Clare have held on to their spot in Division 2 of the Allianz Football League, despite their defeat to Meath in Ennis this afternoon.
The Banner were dealt a blow even before the game began, when injured captain Gary Brennan was ruled out, and they also struggled early on as Meath raced into a four-point lead before Clare opened their scoring through Jamie Malone after 9 minutes.
Eamon Wallace was to the fore for Meath in the early stages, but Eoin Cleary scored three frees to keep the Royals in check. He then turned provider to John Hayes, who scored his first point of the day to make it 0-7 to 0-5 after 17 minutes.
The pace of scoring then slowed with the teams swapping points – Ciarán Russell and Cathal O’Connor pointed for Clare either side of the half-hour mark – but Clare could never quite level matters prior to the break.
However, they had fought back from their slow start to trail 0-9 to 0-8.
Meath started fastest again in the second half and an early point was followed quickly by a Killian O’Sullivan goal, to make it 1-10 to 0-8 after 36 minutes.
David Tubridy responded with a point, but Meath remained in control and led 1-13 to 0-9 after eleven minutes of the second half.
Meath then put the game out of sight – O’Sullivan scored a second goal, before he was instrumental in the Royals’ third goal from Brian Power.
At this stage there were 49 minutes gone, and the match largely petered out.
Eoin Cleary did score a late goal for the Banner, bringing his own tally to 1-5, and the final score Meath 3-19 Clare 1-13.
The disappointment of the loss was eased somewhat, however, because Cork’s draw with Down (1-10 to 0-13) meant Clare held onto their Division 2 status.
Derry’s 2-8 to 0-13 win over Fermanagh wasn’t enough for either side, both of whom are relegated, while Galway’s 0-14 to 0-13 win over Kildare means both of those sides are promoted.