EIGHT PLAYERS FOUND the target for Galway as they continued their perfect start to their Division Two campaign with a fifth win in succession at a wet Tuam Stadium.
The scoring was low but it was an intriguing first half where it was level 1-2 to 1-2 at the break, with Cillian Rouine and Robert Finnerty trading goals.
The swirling breeze favoured Clare but they failed to make full use of it and then in the second-half Galway opened up with Damien Comer pouncing for a crucial goal seven minutes after the restart.
Worryingly for Galway manager Pádraic Joyce, Shane Walsh limped off in the third quarter but his team had enough in the tank to keep up their perfect form.
Clare got a dream start and it was the unlikely figure of Rouine who popped up to shoot to the net after less than three minutes.
Aaron Griffin linked with Keelan Sexton and he set up the roaming corner-back, who finished off the post and into the Galway net.
That was the only score for the opening ten minutes, Galway were pegged back deep in their own territory but on one of the rare occasions when they did get a chance to venture forward Johnny Heaney finally got their first score in the tenth minute.
That was cancelled out by a fantastic Eoin Cleary effort from distance moments later.
Galway were unlucky not to have a goal of their own in the 13th minute when Comer rose high to fist a Dylan McHugh long delivery just over the bar. If that showed a glimpse of what Galway were capable of the next score was pure class.
Shane Walsh won possession and drove forward down the right wing, he spotted Finnerty’s smart movement inside and gave a pinpoint pass, with the Salthill/Knocknacarra clubman finishing into the bottom corner past Tristan O Callaghan.
Finnerty shot Galway’s first wide in the 19th minute and four minutes later he was shown a black card after being penalised for a trip on Manus Doherty.
Clare, who shot five wides to Galway’s four in the opening half, only managed one point with the extra man with Cleary pointing a free five minutes from the break to send them in level at 1-2 apiece at the interval.
David Tubridy scored from a mark on the resumption but Kieran Molloy responded in style for Galway. Jack Glynn took a quick mark to set up McHugh for Galway’s next point and then from the resumption Johnny Heaney got a hand to a short kickout from goalkeeper Tristan O’Callaghan to set Comer up for a goal which set Galway on their way to victory.
Heaney, Paul Conroy and Matthew Tierney made it 1-5 without reply and it wasn’t until the 59th minute when Sexton finally hit back from a Clare free.
Dessie Conneely and Jamie Malone exchanged points as Galway continued their drive to get back to the top flight at the first time of asking.
Scorers for Galway: Damien Comer 1-1, Robert Finnerty 1-0, Johnny Heaney 0-2, Kieran Molloy 0-1, Dylan McHugh 0-1, Paul Conroy 0-1, Matthew Tierney 0-1, Dessie Connelly 0-1.
Scorers for Clare: Cillian Rouine 1-0, Eoin Cleary 0-2 (0-1f), David Tubridy 0-1 (0-1m), Keelan Sexton 0-1 (0-1f), Jamie Malone 0-1.
1. Conor Flaherty (Claregalway)
17. Jack Glynn (Claregalway) 4. Liam Silke (Corofin) 2. Kieran Molloy (Corofin)
5. Dylan McHugh (Corofin) 6. John Daly (Mountbellew/Moylough) 7. Cillian McDaid (Monivea/Abbeyknockmoy)
9. Paul Conroy (St James’) 10. Matthew Tierney (Oughterard)
8. Paul Kelly (Moycullen) 14. Damien Comer (Annaghdown) 12. Johnny Heaney (Killannin)
15. Owen Gallagher (Moycullen) 13. Robert Finnerty (Salthill/Knocknacarra) 11. Shane Walsh (Kilkerrin/Clonberne)
22. Finnian Ó Laoí (An Spidéal) for Gallagher (46)
26. Eoin Finnerty (Mountbellew/Moylough) for Walsh (48)
24. Dessie Conneely (Moycullen) for R Finnerty (54)
23. Dylan Canney (Corofin) for Comer (63)
21. Niall Daly (Kilconly) for Kelly (67).
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16. Tristan O Callaghan (St Breckans)
4. Cillian Rouine (Ennistymon), 2. Manus Doherty (Éire Óg), 3. Cillian Brennan (Clondegod)
5. Eoghan Collins (Ballyhaunis), 6. Cian O’Dea (Kilfenora), 7. Alan Sweeney (St Breckan’s)
8. Ciarán Russell (Éire Óg), 9. Darren O’Neill (Éire Óg)
10. Podge Collins (Cratloe), 11.Eoin Cleary (St Joseph’s Milltown), 12. Aaron Griffin (Lissycasey)
13. Jamie Malone (Corofin), 14. Keelan Sexton (Kilmurry Ibrickane), 15. David Tubridy (Doonbeg)
23. Emmet McMahon (St Breckan’s) for P Collins (7)
22. Joe McGann (St Breckan’s) for Sweeney (34)
17. Gavin Cooney (Éire Óg) for Tubridy (62)
19. Conor Jordan (Austin Stacks) for Rouine (62)
26. Daniel Walsh (Kilmurry Ibrickane) for Griffin (62).
Referee: Conor Lane (Cork).