Clara get past St Laurence's

Clara (Offaly) 1-12 St Laurence's (Kildare) 2-8

Taoiseach Brian Cowen watched his native Clara hold St. Laurence's to just one second-half point as they secured a 1-12 to 2-8 AIB Leinster Club SFC first round victory in Newbridge this afternoon.

In front of a large attendance, the 'Larries' blazed an early trail with two goals inside the opening six minutes from Barry Mackey and John Fogarty.

Indeed, the newly-crowned Kildare champions were in superb form in the first half as Clara stuggled to keep pace.

Offaly senior forwards Thomas Deehan and John Reynolds were not dominating for Clara as much as they would have hoped.

Ronan Lawlor and Fogarty were in superb form for Mick Lillis' charges in the first half as Laurence's opened up a 2-7 into 0-5 interval lead.

However, Clara showed great fighting spirit and were unlucky not to break through for a goal in the 27th minute. John O'Brien was left unmarked but the ball failed to reach him and Laurence's survived.

Into the second period, Laurence's had an early goal chance for Kildare senior star Padraig O'Neill, however his effort came back off the woodwork.

Spurred on by manager Pat Flanagan's half-time words, Clara pushed hard for scores and were eventually rewarded when Eoin Brady bagged a vital goal, following a Thomas Deehan pass.

Clara trailed by three points on a 2-7 to 1-7 score-line at this stage but kept up the momentum.

Points from Deehan and Reynolds cut the gap to the minimum, before Laurence's got their only score of the second half from Mackey.

In the end though, Clara showed the greater hunger and two late points from Reynolds ensured a spot for the Offaly champions in the last-eight.

Laurence's woes were compounded by the dismissal of Thomas Doyle for his second yellow card.

Clara will move on to face Carlow champions Rathvilly in an AIB Leinster Club Championship quarter-final meeting in Tullamore on November 8.

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