Hurling & Camogie

Clare pull away from Wexford to secure All-Ireland semi-final spot

Kilkenny will be the Banner’s opponents in the last four for the third year in a row

Clare v Wexford
Conor Hearne of Wexford is tackled by David Fitzgerald and Peter Duggan of Clare during the All-Ireland quarter-final at FBD Semple Stadium in Thurles. Picture: Ray McManus/Sportsfile (Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE/SPORTSFILE)

All-Ireland SHC quarter-final

Clare 2-28 Wexford 1-19

FOR the third year in succession, Clare made light work of Leinster opposition in an All-Ireland quarter-final on Saturday afternoon.

This is the third year in succession that they lost out in a Munster decider to Limerick, and the third year in a row that their opposition in the last four will be Kilkenny.

The only difference in 2024 was that they came into this fixture on the back of a comprehensive defeat to their neighbours and All-Ireland champions, as opposed to a heart-breaking one.

Wexford didn’t see any change. Brian Lohan’s side started strongly and then turned on the gas in the second half, punishing the 14 men of the Model county with a 2-13 to 0-7 run in the final half hour.

“It’s been tough (bouncing back), but Limerick are an excellent team” said the Banner boss.

“We go out every day trying to beat them and we don’t come away the right side of it most times. I wouldn’t have read much into any of the stuff that had been said about ‘it was a particular difficult defeat’. It was a defeat, all of them are difficult”.

On paper, this was a superb result against a Wexford side that came into this game in a rich vein of form, smarting on the back of a controversial defeat to Kilkenny that cost them a place in the Leinster final, and most likely a provincial title.

In reality, it all hinged on the dismissal of Rory O’Connor just before half-time. O’Connor could have little qualms with the yellow card for his late chop down on David Reidy, but his first yellow, given for a high tackle on the same man, was a different story.

“I am not on for lads getting hit in the head in any regards, I’d be in favour of yellow cards for that, but when you go in to give a tackle and a lad side-steps you and you catch him around the shoulder 15 seconds into a match, that’s a warning” said Wexford manager Keith Rossiter.

“Little things like that cost us all year. You go into the Kilkenny game, the last game of the (Leinster) Championship and a penalty being awarded (for a foul) two or three yards outside of the box.

“Then today, that first yellow card. I don’t know who is up there looking down on us not giving us the bit of luck but those are hard decisions to get over. I will have a couple of sleepless nights thinking about those.”.

When he does look back on this game, Rossiter will no doubt acknowledge that for the majority of it, his team were second best.

Tony Kelly was imperious in the first half, Ian Galvin came off the bench to fire 1-1 in the second, and throughout, Shane O’Donnell made another strong argument to be hurler of the year, adding a goal to a simply magical all-round performance.

It was only for a little under 10 minutes that Wexford went from 0-12 to 0-5 behind to level, their goal coming from a Lee Chin penalty that also saw David McInerney black-carded.

Two outstanding Conor Foley points tied it up, and it was still level when McInerney came back on the field early in the second half.

From then on? Clare were devastating.

“We made the mistake two years ago thinking that the carrot was Limerick, when the carrot was getting to the Croke Park game against Kilkenny. This year, we will be completely zeroed in on the game, that’s all we’ll be focused on” said Lohan.

The Cats have been warned.

Clare E Quilligan; A Hogan, C Cleary, C Leen (0-1); D McInerney, D Ryan (0-2), J Conlon; C Malone, T Kelly (0-6, 0-1f); D Fitzgerald (0-2), S O’Donnell (1-4), P Duggan; M Rodgers (0-6f), D Reidy (0-3), A Shanagher (0-1).

Subs I Galvin (1-1) for Duggan (46), P Crotty for Fitzgerald (56), C Galvin for Conlon (59), S Meehan (0-1) for Shanagher (61), A McCarthy (0-1, 65) for Rodgers (67).

Wides 12

Black cards McInerney (29)

Wexford M Fanning (0-1f); M O’Hanlon, S Reck, E Ryan; C Foley (0-3, 0-1 sideline), D Reck, S Donohoe; C Hearne (0-1), L Óg McGovern; C McGuckin, R Lawlor, R O’Connor (0-2); C Byrne (0-2), L Chin (1-6, 1-0 pen, 0-5f), C McDonald (0-1).

Subs C Dunbar (0-1) for McGovern (44), K Foley (0-1) for McGuckin (46), C Byrne Dunbar for Byrne (56), D Carley for Lawlor (68), S Casey (0-1) for McDonald (68)

Yellow cards O’Connor (1&32), McGovern (41), Foley (57).

Red cards O’Connor (32).

Referee Johnny Murphy (Limerick)