Kildare Neil Flynn breaks through the Clare defense cover to open the scoring with a point from play during the National Football League Division 2 South. Picture: Sean Brilly
Kildare suffered a set-back in their drive for promotion as they fell to a three point defeat at the hands of Clare in the Allianz Football League Division 2 South, clash at St Conleth's Park on Sunday afternoon.
What it all means now is Kildare must defeat Laois in Portlaoise next Sunday and hope that the other game goes in their favour, ideally Clare beating Cork in Ennis.
Kevin Feely and Aaron Masterson lined up for the throw-in and it took the home side just 43 seconds to open their account when Neil Flynn fired over, without a Clare hand being laid on the ball.
A foul on Keelan Sexton saw David Turbridy open his account and soon after the visitors were in front when Gavin Cooney raised another white flag.
Jimmy Hyland showed he was in the zone when firing over after making space for himself and by the seventh minute Neil Flynn had Kildare with their noses in front from a free after a foul on Darragh Kirwan.
Mick O'Grady got in a great tackle to break up a Clare attack and from that Jimmy Hyland gained possession, twisted and turned before firing and over and when Neil Flynn hit an excellent point Kildare led by three 0-5 to 0-2 with 14 minutes on the clock.
Darragh Bohannon kept The Banner in touch before another foul on Kirwan saw Flynn (Neil) convert as we reached the first water break.
A brilliant run down the right hand wing by Kevin Flynn into the town goal and a mighty cross-field ball was gathered by Jimmy Hyland, who still had a bit of work to do but he made enough space for himself before firing over and Kildare were four to the good and looking well in control.
Clare were coming a bit more into and while they held on to possession, with somewhere in the region of 50-plus passes finally ending with an effort being deflected by a Kildare defender for a 45 which came down just under the crossbar and Mark Donnellan dealt with it comfortably.
A David Tubridy free reduced the deficit to three as the half time whistle arrived, Kildare leading 0-7 to 0-4.
Despite playing impressively for the first 15-20 minutes or so, Kildare's scoring rate had dried up considerably in the latter part of that half and in fact failed to score from the 21 minute up to half time and with a stiffish wind in Clare's favour for the second half, there had to be some concern in the Kildare camp
Clare showed their intent with a long range effort from the restart just inching wide of the left hand post.
Luke Flynn disspossed a Clare player brilliantly before Fergal Conway, a half time substitute along with Con Kavanagh, saw his effort fall short. Darragh Kirwan who was well marked throughout, finally got a bit of space for himself and The Lilies led by four again.
Eoin Cleary, playing at centre forward fired over from distance to reduce the deficit but Kevin Feely replied instantly to leave four between them once again, 43 minutes on the clock.
At this stage Kildare were dealt a big blow when Eoin Doyle was forced off injured, the Naas man had kept Cleary quiet up to that point but the St Joseph's Milltown Malbay man was to put a real stamp on the game from here on.
He reduced the leeway on 46 minutes with an excellent 45 but Kildare again put four between them, this time Kevin Feely, after a great catch, was then o on hand to fire over.
Cleary converted a free before disaster struck for the home side.
Cathal O'Connor looked to be seeking a point but the ball dipped behind Mick O'Grady and into the hands of substitute Joe McGann who fired to the net to level up matters.
Just before the water break Clare were in front for the first time since the third minute, that man Cleary firing over as we reached the second water break.
David Tubridy pointed a brilliant left footed effort to increase the lead to two and when Cleary added a long ranger The Lilies looked in big trouble, trailing by three with 60 minutes on the clock.
Substitute Shane O'Sullivan made an instant impact with his first effort going over; Jimmy Hyland quickly added another and there was just one separating the sides on 62.
Emmet McMahon and Shane O'Sullivan exchanged points and with just three minutes remaining a point was the difference.
However two more points from frees from Eoin Cleary saw Clare go three up and despite the referee playing six minutes of time added on Clare held on to win 1-13 to 0-13.
Scorers: Kildare, Neil Flynn 0-4 (2 frees), Jimmy Hyland 0-4 (1 mark); Kevin Feely 0-2, Shane O'Sullivan 0-2, Darragh Kirwan 0-1.
Clare: Eoin Cleary 0-7 (4 frees, 45), Gavin McGann 1-0, David Turbridy 0-3 (2 frees), Darragh Bohannon 0-1, Gavin Cooney 0-1, Emmet McMahon 0-1.
Kildare: Mark Donnellan; Mark Dempsey, Mick O'Grady cpt, Eoin Doyle; Kevin Flynn, Shea Ryan, Ryan Houlihan; Luke Flynn, Aaron Masterson; Alex Beirne, Neil Flynn, Paul Cribbin; Jimmy Hyland, Kevin Feely, Darragh Kirwan. Subs: Fergal Conway for Alex Beirne (half time); Con Kavanagh for Shea Ryan (half time); Darragh Malone for Eoin Doyle (43 minutes); Paddy Brophy for Aaron Masterson (54 minutes); Shane O'Sullivan for Darragh Kirwan (60 minutes); Brian McLoughlin for Paul Cribbin (70 minutes).
Clare: Stephen Ryan; Ciaran Russell, Cillian Brennan, Eoghan Collins; Cian O'Dea, Sean Collins, Daniel Walsh; Darren O'Neill, Cathal O'Connor; Pearse Lillis, Eoin Cleary, Darragh Bohannon; Gavin Cooney, David Tubridy, Keelan Sexton. Subs: Joe McGann for Keelan Sexton (44 minutes); Emmet McMahon for Eoghan Collins (50 minutes); Alan Sweeney for Daniel Walsh (60 minutes); Kevin Hartnett for Eoghan Collins (65 minutes); Aaron Griffin for Gavin Cooney (65 minutes); Dale Masterson for Pearse Lillis (70 minutes); Cormac Murray for Darren O'Neill (70 minutes).
Referee Fergal Kelly, Longford
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