25 Jul 2009 - GAA - SHC Relegation semi: Clare hold off Wexford

Diarmuid Lyng may have been the chief marksman with 1-11 but he carried a heavy burden throughout this game, as a more eager Banner side lifted their game when it mattered most in the second half to hold out for victory.

The dismissal of centre-half-back Bugler following a straight red card in the 67th minute didn't deter Clare who held out until the end.

After last night's DRA decision ensured Clare, Wexford, Offaly and Antrim would have to fulfil their relegation play-off fixtures, this game certainly didn't lack bite, with the intensity growing as the game progressed.

Diarmuid Lyng bagged 1-11 for Wexford but despite the efforts of the Slaneysider's skipper he finished on the losing side.

Wexford led by four points nine minutes into the second half, after goalkeeper Damien Fitzhenry despatched a rasping penalty shot past Clare netminder Philip Brennan.

But Clare weren't to give up by any means as second half goals from Mark Flaherty and Niall Gilligan pave the way for a Banner victory

The sides were level on four occasions inside the opening 11 minutes, but Wexford showed the greater initiative and were fully deserving of their 0-11 to 0-09 half-time lead.

Lyng converted seven of Wexford's first half points with David Redmond and Rory Jacob also on target.

Bonnar's charges dominated midfield early on, but dogged Clare kept in touch thanks to the freetaking abilities of Gilligan.

Scores also from Tony Griffin and Barry Nugent ensured Clare trailed by the minimum on a 0-07 to 0-06 score-line at the end of the opening quarter.

This game was again firmly in the balance over the second quarter, with Lyng's accuracy from frees
ensuring a two-point interval advantage.

The intensity levels were increased on the restart with a goal flurry ensuring an entertaining finish.

Clare edged within a point of the lead seven minutes after the restart following a Jonathan Clancy brace and Gilligan's fourth point.

Indeed it was Wexford who began brightest with points from Lyng and Stephen Doyle and it despite Clare's efforts a 44th minute Damien Fitzhenry penalty goal ensured Wexford held command.

Wexford were granted the penalty by referee James McGrath after the inrushing Rory Jacob was dragged down by Clare full-back James McInerney.

However Clare were strongest in the final quarter and quickly gained control.

Points from Gilligan and half-time substitute Mark Flaherty cut the gap to the minimum, before Flaherty dispatched his sides first goal of the game.

Clare ran in spades at the Wexford defence and were rewarded for their efforts when midfielder Tony Griffin latched the ball forward to Flaherty who crashed the ball to the net.

This three-pointer ensured Clare led for the first time since the second minute, by 1-14 to 1-13.

Although Lyng notched his ninth point to level the tie with 23 minutes remaining, a Diarmuid McMahon point soon-after ensured Clare held the lead until the finish.

Wexford kept in touch thanks to the efforts of Lyng and substitute Jim Berry, but Clare were given the extra boost they needed with Gilligan slotting a 55th minute penalty to the back of the Wexford net.

From then on Clare failed to look back, although Lyng did bag a second goal for a determined Wexford with six minutes remaining.

Despite the loss of centre-half-back Brendan Bugler to a straight red card late on to ensure Liam McCarthy Cup status for next year

Scorers for Clare:N Gilligan (1-0pen, 7f, 1 65) 1-10; B Nugent, J Clancy 0-4 each; M Flaherty 1-0; D McMahon, A Markham (2f) 0-2 each; T Griffin, P Vaughan (1f) 0-1 each.

Scorers for Wexford: D Lyng (9f) 1-11; D Fitzhenry (1-0pen) 1-0; D Redmond, S Doyle, J Berry, PJ Nolan, R Jacob, W Doran, H Kehoe 0-1 each.
Clare - P Brennan; C Cooney, J McInerney, C McMahon; P Donlon, B Bugler, G O'Connor; P Vaughan, T Griffin; T Carmody, D Barrett, J Clancy; N Gilligan, D McMahon, B Nugent. Subs: M Flaherty for Barrett (26); A Markham for Carmody (48); C McNamara for McMahon (70); M Murphy for Vaughan (62)

Wexford - D Fitzhenry; M Travers, P Roche, B Hobbs; D Stamp, R Kehoe, C Kenny; PJ Nolan, D Lyng; H Kehoe, W Doran, S Doyle; D Redmond, S Banville, R Jacob. Subs: J Berry for Banville (HT); M Jacob for Doyle (58); P Atkinson for R Jacob (58); J Tonks for Hobbs (69 )

Ref - James McGrath (Westmeath