A late Danesfort goal did little but put a shine on the scoreboard as Clara ran out easy winners in the senior hurling league, writes Jim Buggy.
Clara, the intermediate champions, impressed. The losers got off to the brighter start with two Richie Hogan pointed frees sandwiching a sweet score from Lester Ryan. Keith Hogan pointed his first of two placed balls and once Clara got in front they stayed there.
A long free from Hogan was the source of Clara’s goal. There was confusion in a packed square in front of the ’Fort goal. James Nolan took full advantage and finished the ball to the net.
A second Lester Ryan score and another Hogan free pushed Clara six in front, already taking a considerable lead after only 10 minutes. A trademark score by Richie Hogan after racing out and turning his man before shooting left Danesfort close.
However, the driving force that is Jack Langton powered on Clara. He shot over before captain Austin Murphy followed with a point. Philly Walsh and Paddy Hogan replied for Danesfort. Keith and Richie Hogan traded frees before four in-a-row left Clara comfortably in front at the break, 1-14 to 0-7.
Scores form James Nolan and the Ryan brothers had impressed the crowd in the opening half. Nolan was particularly impressive at breaking up the play from full-forward. Clara had been very impressive, their constant movement causing confusion in the ’Fort backs.
The sides traded pointed frees after the turn before Chris Bolger set up James Nolan for a minor. Paul Murphy responded with a massive point from his own half. Danesfort got a boost after seven minutes when Oisin Daly struck gold. His first shot was saved, but Daly raced in to flick the ball home.
Clara held firm at the back, with Tom Ryan outstanding along the 20 metre line. ’Fort were hurling better, but they hadn’t enough firepower.
Four Clara scores in-a-row cemented the result, and after 50 minutes the contest was over. Danesfort battled on but they only registered another three scores. Keith Hogan, Liam Ryan and Chris Bolger had done the damage, and substitute Ciaran Prendergast caused problems too.
Three Richie Hogan pointed frees closed the gap to seven, but they were a beaten team. Clara looked good and the middle third of their team dominated. Danesfort lacked of variety, with too many deliveries aimed at Richie Hogan.
Scorers: Clara - Keith Hogan (0-8, all frees); James Nolan (1-2); Liam Ryan, Lester Ryan (0-3 each); Austin Murphy (0-2); Chris Bolger, Ciaran Prendergast, Jack Langton (0-1 each). Danesfort - Richie Hogan (0-10, 0-8 frees); Oisin Daly (1-0); Philip Walsh, David Forrestal, Paul Murphy (0-1 each); Paddy Hogan (0-1, free).
Clara - Killian Phelan, Dermot Nolan, John Phelan, Tom Ryan, Neal Prendergast, Shane Prendergast, David Langton, Lester Ryan, Jack Langton, Conor Phelan, Keith Hogan, Lima Ryan, Austin Murphy, James Nolan, Chris Bolger. Subs -Ciaran Prendergast
Danesfort - Frank Manogue, Gavin O’Keefee, Liam Forristal, Michael Cunningham, Tony Woodcock, Paul Murphy, Philip Walsh, Jim Phelan, Darragh Sheehan, Paddy Hogan, David Forristal, Oisin Daly, Paddy Hickey, Richie Hogan, Robbie Walsh. Subs - Stephen Duncan.
Ref - T. Duggan (Mullinavat)