Clare narrowly beat Kilkenny in Allianz league opener

Cusack Park, Ennis. (Sharon Murphy)
Cusack Park, Ennis (Sharon Murphy)
Cusack Park, Ennis
(Sharon Murphy)

And we’re off!

The Allianz Hurling League 2014 started with a bang last weekend as Division 1A saw some of the biggest names take to the field.

The biggest match of the weekend was between the defending champions, Clare, and Kilkenny in Cusack Park in Ennis where the banner boys sailed past the cats with a 1 point victory.

Despite a loss at the Waterford Crystal Cup against Tipperary, Clare finished on Sunday as they started. Colin Ryan was crucial to their win and played meticulously throughout the match with his immaculate free-taking skills and not to mention, a well-deserved goal in the first 15 minutes of play.

However, the king himself, Mr Henry Shefflin, once again proved that there is life in the old dog yet!

Shefflin was the leading man for Kilkenny, as showcased in the Walsh cup final against Dublin. Throughout that match, he was a crucial instigator of many passes to the Clare goal box where Walter Walsh and Jonjoe Farrell tried to beat off the Clare defenders. However, Seadna Morey, Cian Dillon and David McInerney prevented many opportunities for the cats and in particular, goalie Donal Tuohy who made two great saves throughout the match, including a penalty from Shefflin at the beginning of the second half.

Shefflin’s flawless free taking helped to ensure that Kilkenny were able to compete with the 2013 All-Ireland Champions and the Cats found themselves 1 point ahead of Davy Fitz’s boys at the 60 minute mark. Himself and Brendan Bugler were comical to watch as they were almost at war at certain stages of the match and the crowd could definitely feel the tension growing.

The highlight of the match was without a doubt Henry Shefflin displaying his sheer anger at Brendan Bugler’s celebratory hop, every-time Clare were given a free. Shefflin decided to give his own rendition of Bugler’s hop and Cusack Park erupted with chants and cheers from spectators.

Riverdance, if you’re hiring, please give this man a call!

Final score at full time: Clare 1-16, Kilkenny 0-18.

Clare will next meet Dublin on Sunday in Parnell Park, while Kilkenny are set to play Tipperary at Nowlan Park.

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