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Dream start by Clare thwarts Down

Clare 2-11 Down 0-11

By Pauric McGurn

A strong first half performance at the end of which they led by 10 points laid the foundations for Clare's merited win over Down in round two of the Allianz football league division two at Cusack Park.

Biting cold conditions and a difficult wind made matters difficult for the players on a day when Clare dominated the first half exchanges and would not have been flattered by an even greater lead at the half-time interval.

The home side got off to a dream start with a goal as early as the second minute, with teenager Keelan Sexton applying the finish, and he then quickly added a point.

The match was in the ninth minute before Aidan Carr opened Down's account on a day when what was mainly a crossfield wind, favoured the home side in the first half.

Clare also finished the half strongly, and David Tubridy claimed their second goal in injury time seconds after he had pointed with the goal at his mercy.

This left the half-time score at 2-7 to 0-3.

Down introduced Darragh O'Hanlon and Conor Maginn at half time in place of Conail McGovern and Alan Davidson but it was Clare who dictated the early exchanges in this half landing the first three points in a tie played in front of 1,749 noisy spectators.

From here on, however, Clare did not enjoy the same dominance as the Mournemen, helped by further changes with the introduction of Kevin McKernan, Ryan and Jerome Johnston and Peter Turley, came more into the game.

However, they failed to create any goal chance as the Clare defence in which Martin McMahon and Kevin Harnett were prominent dominated.

"It was a very disappointing result for us after a strong second half showing but we just could not get in to get the goal that we needed," Down manager Eamonn Burns admitted afterwards.

"We gave away a goal at the start of the first half and then gave away another at the end of the half which gave them a very strong cushion going in at half time and left us with quite a bit to do in the second.

"Clare kept and controlled the ball quite well in the second half. We have guys who are coming back from injury and we weren't going to get a full game out of them.

"We thought that the team that lined out was strong and was capable of doing the job for us".

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