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Published: 10:45 | 15/7/18

Moloney praises Clare after bouncing back from Munster final woes

Clare joint boss Donal Moloney hailed the Banner county character after bouncing back from their Munster final defeat to Cork to set up an All-Ireland semi-final with champions Galway at Croke Park.

Banner had to dig deep to eventually see off Wexford 0-27 1-17 in their quarter-final clash in front of 10,255 at the Pairc Ui Chaomih.

Despite having the breeze at their backs Clare struggled to gain momentum early on but eventually eked out a 0-16 0-9 lead at half-time and were never headed.

Conor McDonald scored the game's solitary goal just before the hour mark as the Model county reduced the arrears to just three, but three consecutive missed wides and two wasteful goal chances proved crucial before Clare rallied.

Davy Fitzgerald's team were not helped by a late straight red card for Rory O'Connor for an off-the-ball incident.

It was a welcome upturn in fortunes for Clare who suffered a second-half meltdown against Cork in the Munster final as they went down 2-24 3-19.

Moloney, who returned to the Clare dugout after a two-month ban was overturned, said: "It's challenging to come back after a Munster final and the disappointment of the second half in that.

"I was so pleased to see the way they dug in today and they were just fantastic.

"Every time Wexford closed the gap they really pushed on again. The subs came on and scored and we're very proud of them all today. Not just the forwards but all players."

Clare return to GAA Headquarters for the first time since their 2013 All-Ireland victory, but Moloney says it's the "next contest" that counts and not the venue.

He added: "It's a long time, we've had to earn it and we're back there so and we'll look forward to that. But it's not about Croke Park, it's about the next contest. It's Galway in two weeks' time and it'll be a great game."

Kilkenny face Limerick in Sunday's remaining quarter-final with the winners taking on Cork on Sunday 29 July in the semi-final.

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