Clare · GAA · Hurling

O’Connell Saves Clonlara’s Bacon

Clonlara and Ballyea will have to do it all again in two weeks’ time to determine the Clare Senior Hurling Championship. As the two teams played out a nail-biting draw at Cusack Park in Ennis.

Clonlara opened the scoring in the second minute through John Conlon before Ballyea responded five minutes later through Kelly.

Kelly then added two quick fire points as both sides exchanged points throughout the half. Nick and Cathal 0’Connell were keeping Clonlara within touching distance before Darach Honan levelled things up at last in the 23rd minute.

Five minutes went by with no score added to the scoreboard for either side before Kelly put Ballyea up by one but that was quickly cancelled out by a James Hastings point for Clonlara.

The first goal of the game came courtesy of Colm Gavin in injury time in the first half who provided a good finish to put Clonlara three points up at halftime.

In the second half Kelly continued his form from the first half and got the first score of the second half, as Ballyea looked to close the gap between the two sides.

Clonlara were not content with sitting back and let Ballyea try and find a route back into the match, and increased their lead through John Conlon, Gavin and Horan.

Fortunately for Ballyea Kelly was on a mission to salvage something for his side aided with the help of Martin O’Leary.

Ballyea’s hard work to get back into the match was rewarded when O’Leary expertly waltzed through the Clonlara defence to bury the ball in the Clonlara net with a calm cool finish.

Kelly then put Ballyea in front with just minutes on the clock remaining, before Cathal O’Connell levelled things up once again.

Deep into injury time Kelly hit a monstrous shot that sailed over the bar to the delight of Ballyeas’s fans with only a few seconds on to go. Delight then turned into despair as O’Connell was given time and space to slot the sliotar over the bar as Clonlara remarkably managed to salvage something from the match as it finished 1-11 to 1-11.  Leaving the games top scorer Kelly and Ballyea sickened to the core.

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