CORK ENDED THEIR 2013 losing streak against Clare this afternoon in the Gaelic Grounds as they produced a storming second-half display to take the honours in the Munster senior hurling semi-final.
Victory sets Cork up for a provincial decider meeting with Limerick in the Gaelic Grounds on July 14th as the Rebels will bid for their first provincial senior hurling crown since 2006.
Clare had the upper hand against Cork three times this year before today’s match as they defeated them in the Waterford Crystal Cup semi-final in February, in Division 1A of the Allianz hurling league in March and in the Division 1 hurling league relegation final in April.
But Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s side reversed that trend as they overcame an 0-11 to 0-8 deficit at the interval to fashion an eight-point victory. Cork had elected to play against the strong wind in the first-half and some heroic defending, allied to Clare’s inability to finish off chances, saw them still in the hunt at the interval.
They capitalized after the break as they strung together eight point on the trot to move 0-16 to 0-11 clear by the 51st minute. Cork were on song in that period and it took Clare until the 52nd minute of the game to register their first score of the second-half.
Yet the damage had been done by that juncture as Cork produced a match-winning phase of play. Patrick Horgan lead the way in attack for Cork as he fired over 0-9 but debutant Seamus Harnedy produced a man-of-the-match performance as he shot 0-3 from play.
Conor Lehane, Luke O’Farrell and substitute Jamie Coughlan all pitched in with valuable returns as the second-half wore on. Cork were further boosted by the sight of captain Patrick Cronin, sidelined through illness recently, coming off the bench to shoot over a late point.
Cork and Clare players challenge for possession.
Pic: INPHO/Cathal Noonan
At the back Cork overcame a rocky opening period when Darach Honan and Conor McGrath looked set to cut loose for Clare. They protected Anthony Nash’s goalmouth and not managing to concede a goal was crucial as Clare made the early running to lead by 0-5 to 0-2 after 10 minutes.
Cork settled to the challenge then and competed with Clare in the first-half before gaining control thereafter. Clare’s aspirations were badly hit by the loss of John Conlon in the first-half after he suffered concussion while Tony Kelly’s threat was stifled by Cork’s Brian Murphy.
Honan and McGrath were dangerous in the early stages for Clare but it was Padraic Collins, parachuted into the starting line-up, who was Clare’s best forward as he shot over 0-5 from play.
Cork now look forward to a Munster final meeting with Limerick, managed by former Cork boss John Allen, while Clare will go into the All-Ireland qualifiers with a Phase 2 clash on July 6th.
Jimmy Barry-Murphy celebrates after the game with Cork supporter Tony Nunan.
Scorers for Cork: Patrick Horgan 0-8 (0-5f), Seamus Harnedy 0-3, Jamie Coughlan, Anthony Nash (0-2f), Luke O’Farrell, Conor Lehane 0-2 each, Cian McCarthy, Daniel Kearney, William Egan, Patrick Cronin 0-1 each.
Scorers for Clare: Padraic Collins 0-5, Darach Honan, Conor McGrath, Colm Galvin, Colin Ryan (0-1 ’65, 0-1f) 0-2 each, Tony Kelly, Shane O’Donnell 0-1 each.
CORK: Anthony Nash (Kanturk); Shane O’Neill (Bishopstown), Stephen McDonnell (Glen Rovers), Conor O’Sullivan (Sarsfields); Tom Kenny (Grenagh), Brian Murphy (Bride Rovers), William Egan (Kilbrin); Christopher Joyce (Na Piarsaigh), Daniel Kearney (Sarsfields); Seamus Harnedy (St Ita’s), Cian McCarthy (Sarsfields), Conor Lehane (Midleton); Luke O’Farrell (Midleton), Patrick Horgan (Glen Rovers), Stephen Moylan (Douglas).
Subs: Jamie Coughlan (Newtownshandrum) for Moylan (31), Patrick Cronin (Bishopstown) for McCarthy (61).
CLARE: Patrick Kelly (Inagh-Kilnamona); Domhnall O’Donovan (Clonlara), David McInerney (Tulla), Cian Dillon (Crusheen); Patrick O’Connor (Tubber), Patrick Donnellan (O’Callaghan Mills), Brendan Bugler (Whitegate); Colm Galvin (Clonlara), Nicky O’Connell (Clonlara); John Conlon (Clonlara), Tony Kelly (Ballyea), Colin Ryan (Newmarket-on-Fergus); Conor McGrath (Cratloe), Darach Honan (Clonlara), Padraic Collins (Cratloe).
Subs: Aaron Cunningham (Wolfe Tones) for Conlon (inj) (20), Fergal Lynch (Clooney-Quin) for Ryan (43), Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge) for O’Connell (54), Shane O’Donnell (Eire Og) for McGrath (61).
Referee: Barry Kelly (Westmeath)