The Tony Kelly show in the storm as forgotten man Shanagher shows his worth 8 months ago

The Tony Kelly show in the storm as forgotten man Shanagher shows his worth

Clare 0-17 Laois 0-9

The Tony Kelly show.

If he scores one early, the possibilities are endless. The confidence is sky high and the game is all his.

Heading down to Cusack Park on Sunday morning, the supporters were doubtful, with the west of Ireland weather at its wild and disobedient worst. Many wondered how you could hurl out in that but in the eye of the storm, Tony Kelly gave them their answer with an exhibition of stylish and exhilarating hurling.

Storm Denis wasn't long taking a back-seat.

The early exchanges are always crucial for a confidence player like Kelly and the Ballyea man hit the ground running on this rotten, worse than archetypal National League Sunday against Laois.

Ryan Mullaney played a loose pass with five minutes gone and nobody appreciates those as much as Kelly. He controlled it in a flash and lamped it over from the far 65. The Clare crowd licked their lips and Eddie Brennan must have been thinking about man-markers already.

The Banner midfielder was only getting going. With the wind at their backs, Clare were slow to reach the pitch of it in their home patch. Jack Browne and full back convert Shane Golden were tidy in defence but in attack, O'Donnell, Reidy and co. were struggling in the elements.

In midfield, Kelly had the run of Ennis though and with new partner David McInerney showing well alongside him, they began to stretch away from Laois. The pair's link-up play was a joy to watch throughout with their stick-passing and running game complimenting the other well. Brian Lohan will certainly be delighted with developments in the engine room.

On 11 minutes, Kelly popped up in his own full back line to help Golden clear his lines and it wasn't long before he was down the other end, ducking out from a sea of bodies before striking one over off the back foot. It was the point of the day and it was this penchant for the spectacular, that set Clare apart from a dogged Laois.

See below from 1.15. When you get a 'gleoite' from the TG4 commentators, you know you're going well.

For Laois, the battling Willy Dunphy was best in a difficult first half against the wind. The Clough Ballacolla forward has had serious injury problems in the past, but he's as brave as they come and is very economical in possession.

As a unit though, Laois didn't click with Ross King and Paddy Purcell on the game's periphery. In the second half, Kelly just kept on dancing around the tackles and kept his side ahead. One second half interception showed off his athleticism and skill in one while another point from play, after Reidy picked out his galloping run was trademark Tony Kelly.

When he times a run from midfield, it's a very ominous sight for the opposition.

Laois were still in the game though, with Purcell scoring a long-ranger but the introduction of Wolfe Tones club man Aron Shanagher put it to bed entirely. Frank Flanagan had fared well at full back for Laois before Shanagher's arrival but he would only last ten more minutes.

Before Laois could stem the tide, Shanagher had three fine points stuck over. The first came from a quick-thinking Kelly free that Shanagher controlled well and swung over on the run. For the next two, the 22-year-old caught the ball out in front of his man and the finish was never in doubt.

It was only two years ago when Shanagher terrorised the Galway full back line in two All-Ireland semi-finals. With those injury problems seemingly in the rear-view mirror now, he'll be some weapon for Clare as the season ticks on. Tony Kelly finished off a fine day's work with a catch from a puck-out and some more marvellous touches. 0-9 (0-4 from play) is some going on a day like today.

See Shanagher and Kelly's tour-de-force below.

Golden continued to impress in his number three jersey while Aidan McCarthy improves at wing back.

Clare are ticking along nicely.