The story of the game was simple and is easily told - Clara looked good; St Martin’s (Muckalee) looked awful.
This senior hurling league clash at Nowlan Park on Saturday didn’t take long to bed into a sad trend. One team excelled and put on a show. The other struggled, and things went from bad to worse as the 60 minutes wore on.
What did the result tell us about double champions, Clara? Not a lot more than we would have expected, in that they will be contenders again for all the honours this season. They were without the injured John Phelan and Austin Murphy again.
The shipped the losses easily. They knew after the opening quarter they were going to be able to carry the loss, easily.
St Martin’s, on the other hand, were missing John Mulhall, who broke two fingers during training last week. He would have made a difference, but the end result would have been the same.
This was Martin’s like they have rarely been seen. They were so far off the standard their followers around us in the stand were shaking their heads in disbelief. This was rock bottom form.
The only consolation is that thing can only get better!
During the opening minutes Liam Ryan and Eoin McGrath, in that order, swopped points. Liam Ryan drilled over the lead point for Clara in the third minute, and they led all the way home from there.
The rate at which Martin’s, who were shapeless from back to front, lost ground was hard to credit. Points were picked off by Jack Langton, James Nolan (3), Lester Ryan and Nolan again to leave the losers trailing by 0-1 to 0-8 after only 12 minutes.
Midfielder Michael Morrissey interrupted the one way scoring trend when he landed a point for Martin’s, but within a minute easy moving Clara ripped the heart out of the losers effort.
The lively Christ Bolger zipped through for a Clara goal. A mere 17 minutes had passed. A second goal was plundered in the 22nd minute. We credited to James Nolan’s, who shot from 25 metres on the right wing was turned into the net by a defender.
That score left Martin’s 0-4 to 2-9 behind. At half-time the score was 2-14 to 0-5.
The aim for the losers was respectability from there on, nothing more. That looked achievable bearing in mind they had the backing of the fresh breeze to come. Alas, Martin’s couldn’t shake themselves out of the awful hurling depression in which they found themselves this evening.
They ran up 10 wides during the closing half. They scored a mere three points. The figures tell the story of a sad, sad hour for a team that is better; that can play better. The nine week break until the next round of matches will have to be used well!
Clara looked really good, throwing the ball around almost casually at times. They won’t have placed much store in the effort, however, apart from it boosting their points tally on the league table. The opposition was so bad, it would be unwise to put much value on the effort.
There were some encouraging aspects all the same. James Nolan looked to be coming good again; he shot one lovely point in the second half from a 35 metre sideline cut. David Langton was terrific. Likewise Lester Ryan. Youngsters Chris Bolger and Ciaran Prendergast played very well too.
Scorers: Clara - James Nolan (1-10, five points frees); Chris Bolger (2-2); Lester Ryan (0-4); Liam Ryan, Ciaran Prendergast (0-3 each); Jack Langton, Conor Phelan (0-1 each). St Martin’s - John Maher (0-5, three frees); Eoin McGrath, Michael Morrissey (0-1 each); Colin McGrath (0-1, free).
Clara - Killian Phelan, Dermot Nolan, Sean O’Shea, Conor O’Shea, Tom Ryan, Shane Prendergast, David Langton, Lester Ryan, Jack Langton, Liam Ryan, David Prendergast, Conor Phelan, Chris Bolger, James Nolan, Ciaran Prendergast. Subs - Keith Hogan, John Murphy, Peter Nolan.
St Martin’s - Colin McGrath, James Dowling, Ollie Walsh, Patrick Dowling, Brian Byrne, Patrick Nolan, Paul Maher, Canice Maher, Michael Morrissey, Thomas Breen, Brian Mulhall, Eoin McGrath, Shane Kinsella, John Maher, Robert Shore. Subs - Jason Shore, Adrian Farrell, Aidan Murphy.
Referee - Peter burke (Emeralds).