Hurling & Camogie

Allianz NHL Division One round-up: Clare win puts them in pole position

Wexford claimed their first win, as Clare, Cork and Limerick also bagged two points.

Kilkenny manager Derek Lyng
Down but not out: Kilkenny manager Derek Lyng was on the losing side against Clare.

Clare exacted some level of revenge for back-to-back All-Ireland semi-final defeats to Kilkenny, as they repelled a late surge to come out 0-19 to 0-16 winners on Sunday.

David Fitzgerald was simply imperious for the hosts, striking 0-5, all of which came from play.

Having levelled proceedings with just five minutes to play courtesy of a John Donnelly effort, Derek Lyng’s men will be frustrated to have conceded the match’s final three scores, particularly as they had a 33% conversion rate from play (7 scores from 21 shots).

The result sees the sides trade positions in the league table, with Clare away to Offaly next weekend.

The Banner will fancy that one based off this weekend’s results, as Offaly tailed off badly after a steady opening quarter against Cork.

There were just two points between the sides 17 minutes in, but when full-forward Alan Connolly grabbed Cork’s first goal, he and Pat Ryan’s side never looked back.

Darragh Fitzgibbon scored a crucial goal for Cork against Kilkenny at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday night Picture by Seamus Loughran
Back in action: Darragh Fitzgibbon returned for Cork against Offaly at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday. Picture by Seamus Loughran

Connolly went on to rack up a dream tally of 3-1, as nine of Cork’s starting team got on the scoresheet.

Their bench also contributed a neat 2-6 of their massive 5-28 haul, with the returning Darragh Fitzgibbon making it look like he was never away, scoring 1-1 during his 25 minute cameo.

It was a much needed result to back up a win over Waterford, with The Rebels looking back on track after losing their opening two matches.

In Division One’s other group, Galway pulled away from a resilient Dublin to secure an eight-point victory against former manager Micháel Donoghue.

Conor Whelan would like to see the All-Ireland finals played in early August rather than late July
Suspended: Conor Whelan, barring an appeal, will play no part against Limerick next weekend.

The Tribesmen finished with 12 men, although Conor Whelan and Daithí Burke were fortunate enough that their early bath wasn’t quite early enough for Dublin to turn the tide.

They will be more concerned with Ronan Hayes 53rd minute red, one which came shorty after Jack Grealish’s, with the game level at 1-14 apiece.

Dublin went 22 minutes without scoring, as Conor Cooney rifled over seven frees in the same period.

Having received straight reds, Burke and Whelan will now be absent for Henry Shefflin’s men as they face the unenviable task of taking down Limerick in a Salthill double-header next weekend, one which sees the footballers pitted against fellow All-Ireland champions Dublin.

Wexford also earned the bragging rights over a former manager, as they earned their first league win over Davy Fitzgerald’s Waterford.

Having drawn their first three matches, a goal from the Déise’s Pádraig Fitzgerald goal surely had the statisticians scrolling through the record books, before Jamie Barron reduced the Wexford lead to two.

7/6/2015.....Waterfords jamie barron     ................................pic seamus loughran
Stalwart: Waterford's Jamie Barron in action back in 2015. (Pic: Séamus Loughran)

But a ‘65 from Callum Lyons tailed off right and wide, as Corey Byrne-Dunbar’s free closed out a 2-23 1-23 win at the other end.

That was Dunbar’s second in his 11 minute spell on the pitch, while Séamus Casey continued his strong form as he hit Fitzgerald’s men for 0-9.

In the end, it was wing-back Simon Donohoe’s goal that was pivotal, with Wexford now sitting just two points off the top of the table, level on points with Kilkenny.