By Michael O Connor.
Gary Guilfoyle had the opening Clare effort for a score but sent it wide and repeated the feat soon after as the banner men were struggling to contain the Southern side who hit (1-2) in the first five minutes. Peter O Brien who starred for Kildorrey en route to the All Ireland junior final opened the scoring and this was quickly added to by Mark Kennifick before Colm Casey broke through three tackles and whistled the ball past Keith Hogan in the Clare net.
Brian Lawton added afuther score before two Alan O Neill frees got Clare on the scoreboard in the 14th and 16th minutes respectively. Cathal O Connell operated for the first half as a third midfielder to deflect the pressure somewhat on the Clare defence who appeared to be muscled out of the game when in one on one situations in the opening twenty minutes. O Brien who was consistent from placed balls and Cork goalkeeper Martin Coleman were on target as Cork stretched their lead to 6 points after 19 minutes action dominated by the strong wind.
Clare finally made some meaningful impression on the scoreboard when Cathal O Connell delivered a pinpoint pass to Aidan Lynch and the powerful Ruan man broke free and flicked the ball past Coleman to halve the Cork advantage entering the final ten minutes of the first half. Jamie Shanahan who made a welcome return to the Clare jersey replaced Guilfoyle and he pointed with his first touch after being set up by Cathal Malone after 22 minutes. This score signalled the end of the Clare resolve as Cork tagged on five unanswered points in the remaining six minutes of the half. Centre forward O Brien (4) and Mark Kennifick were the scorers as Clare looked a beaten side even though the elements were in their favour for the second half.
Little could be done for Clare as they chased Cork on (1-10) to (1-3) scoreline and without real pace in the full forward line and power at midfield the banner men were chasing scraps without fruition. The standard of fare on offer for the early onlookers to the doubleheaders was as humdrum as witnessed at this grade for many a season. Neither side was up to the mark when shooting for scores even allowing for the swirling breeze but the greater craft of Cork was winning through. Clare started the second half with the wind and the expectation was of a strong fightback with such capable forwards as Niall Arthur, Cathal O Connell and Aidan Lynch. O Connell was wide of the mark with a free in the 31st minute as a familiar pattern was developing in this game for the Claremen. Niall Arthur struck for a brace of frees and indeed his colleagues were holding their own in the first ten minutes of the new half but unable to create a goal that would have turned the game on its head. Against the run of play the game defining score fell to Colm Casey after a series of errors in the Clare defence gave him the flick to the net for his second goal.
Cork, now ahead by double scores, (2-10) to (1-5) still didn’t kill off Clare as Clare were well capable of contributing to their own demise themselves by hitting a multitude of wides. Jamie Shanahan, Peter O Brien and Andy Watson were the next on the scoreboard as spectators were eagery willing Pat Casey to blow the long whistle. The final three scores of the game fell to Cathal O Connell (2) and Aidan Lynch. Both sides introduced a number of replacements as the youthful look of this Clare side can now concentrate on the retention of the Munster and All Ireland under 21 championship later in the summer.
Best for Cork included Martin Coleman, Eoin Dillon, Ross Cashman, Peter O Brien, Colm Casey and Mark Kennifick. Clare underperformed due to youth, inaccuracy at crucial times and lack of power on the corners and wings. Their best efforts came from Killian Ryan, Ja Colleran, Stephen O Halloran, Aidan Lynch, Jamie Shanahan in patches, Cathal Chaplin and Jack Browne.
CORK: Martin Coleman (0-1), John O Callaghan, Eoin Dillon, Ed Finn, Tadgh Healy, Ross Cashman, Mikey Walsh, John Cronin, Shane McCarthy, Brian Lawton (0-1), Peter O Brien (0-7), Stephen Dineen, Colm Casey (2-0), Kevin Canty, Mark Kennifick (0-1). Subs: Barry Lawton for Canty, Anthony Watson (0-1) for Dineen, Brian O Sullivan for O Callaghan, Nicky Kelly for McCarthy,
Clare: Keith Hogan, Killian Ryan, Darragh Corry, Jack Browne, Stephen O Halloran, Alan O Neill (0-2), Cathal Chaplin, Pa Sheehan, Ja Colleran, Gary Guilfoyle, Mikey O Neill, Cathal Malone, Niall Arthur (0-2), Aidan Lynch (1-1), Cathal O Connell (0-2). Subs: Jamie Shanahan (0-2) for Guilfoyle, Enda Boyce for Corry, Gerry Arthur for Sheehan, Daire Keane for N Arthur, Gearoid O Connell for O Neill.
Referee: Pat Casey (Waterford).