All Ireland SHC QF: Clare finish with a flourish
All Ireland SHC Quarter-Final
Clare 1-24 Wexford 3-14
By Eoin Brennan at FBD Semple Stadium
The Banner rose highest in a spectacular finale as Clare produced a remarkable 10 point turnaround to floor Wexford.
Brian Lohan'steam advance to the last four of the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship with an interesting clash against Kilkenny next.
In front of 34, 640, Wexford looked to have ended their three match barren streak against the Banner when quickfire goals through a deceiving Mark Fanning free and a Lee Chin rebound nudged their side six clear by the turn of the final quarter.
While that margin remained intact entering the final 10 minutes, Clare suddenly clicked into gear at the perfect time, with impact sub Aron Shanagher central to their rallying call as he bookended points with a 56th minute pulled goal to put the Banner into the driving seat.
In all, Brian Lohan’s side outscored Wexford by 1-9 to 0-2 in that crucial crescendo to power over the line and tee up a semi-final showdown with Leinster champions Kilkenny in a fortnight’s time.
It was Wexford that dramatically opened proceedings as Jack O’Connor weaved his way through the heart of the Clare defence to find the net after only 30 seconds.
Indeed, with the Munster finalists struggling to find their rhythm, Wexford, thanks to a brace of Oisin Foley points, built up a four point cushion by the ninth minute.
In a low-scoring half, Clare did recover sufficiently to regain parity by the break, with Ian Galvin’s two point haul noteworthy to ensure a 0-10 to 1-7 stalemate.
Half-time couldn’t come soon enough for Clare to regroup and they did snatch the initiative, mainly though inspirational wing-back Diarmuid Ryan’s two point blitz to lead by 0-14 to 1-9 by the 41st minute.
Lee Chin just cleared the crossbar with a glorious goal chance a minute later but they would get a major slice of fortune in the 47th minute when goalkeeper Mark Fanning’s defensive free was allowed to cross the line at the other end, predominantly due to Lee Chin’s influence.
The clinching moment appeared to arrive in the 50th minute when Ian Galvin’s goal chance cannoned off the crossbar only for Lee Chin to fire a rebound to the net at the other only seconds later for what seemed a decisive six point swing at 3-11 to 0-14.
However, despite not making any headway over the next 10 minutes, Clare refused to panic and when replacements Shanagher (1-2) and Shane Meehan (0-2) provided the spark, undoubted leaders such Tony Kelly and Shane O’Donnell completely flipped this knock-out tie on its head to send the Banner to Croke Park for the first time since 2018.
Scorers for Clare: Peter Duggan (0-5f); Aron Shanagher (1-2); Tony Kelly (0-4); Diarmuid Ryan (0-3); Ian Galvin, David Reidy, Shane Meehan, Shane O’Donnell (0-2 each); David Fitzgerald, Cathal Malone (0-1 each)
Scorers for Wexford: Lee Chin (1-8, 6f); Jack O’Connor, Mark Fanning (f) (1-0 each); Oisin Foley (0-2); Rory O’Connor, Diarmuid O’Keeffe, Damien Reck, Mikie Dwyer (0-1 each)
Clare: Eibhear Quilligan; Paul Flanagan, Conor Cleary, Rory Hayes; Diarmuid Ryan, John Conlon, David McInerney; Cathal Malone, Ryan Taylor; David Fitzgerald, Shane O’Donnell, Peter Duggan; Ian Galvin, Tony Kelly, David Reidy.
Subs: Cian Nolan for Hayes (8), Mark Rodgers for Reidy (53), Aron Shanagher for Fitzgerald (59), Shane Meehan for Galvin (61).
Wexford: Mark Fanning; Simon Donohoe, Shane Reck, Liam Ryan; Matthew O’Hanlon, Damien Reck, Paudie Foley; Conor Devitt, Liam Óg McGovern; Rory O’Connor, Jack O’Connor, Oisin Foley; Lee Chin, Conor McDonald, Diarmuid O’Keeffe.
Subs: Mikie Dwyer for R. O’Connor (14, inj), Kevin Foley for O’Keeffe (62), Connal Flood for McGovern (63), Charlie McGuckin for S. Reck (67, inj), Paul Morris for D. Reck (68).
Referee: Colm Lyons (Cork).