Clare 2-22 Dublin 2-20
There was big disappointment for the Dublin hurlers on Saturday afternoon.
They suffered their second Allianz League defeat in two weeks, going down to Clare by 2 points in front of just 2,753 spectators in Ennis.
Ger Cunningham will be all the more disappointed by the fact his side played against 14-men for the whole of the second half.
And, despite that numerical advantage, it was the Banner who played the better hurling in the second period to take a deserved victory.
It was a game of two very different halves, with Dublin the better side in the opening 35 minutes.
They led by 1-9 to 6 points midway through the first half.
Dublin’s goal came after a good catch from Liam Rushe and then a low strike from the Dubs full forward, which Clare keeper Donal Tuohy couldn’t keep out.
Clare had their own goal chance with 26 minutes on the clock when Tony Kelly raced through and blasted the ball past the onrushing Alan Nolan in the Dubs goal.
But the ball slammed against the crossbar instead of hitting the net, and the follow up attempt went wide.
They did raise a green flag late in the half- in rather bizarre circumstances.
A point effort from John Conlon dropped into the net, with Dubs keeper Nolan appearing to think it was going wide.
But any surge the Clare faithful were looking for after that goal was quickly dampened, when Brendan Bugler was given a straight red card for an off the ball offence.
Dublin would have been disappointed to only go in at the break 1-12 to 1-10 ahead, with Liam Rushe performing very well and hitting 1-3.
The Boys in Blue also didn't hit any wides in the opening period.
However, there was the worrying sight of Michael Carton hobbling off in the first half with an ankle injury.
It was point for point early in the second half- until Dublin hit the net again in the 46th minute.
Dotsy O’Callaghan scored with a scrappy finish despite attention from the Clare defence.
That goal gave the Dubs a 2-15 to 1-13 lead and it seemed as though they were well on their way to victory.
But, instead of reinforcing their lead with the numerical advantage, it was Clare who upped their game and responded by far the better to that goal.
The Banner went on a scoring run of 7 unanswered points between the 50th and 61st minute- a run which saw them turn a 5 point deficit into a 2 point lead with less than 10 minutes to go.
And they hammered home their advantage with their second goal of the game with 5 minutes left to all but seal their victory- Tony Kelly hitting the net.
Dublin tried to fight back in the closing moments with points from Dotsy O’Callaghan, Liam Rushe and Ben Quinn.
But it wasn’t enough as the Banner ran out winners by 2 points- 2-22 to 2-20.
Next up for Dublin is a clash with Galway next weekend at Parnell Park- a game which will decide if Dublin will face a league quarter final or a relegation play-off.
Dubs manager Ger Cunningham spoke to the waiting media afterwards, including 98FM Sport's Derek Ryan: