Eoin Brennan reports from Cusack Park
CLARE MAINTAINED THEIR impressive start to the Allianz National League following a merited victory over Cork in front of almost 5,000 supporters in Cusack Park, Ennis this afternoon.
The result appeared inevitable by half-time after Clare had totally blitzed their lacklustre opponents to open up an 11-point cushion. However, while Cork, backed by the aid of the conditions, did finish the stronger with six of the last seven points, the four-point final margin was as close as they would come to their hosts.
Both counties began with only half of last year’s Munster final personnel, as late changes to the Cork side saw injured pair Alan Cadogan and Conor Lehane replaced by Daniel Kearney and Shane Kingston.
However, after a competitive opening quarter at 0-5 to 0-4, Clare seized full control with seven unanswered points through Peter Duggan (3), Tony Kelly, Mikey O’Malley, Colm Galvin and John Conlon.
Patrick Horgan stopped the 20-minute rot momentarily, only for a dominant home side led by Galvin, David Reidy and O’Malley to ensure a near-perfect half with four more singles on their way to an seemingly unassailable 0-16 to 0-05 interval lead.
With only four points from play for their starting forwards over the 70 minutes, Cork were unexpectedly out-of-sorts up front but were helped in their second half recovery by inspirational long range efforts from Tim O’Mahony, Darren Browne and Mark Ellis.
Clare’s intensity dipped but they still held a nine-point cushion entering the final ten minutes. Cork needed a goal to unearth a full recovery but home goalkeeper Donal Tuohy was equal to a brace of Horgan 20-metre frees as the arrears were gradually toppled.
Clare held on sufficiently, though, to protect their perfect start and complete a first league victory over Cork in Cusack Park in 13 years.
Scorers for Clare: Peter Duggan 0-8 (6f, 2’65); David Reidy 0-3; John Conlon, Seadna Morey, Mikey O’Malley, Tony Kelly, Colm Galvin 0-2 each; Podge Collins, Niall Deasy 0-1 each
Scorers for Cork: Patrick Horgan 0-12 (9f, 2’65); Luke Meade, Tim O’Mahony, Robbie O’Flynn, Mark Ellis, Darren Browne, Bill Cooper, Seamus Harnedy 0-1 each
1. Donal Tuohy (Crusheen)
4. Patrick O’Connor (Tubber)
3. Conor Cleary (St Joseph’s Miltown)
2. Jack Browne (Ballyea)
7. Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge)
6. David McInerney (Tulla)
5. Mikey O’Malley (Kilmaley)
8. Colm Galvin (Clonlara)
9. Tony Kelly (Ballyea)
10. Niall Deasy (Ballyea)
11. John Conlon (Clonlara)
12. David Reidy (Éire Óg)
13. Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg)
14. Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin)
15. Podge Collins (Cratloe)
22. Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge) for Conlon (50)
21. Conor McGrath (Cratloe) for Collins (56)
20. Daragh Corry (Tulla) for Deasy (59)
17. David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona) for O’Malley (65)
25. Jason McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona) for Galvin (65)
1. Anthony Nash (Kanturk)
2. Sean O’Donoghue (Inniscarra)
3. Eoin Cadogan (Douglas)
4. Colm Spillane (Castlelyons)
7. Christopher Joyce (Na Piarsaigh)
6. Tim O’Mahony (Newtownshandrum)
5. Darren Browne (Kanturk)
8. Mark Ellis (Millstreet)
22. Daniel Kearney (Sarsfields)
10. Robbie O’Flynn (Erin’s Own)
11. Seamus Harnedy (St Ita’s)
12. Bill Cooper (Youghal)
9. Luke Meade (Newcestown)
14. Patrick Horgan (Glen Rovers)
25. Shane Kingston (Douglas)
20. Lorcán McLoughlin (Kanturk) for Kearney (HT)
26. Rob O’Shea (Carrigaline) for Kingston (45)
24. Jack O’Connor (Sarsfields) for Meade (51)
21. Brian Lawton (Castlemartyr) for O’Flynn (60)
Referee: Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow)