Clara looked the livelier from the off and it would take some time before our boys settled into the game. Kilkenny Captain - Lester Ryan opened proceedings and Ciaran Prendergast doubled their early lead to two points inside the first two minutes of the game. A Mark Bergin free kept The St John’s Parish Boys in touch but Clara at this point seemed hungrier and were first to the ball more often than not. This period of dominance manifested itself on the scoreboard, as Clara rattled off five unanswered points before Mark Bergin once again tried to keep his team in touch with a converted free.
OLG were battling into a stiff breeze and began to gain some momentum of their own, when they raised three consecutive white flags to reduce the deficit to a three point single score. The pick of this brace was a strike on the turn from John Doyle, having been fed by brave Sammy Johnston – who had done the spade work. Clara responded straight away and struck a double - to once again, restore the five point gap. OLG then enjoyed their best period of the opening thirty by hitting four points on the spin. Mark Bergin started the sequence with another converted dead ball before Stephen Murphy left his net to strike a double of his own. Jack Nolan then hit the fourth on the back of some great work from Conor Bergin. Clara’s Conor Phelan converted a sixty-five two minutes into injury time to bring the opening thirty to a close.
H/T: O’Loughlin Gaels 0-09, Clara 0-11
Mark Bergin was on hand yet again to narrow the gap to the narrowest of margins early in the second half, before Clara demonstrated to all, the reason they are County Champions. A devastating two minutes would see Ciaran Prendergast and Chris Bolger rattle off a goal and a point that would prove decisive to the outcome of the game. At this juncture, O’Loughlins sensed the impending danger and began to battle bravely. Mark Bergin converted three more frees. Sammy Johnston was rewarded for his efforts with a great score and followed it up with a superb block, that resulted in Paddy Cantwell picking up the spoils and firing thar an trasnan. Mark Kelly, who had worked hard all evening for little reward struck a wonder point from the wing with four minutes to go, to once again reduce the deficit to a single point. But that was to prove to be the last score of the game and Clara managed to hang on for a much needed two league points.
F/T O’Loughlin Gaels 0-17, Clara 1-15
Stephen Murphy (0-2 – 2f’s), Huw Lawlor, Paddy Deegan, Eddie Kearns, Andy Kearns, Brian Hogan, Paddy Cantwell (0-1), Mark Bergin (0-10 – 8f’s, 1 65), Davy Burke, Sammy Johnston (0-1), Conor Bergin, Jack Nolan (0-1), John Doyle (0-1), Mark Kelly (0-1), Danny Loughnane Subs used: Sheamie Cummins, Alan Geoghegan