Clare v Cork: first meeting that never was

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by Joe Ó Muircheartaigh

THERE’S a long history there between Clare and Cork when it comes to finals that went to a second day. The 1928 Munster final between the two had a couple of installments before the Rebels prevailed but the most infamous meeting on the double came 40 years previously whne the locked horns in the first ever Munster final.
Not that they got to clash any ash, with no hurley broken in either anger or enjoyment.
All because the final was never played, despite both Clare and Cork wanting it and even turning up to play. Ogonnelloe were representing Clare having won a 20-team senior county championship, which gave them the right to fly the Banner County flag in the provincial and All-Ireland series.
Eighteen counties entered the competition, with Clare drawn to play Limerick’s South Liberties in Birdhill. Ogonnelloe turned up but South Liberties went to Adare instead, the result being that Ogonnelloe were given a walkover.
This put Clare into a Munster decider against Tower Street of Cork on August 26. Both Clare and Cork arrived at the Croom Castle venue, but there before them were South Liberties having taken over the field.
“South Liberties demanded that Ogonnelloe play them in the Munster semi-final,” reveals Seamus O’Reilly, author of a history of Clare hurling and football teams in championship that’s to be published in 2014.
“Ogonnelloe refused and as a result the final was postponed. The replay was re-fixed for Cork the following weekend and old Gaels in Ogonnelloe had it that Tower Street had agreed to pay Ogonnelloe’s travelling expenses,” he added.
However, the game was never played, with the American Invasion interfering – this was the trip by a group 48 hurlers/footballers/athletes to spread the GAA gospel stateside. John Fitzgibbon from Ogonnelloe was one of three Claremen part of the ‘American Invasion’ that came between the first ever final between Clare and Cork.

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Joe Ó Muircheartaigh graduated from University College Dublin in 1989 with a degree in history and politics. After completing a Diploma in Journalism at The College of Commerce, Rathmines in 1991, he embarked on a career in journalism. Joe spent four years with Clare FM from 1992 and was with The Clare Champion from 1996 to 2005. He has won two McNamee Awards for GAA journalism and has published two books. Contact Joe on [email protected]

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