HL1A: Kelly stars as 14-man Banner end losing streak
14 March 2015
Clare’s David McInerney with Mark Schutte of Dublin.
Clare secured their first competitive win in almost a year, despite playing the entire second half with 14 men against Dublin in Ennis today.
Just 2,753 spectators were present to see Tony Kelly inspire the Banner to a long overdue victory which eases their relegation worries and the pressure on Davy Fitzgerald. The 2013 All-Ireland winning manager had come under fire over the circumstances which led to Davy O’Halloran and Nicky O’Connell’s departure from the panel, but his team responded impressively after Brendan Bugler received a straight red card on the stroke of half-time.
In a thrilling contest, goals at the end of each half from John Conlon and Kelly proved decisive as the hosts finished the stronger to claim a precious win.
The visitors, who made four changes to their starting line-up, fell two points behind in the early stages before a brace of David ‘Dotsy’ O’Callaghan points and a goal from Cian Boland propelled them into a 1-2 to 0-0 lead after five minutes.
Paul Ryan extended their advantage before Kelly (free) and Conlon replied for the Banner. Dublin grabbed the next three scores per Shane Barrett, Ryan and Colm Crummey to go five clear, 1-6 to 0-4.
Conlon and Danny Sutcliffe traded points, as did Kelly and Ryan, before two Liam Rushe minors kept the Metropolitans in the driving seat. The Banner got themselves back into it with a 33rd minute goal from Conlon, but had Bugler dismissed two minutes later.
Brendan Bugler is sent off by referee Cathal McAllister. ©INPHO/Donall Farmer.
Despite that setback, Tony Kelly added a free to leave just two points between the sides at the break, 1-12 to 1-10.
Dublin resumed with points from Mark Schutte (two) and Paul Ryan, and a goal from ‘Dotsy’ O’Callaghan, to lead by 2-15 to 1-13 after 46 minutes.
Kelly and Schutte exchanged points but then came the late Banner surge. Conor McGrath notched two points before Conlon levelled from a free in the 57th minute.
Tony Kelly had the home side in front on the hour mark before trading points with Ryan. Kelly continued his tour de force with a 66th minute goal to leave four in it, 2-21 to 2-17.
O’Callaghan and Rushe replied with points, but the Banner weren’t to be denied.