Clare 0-31 Cork 2-23
Demotion for Cork after this two-point loss to Clare in
an extra-time high-scoring and ultimately
championship intensity Division 1A relegation final in the windswept Gaelic Grounds yesterday and relief for Clare as they preserve their elite status for another year. Cork have no-one but themselves to blame either, because twice in the second half of normal time, after each of their two goals, victory was in their own hands.
The first occasion was in the 53rd minute, full-forward Luke O’Farrell finding the net from the rebound, after Clare keeper Patrick Kelly had denied Conor Lehane, to put Cork five points clear (1-16 to 0-14). Clare
recovered from that, went on a powerful and what looked like a match-winning charge, outscored Cork seven points to one to lead by one with time running out.
Then came Cork’s second goal, outstanding captain Pa Cronin beating Brendan Bugler with a fine catch on the edge of the square then booting to the net. Cork now two points clear, entering the two minutes of signalled additional time.
Again Clare closed, again Cork failed to hold on, and the game went to extra-time. A worrying sign surely, worrying also was the fact Clare had completely dominated possession in the second-half, won the lions’ share of the puckouts but cost themselves through poor shooting, 10 wides in that half. In that extra-time however, Clare would make no mistake. Their profligacy in front of the posts would continue but so would their all-round dominance. Cork
keeper Anthony Nash was forced into a brilliant point-blank save from young sub Peter Duggan as all over the field Clare took control.
The precocious full-back trio of Domhnall O’Dononvan, David McInerney and Seadna Morey grew into the game, Brendan Bugler and Patrick O’Connor took control on the wings while centre-back and captain Patrick Donnellan was magnificent throughout.
The Clare second half midfield pairing of Tony Kelly and Colm Galvin contributed an endless supply of ball but also contributed handsomely on the scoreboard (Kelly ended with six points from play, Galvin an invaluable three).
Up front, threat in every area, rangy Darach Honan and powerful John Conlon especially dangerous. Those who wondered about Clare’s strength in depth also
got an answer as subs Conor McGrath, Peter Duggan and Cathal McInerney all caught the eye.
And yet, all that being said, Cork would have
tied this game at the death had Cathal Naughton’s last-second goal-bound pile-driver not been deflected over the bar by the perfectly placed Bugler.
Strange game, truly.
Scorers for Cork: P Horgan 0-11 (6f, 1 65), P Cronin 1-3, L O’Farrell 1-2, C Naughton 0-2, C O’Sullivan, D Kearney, C Lehane, S Moylan and C McCarthy 0-1
Cork: A Nash; K Murphy, B Murphy, C O’Sullivan; S White, C Joyce, W Egan; L McLoughlin, D Kearney; C Lehane, P O’Sullivan, P Cronin (c); S Moylan, L
O’Farrell, P Horgan.
Subs for Cork: T Kenny for Kearney (53), C
McCarthy for Moylan (60), C Spillane for K Murphy(62), C Naughton for White (67), M Walsh for McLoughlin (inj 78), B Hartnett for P O’Sullivan (86), P O’Brien for Lehane (86).