Clare League keep hold of Oscar Traynor Trophy
In a clash of the champions from the last two years the result was in doubt to the final whistle where the large crowd were kept on the edge of their seats as both sides gave it everything to the end.
Clare started well and the first chance of the game fell to David McCarthy on 20 minutes after a good run from Eoin Hayes created the opening but his well struck effort was blocked by good defending from Michael Byrne. Eoin O’Brien was next to go close for Clare after getting on the end of a Paddy O’Malley free kick but this time Kevin McLaughlin made the save. Inishowen had their first chance of the game on 30 minutes when Stephen Kelly was dispossessed and Terence Doherty hit a great strike from 20 yards that Barry Ryan did well to get down low to save.
Clare had a good shout for a penalty waved away on 32 minutes when Kelly got on the end of a free kick from McCarthy but as he was about to shoot he went down in the box but referee Paul Duddy waved play on. Clare had another shout for a penalty waved away on 35 minutes when a free kick from Paddy O’Malley deflected off the hand of a defender and out for a corner. Clare had a good chance to go in front on 39 minutes when another good delivery from O’Malley was headed over by Kelly.
The final chance of the first half fell to Niall Whelan who got on the end of a good cross from Eoin O’Brien but his well struck header was saved by McLaughlin as the sides went in 0-0 at the break.
Clare took a deserved lead on 48 minutes when a great run from David McCarthy created an opening for Eoin Hayes who turned well in the box before firing low to the corner. Inishowen came more into the game after Clare scored and Conor Mullen had to be sharp at the back post to stop Brendan McLaughlin getting a shot on goal on 52 minutes. A well struck effort from Terence Doherty from the edge of the box was well saved by Barry Ryan on 54 minutes.
Ryan pulled off a brilliant save on 60 minutes to keep out an effort from Brendan McLaughlin that looked destined for the top corner. Clare had a great chance to put put the game to bed on 62 minutes when good play from McCarthy created a chance for O’Malley but his well struck effort was well saved by Kevin McLaughlin. More good play from McCarthy on 71 minutes created a chance for substitute Eoin Whelan but his effort was deflected wide of the goal. Inishowen pushed more players forward in search of an equalizer which created space at the other end for Clare as the game really opened up for the last 20 minutes.
Daragh Corry who was excellent throughout the 90 minutes did well to stop Matthew Henry getting a shot on goal on 79 minutes while Barry Ryan showed a safe pair of hands to cut out a good delivery from Terence Doherty on 81 minutes. A good break from Clare on 86 minutes saw Tommy McKeown link up with Joe Collins whose well struck effort was saved by Kevin McLaughlin and Eoin Whelan’s effort from the rebound went over the crossbar. Good play from Inishowen on 89 minutes created the best chance of the match for the home side but Matthew Henry effort hit the post and Brendan McLaughlin was off target with the rebound.
Clare defended well for the six minutes of injury time as Inishowen kept the pressure on to the end and when referee Paul Duddy blew the full time whistle the Banner county celebrated another great year for Clare soccer.
Inishowen: Kevin McLaughlin, Michael Barr, Matthew Byrne, Michael Byrne, John Gerard McLaughlin, Shane Canning (Matthew Henry 65), Anthony Doherty (Sean Doherty 87), Dillon Ruddy, Terence Doherty, Brendan McLaughlin, Nigel McMonagle (Ferghal Harkin 87).
Clare League: Barry Ryan, Conor Mullen, Eoin O’Brien, Stephen Kelly, Daragh Corry, Niall Whelan, Colin Smyth (Ian Collins h-t), Colin Ryan (Joe Collins 83), Eoin Hayes, David McCarthy (Tommy McKeown 80), Paddy O’Malley (Eoin Whelan 65).