Fast Starting Clare Dump Leitrim Out Of Championship

Leitrim’s All-Ireland campaign came to an abrupt end in Avantcard Pairc Sean McDiarmada as Clare registered a 3-17 to 17 point victory.

Goals from Jamie Malone and Gary Brennan killed the game off before half-time, and there was no way back for Leitrim as Éimhín Courtney’s second half goal sealed the win.

Clare led 2-12 to six points at half-time, the game having turned in the 14th minute when Malone found the net after Clare had gone close.

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Gary Brennan finished into an open-goal in eight minutes later moving Clare 2-8 to 0-2 in front and the game already looked over as a contest.

Eoin Cleary and Domhnaill Flynn missed early frees but Malone tapped over a second-minute point, before Cleary and Brennnan added to the lead.

While Leitrim looked shaky at the back they fought their way back into the match. Flynn scored their first point in the 12th minute and Dean McGovern reduced the arrears to the minimum moments later.

But Cleary hit back for Clare and that was the start of a magnificent 2-5 blitz.

Flynn scored Leitrim’s third point in the 23rd minute but that was quickly cancelled out by Cleary up the other end.

Flynn and substitute Evan Sweeney tried to mount a comeback for Leitrim but Clare scored three of the remaining four points before half-time. Cleary’s fifth point of the day gave Clare a massive 12-point interval lead.

Sweeney scored the first point of the second half from a free but every time Leitrim built up some momentum they conceded a score, Cleary added his sixth point.

Shane Moran did score two fine points but Clare were never going to be caught and Courtney scored a killer third goal after a powerful run by Kieran Malone in the 55th minute.

Sweeney continued to fire scores but Clare turned their attentions to Round three while their opponents added a gloss to the final scoreline.

Leitrim: Cathal McCrann. Aidan Flynn, Micheal McWeeney, Conor Reynolds. Raymond Mulvey, Mark Plunkett, Paddy Maguire. Pearce Dolan, Shane Moran. Domhnaill Flynn, Seán McWeeney, Shane Quinn. Oisín McCaffrey, Dean McGovern, Ryan O’Rourke.

Subs: Evan Sweeney for O’Rourke (13), Oisín Madden for Reynolds (34), Jack Gilheaney for McCaffrey (half-time), Jack Heslin for Mulvey (half-time), Gary Plunkett for D McWeeney (50), Niall Brady for Flynn (74).

Scorers Evan Sweeney 0-5 (0-3f), Domhnaill Flynn 0-3 (0-2f), Dean McGovern 0-3, Shane Moran 0-3, Mark Plunkett 0-2 (0-1 45), Jack Heslin 0-1.

Clare: Stephen Ryan. Dean Ryan, Cillian Brennan, Gordon Kelly. Sean Collins, Aaron Fitzgerald, Conal Ó hÁiniféin. Seán O’Donoghue, Gary Brennan. Eoin Cleary, Cathal O’Connor, Jamie Malone. Gavin Cooney, David Tubridy, Cian O’Dea.

Subs: Kieran Malone for J Malone (48), Éimhín Courtney for Cooney (52), Gearóid O’Brien for O’Dea (54), Darragh Bohannon for O’Connor (58), Cormac Murray for Tubridy (63), Einne O’Connor for Kelly (66).

Scorers: Eoin Cleary 0-7 (0-3f), Gary Brennan 1-3, Jamie Malone 1-2, David Tubridy 0-5 (0-1f, 0-1 45), Éimhín Courtney 1-0.

Referee: Niall Cullen (Fermanagh)