Hurling: Clare lay the ghost at last

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The Independent Online
Clare, amid scenes of quite chaotic euphoria, beat Offaly 1-13 (16) to 2-8 (14) to win their first All-Ireland final in 81 years and only their second in all.

For those for whom black cats and rabbits' feet have special significance, the ghost of Biddy Early, who cursed the Clare team in the 1930s, was emphatically laid to rest. However, for those more interested in spectacle than spectres, the more prosaic reason why Clare won was their resilience.

Offaly's hurling did not fail them, but their commitment did. Their superior skills could not cope with Clare's awesome intensity in the closing minutes.

A low-scoring first half had a deficit of artistry and a surfeit of physical confrontation. Offaly were the first to settle and were two points up before Sean McMahon became the first Clare man to score in an All-Ireland final in 63 years.

A dreadful series of wides by Clare seemed to indicate that Offaly would successfully defend their title; but a superb goal by Eamon Taffe and two points by Daly and O'Connor sent the trophy westwards.