Martin Comerford found Danny Loughnane in the first minute, who struck sweetly for the opening score of the game, with only seconds on the clock. Clara’s Liam Ryan then lobbed a speculative ball which freakishly found the OLG net, in what would be an omen of things to come. Gorta was in the thick of the action once again and broke ball into the path of Mark Bergin, who duly dissected the posts. The Continent were beginning to get on top at this point and rattled off five unanswered points – two from Mark Bergin and one each from Martin Comerford, Mark Kelly and Conor Bergin.
But disaster was to strike again – this time on the stroke of the half-time whistle. A short puck out led to a defensive mix-up which Clara punished with a second three pointer. The teams left the field of play on level terms – hardly a fair reflection of the balance of play.
H/T O’Loughlin Gaels 0-09, Clara 2-03
The second half saw the introduction of Davy Burke but it was Clara who dominated the opening quarter of the second thirty. What their swarm defensive system lacked in aesthetic beauty; it more than made up for – in brute force effectiveness. Our boys seemed to convince themselves they needed goals to get back in the game. Time and time again, they ran into maroon traffic patrolling the Clara half of the pitch. When the goals did finally come (a Stephen Murphy 21 yard pile-driver & a Mark Kelly goalmouth scramble) they unfortunately proved – too little, too late.
F/T O’Loughlin Gaels 2-12, Clara 2-14
Stephen Murphy 1-0 (f), Anthony Forristal, Eoghan Grant, Eddie Kearns, Paddy Butler, Brian Hogan, Niall Bergin, Paddy Deegan 0-1, Mark Bergin 0-4 (3 f’s), Martin Comerford 0-1, Jack Nolan, Sammy Johnston 0-1, Conor Bergin 0-1, Mark Kelly 1-3, Danny Loughnane 0-1