Banner at half mast as Rebels get some revenge

Cork 2-23 Clare 2-18
At Semple Staduim, Thurles

CLARE’S hopes of a first Munster senior hurling title in 16 years perished this Sunday afternoon on the back of a listless display against a pumped-up Cork side that gained some compensation for their All-Ireland final defeat at the hands of the Banner County last September.
There were five points between the sides at the end, a wining margin that scarcely did justice to Cork’s superiority over the 70 minutes as they were on the front foot for the entire game.
They led by 1-13 to 1-10 at half-time, with Patrick Horgan’s goal from a 21-yard free on 30 minutes setting them on their way as they punished Clare time and time from placed balls.
Clare did give themselves a first half lifeline when John Conlon scrambled home a goal just before the break to cut the arrears to just three points, but in the second half there was no denying the Rebels’ dominance.
A booming point from captain Patrick Donnellan did reduce the gap to two points by the 40th minute, but the Rebels reasserted themselves once more with points from Alan Cadogan and the inspirational Aidan Walsh by the 45th minute and from there never looked back.
And when Patrick Horgan drilled a penalty to the net just shy of the 60th minute to put Cork 2-20 to 1-16 clear, it was all but over save Clare never saying die in the closing stages.
Substitutes Nickey O’Connell (2) and Cathal McInerney raised white flags when Clare were firefighting, while another replacement Darach Honan grabbed a goal two minutes from time, but it was a game of catch-up that Clare never looked like winning in what was a very disappointing display by the All-Ireland champions.
“Cork were faster and better than us,” admitted Clare boss Davy Fitzgerald afterwards. “I don’t know it if was lack of discipline at time. The free count was 12-5 in the first half and I’m not the fella in the middle who blows for frees. I remember Conor McGrath being pulled to pieces and not getting a free.
“There is no point in me going on about that. At the end of the day Cork were better side, stronger and faster and better than us all over the field and deserve their win,” he added.
“I am very pleased and very proud of the players,” said Cork manager Jimmy Barry Murphy. Clare are brilliant All-Ireland champions but we had that bit of hunger today after suffering that defeat in last year’s All-Ireland final.
“The replay against Waterford helped to bring us on a good bit. It doesn’t make up for the All-Ireland final, but I am thrilled for players,” he added.
Clare now go to the qualifiers, the same route they took last year and which finished in All-Ireland final glory.

Donal Tuohy (Crusheen), Jack Browne (Ballyea), David McInerney (Tulla), Cian Dillon (Crusheen); Patrick O’Connor (Tubber), Conor Ryan (Cratloe), Brendan Bugler (Whitegate); Colm Galvin (Clonlara) (0-2), Patrick Donnellan (O’Callaghan’s Mills) (Capt.) (0-1); John Conlon (Clonlara) (1-2), Colin Ryan (Newmarket-on-Fergus) (0-6, 5f, one 65), Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin); Tony Kelly (Ballyea) (0-1), Conor McGrath (Cratloe) (0-2), Padraic Collins (Cratloe) (0-1). Subs SEadna Morey (Sixmilebridge) for Browne, Nickey O’Connell (0-2) for Donnellan, Cathal McInerney (0-1) for Galvin, Darach Honan (1-0) for Conlon.

Anthony Nash (Kanturk); Shane O’Neill (Bishopstown), Damien Cahalane (St Finbarr’s) (0-1), Stephen McDonnell (Glen Rovers), Christopher Joyce (Na Piarsaigh); Damien Cahalane (St Finbarr’s), Mark Ellis (Millstreet), Lorcan McLoughlin (Kanturk); Daniel Kearney (Sarsfields) (0-3), Aidan Walsh (Kanturk) (0-1); Seamus Harnedy (St Ita’s) (0-3), Bill Cooper (Youghal), Conor Lehane (Midleton) (0-2); Patrick Horgan (Glen Rovers) (2-11, 1-11f, one pen), Patrick Cronin (Bichopstown) (Capt.), Alan Cadogan (Douglas) (0-3). Subs Stephen Moylan (Douglas) for Cooper, William Egan (Kilbrin) (0-1) for Kearney, Paudie O’Sullivan (Cloyne) (0-1) for Harnedy, Eoin Cadogan for Ellis.

James McGrath (Westmeath)

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