Cork 1-20 Clare 1-11
By Michael O Connor.A duck shoot was predicted by even the optimistic Clare supporters as Cork trundled up to Clare headquarters with the odds of 1/50 behind them. Even the presence of Mick O Dwyer on the Banner sideline made no effect on bookmaker odds. The ritual hammerings handed out by Cork and Kerry to Tipperary, Limerick and Waterford suggested a similar fate for the home side.
What transpired was a warm glow of an honourable defeat for Clare who after being caught in the headlights of a smart moving Cork side battled into the game before conceding a soft goal and then spending the second half battling honourably but never really in the hunt for the win.
Suggestions of a huge defensive blanket being put across the Clare rearguard gave the impression that Clare were intent on a damage limitation exercise with both eyes on the qualifiers. Dr Con Murphy and Mick O Dwyer exchanged a warm greeting before the warm up began as these two stars of Cork and Kerry acknowledged each other.
The heavy rain that bedevilled Clare headquarters did not relent for the duration of this Munster semi final with Kerry at usual awaiting the winners in the final. Ciaran Sheehan, named in the programme did not start with Fintan Gould coming in for the Eire-og man and he shown snippets of form with four points from play over the 70 minutes. David Tubridy kicked an eminently scorable free wide after two minutes before Cork struck for seven points in a row from the 5th to 17th minutes. Gould (2), Brian Hurley (3) John O Rourke and Daniel Gouldling were on target as Cork threatened to win this game by a landslide with a continuation of this rate of scoring. Clare, however had other ideas and in the intervening eight minutes were on six scores through the skills of Shane McGrath, David Tubridy (3), John Hayes and Rory Donnelly to leave two scores between the sides entering the final seven minutes of the half. The game defining goal from an entertainment point of view effectively killed off this tie when against the run of play Daniel Goulding struck to put five points once again between the sides. Clare crumbled in the wake of this goal and conceded three points from Brian Hurley, Paul Kerrigan and Daniel Goulding with a sole response from Ian McInerney to leave Cork atop a (1-11) to (0-7) lead.
What more could Clare mentors say to their charge except keep at the pattern of play that was showing great discipline at the back and kick the ball straight and long to Gary Brennan hoping for breaks and some good fortune. The Clare supporters were relieved that their team were at least competitive and organised in what they were about. Paul Kerrigan struck for the first score of the new half before Gary Brennan kicked Clare’s only goal after three minutes. Cork were spurred into action just as they were, when in the first half Clare had threatened. Daniel Goulding hit three scores from play in a row before a truly brilliant effort by the recently introduced Chris Dunning. However, Clare unlike Cork were devoid of forwards who could kick two or three points each even though the banner men did have enough possession to make scores. Cork who were now beginning to show off the strength of their bench brought on A list players such as Aidan Walsh, Ciaran Sheehan Donnacha O Connor and Alan O Connor. Clare as one would surmise did not possess this level of impact sub as much as their subs tried.
Fintan Gould, Brian Hurley and John O Rourke with his second point restored a ten point Leesiders lead with 11 minutes remaining in the game. Rory Donnelly and substitute John Keane hit a brace as Clare supporters who were used to departing the venue in games like this long before the final whistle stayed on to offer encouragement. Donnacha O Connor and fellow sub Ciaran Sheehan rounded off the Cork scoring as the final score of the game fell to David Tubridy. Cork, at the final whistle knew they had been in a game regardless of the fact they always looked like winners. Clare, for their part were good value for their efforts but now need to win a qualifier game to justify a years work or else this honourable defeat will mean nothing at the end of year report.
Best for Cork were Brian Hurley, Fintan Gould and Daniel Goulding who scored (1-14) between them. Graham Canty, John O Rourke, Damian Cahalane and Paul Kerrigan were also to the fore as Clare defended well but at a cost of costing them extra players up front to help my man of the match Gary Brennan. Others to do well for Clare included Martin McMahon, John Hayes, David Tubridy in patches, Declan Callinan, Rory Donnelly and Ian McInerney.
CORK: Ken OHalloran, Eoghan Cadogan, Michael Shields, Damian Cahalane, James Loughrey, Graham Canty, Tomas Clancy, Alan O Connor, Pearse O Neill, John O Rourke (0-2), Paddy Kelly, Fintan Gould (0-4) , Daniel Goulding (1-5), Brian Hurley (0-5), Paul Kerrigan (0-2). Subs: Aidan Walsh for P O Neill, Ciaran Sheehan (0-1) for Kerrigan, Donnacha O Connor (0-1) for O Rourke, Alan O Connor for P Kelly,
CLARE: Joe Hayes, Martin McMahon, Laurence Healy, Gordon Kelly, Declan Callinan, John Hayes (0-1), Graham Kelly, Gary Brennan (1-0), Cathal O Connor, Rory Donnelly(0-2), Ger Quinlan, Shane McGrath (0-1), Alan Clohessy, Ian McInerney (0-1), David Tubridy (0-4). Subs: Chris Dunning (0-1) for Clohessy, Francis Hayes for O Connor, John Keane (0-1) for Quinlan, Shane Ryan for McGrath, Paudge McMahon for Graham Kelly,
Referee: Derek Fahy (Longford).