1.
Clare: Lynch 1-1, Devlin 0-3, Boylan 0-1.