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Dublin: 7 °C Tuesday 19 March, 2019

5 talking points after Clare claim Munster U21 hurling title against Cork

The Banner’s remarkable run of victories in Munster U21 hurling continued tonight.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

1. U21′s provide boost for Clare hurling

With the senior side seeing their 2014 season grind to a halt earlier this month, Clare hurling got a timely boost tonight. Their reign as Liam MacCarthy Cup holders may have ended in a disappointing fashion but the county U21′s showed no sign of relinquishing their titles.

It’s only five years since Clare won their first ever Munster U21 title but that’s been the springboard for a spectacular run. Tonight they completing three-in-a-row. They were magnificent in crafting a fifteen-point win over a beleaguered Cork side. The manner of Clare’s display reaffirmed the fact that the county’s hurling future remains bright.

2. Clare on fire in front of goal

Clare’s marvellous scoretaking was central to tonight’s victory. They remarkably chalked up 1-28 in 60 minutes with nine different players pitching in. It was the joint third highest scoring total ever recorded in a Munster U21 final, matching Tipperary’s tally of 5-16 (31 points) in 1989. The two higher scores came from Limerick in 2011, but their total of 4-20 (32 points) occurred after extra-time, and Tipperary who hit 8-9 in the inaugural final back in 1964.

Clare did make history as they raised the greatest number of white flags in a Munster U21 decider. Their brilliant interplay, composure in possession and stylish shooting helped them shoot the lights out. After striking 2-20 against Limerick and 5-19 against Tipperary (albeit after extra-time), Clare closed their Munster campaign with more superb scoretaking.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

3. Special night for Clare quartet

For some of Clare’s players, tonight represented the final chapter in a glorious Munster U21 hurling career. Tony Kelly first played U21 for Clare back in 2011 when he was still only a minor and tonight he started on a Munster winning side for the third successive year. Seadna Morey, Colm Galvin and Aaron Cunningham also have the distinction of starting on all those sides that triumphed.

Tonight was a special night for that quartet and marks a superb achievement. Peter Duggan, who came on as a sub in 2012, and Cathal O’Connell, who came on as a sub tonight, came close to matching them and deserve recognition as well. Management duo Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor, along with coach Paul Kinnerk, should get immense credit for supervising this stunning run of success.

Source: Twitter

4. Cork have no answers to Clare

Cork’s wretched Munster underage hurling record has been placed under the spotlight repeatedly in recent years and tonight they could not end their barren run. There was optimism after their surprise semi-final success over Waterford but that was tempered by an appreciation of the scale of the challenge facing them in an awesome Clare team. Tonight they simply had no answers.

Alan Cadogan was identified as a lethal threat by Clare and was well-marshalled by Seadna Morey. He battled on and won frees that were converted but didn’t have the space to cause serious damage. Robert O’Shea and Michael Collins did their best to rouse Cork in attack but ultimately Cork were wiped out in the opening half and there was no way back for them despite a determined second-half showing.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

5. Clare turn their sights to the national stage

As they bask in the glow of tonight’s triumph, Clare will start to think about the upcoming All-Ireland series. On the evidence of this victory they will be overwhelming favourites now to land another national U21 crown. Antrim are their opponents in the semi-final but it’s difficult to see Clare falling into the trap that caught Wexford at the same stage last August.

They should advance to a September final against Wexford or Galway and then will seek to make history by joining the All-Ireland U21 three-in-a-row club. Cork won four successive titles between 1968 and 1971 while Tipperary (1979-1981) and Limerick (2000-2002) also enjoyed glorious runs. Clare now have an outstanding chance of matching those counties.

Clare crowned Munster U21 hurling champions with 15-point win over Cork

As It Happened: Clare v Cork, Munster U21 hurling championship final

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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