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5 talking points after Cork's win over Clare in Munster senior hurling semi-final

The Rebels are heading towards a provincial final meeting with Limerick on July 13th.
Jun 15th 2014, 6:52 PM 11,302 10

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

1. Patrick Horgan’s scoring prowess surfaces again

It’s only mid-June but already Patrick Horgan has put in a series of stunning scoring displays in Semple Stadium. He shot 0-12 as Cork scrambled a draw three weeks ago against Waterford, including the point that leveled the game. Last week he chipped in with 0-10, a return that featured five from play, as Cork surged past Waterford in their replay.

Today he topped all that by banging in 2-11. Granted all the scores were from placed balls but his marksmanship and nerve under pressure were both outstanding. In a week that was dominated by new rules for placed ball striking, Horgan showed Cork can cope without Anthony Nash’s shots by firing home two goals, one a 20-yard free and the other a penalty. The Glen Rovers man is one of the leading attackers in the game and he showed why today.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

2. Clare lethargic for a second successive Munster semi-final

Clare did amass 2-18 today and only fell five points short at the final whistle. But Darach Honan’s goal at the finish applied some gloss to the result and there was no doubt that they were soundly defeated. It’s the second successive Munster semi-final where they have been convincingly beaten by Cork albeit they entered this game on the back of an eight-week hiatus from action.

Clare’s stunning performances lit up the 2013 season.  But today they saw the influence of star men like Tony Kelly and Podge Collins negated. That duo only landed 0-2 from play between them, a testament to Cork’s success in coping with their threat.

Clare’s midfield pairing of Colm Galvin and Patrick Donnellan were both substituted as well. With Cork on top in those sectors, Clare’s defence came under severe pressure which lead to Cork stringing together the run of third quarter scores that killed off this tie.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

3. Cork benefit from schedule of games

At half-time in Semple Stadium three weeks ago, it was difficult to be optimistic about the aspirations of the Cork hurlers in 2014. They were flat in their performance and playing catch-up to Waterford. Digging themselves out of a hole that day to clinch a draw looks to have been the best thing that happened to them.

They tore Waterford open last week and cantered to a 14-point victory. That result lifted their confidence levels and rather than sapping their energy reserves before today’s game, it resulted in them entering Thurles with a pep in their step. They exploded from the blocks this afternoon and are now back in a Munster final with Limerick in the opposition corner once more.

Source: James Crombie/INPHO

4. New blood improves Cork

It was interesting to note that seven of the nineteen Cork players that saw action today had no involvement in last year’s All-Ireland final saga and were not even part of the 26-man panel for those epic clashes. Damien Cahalane and Aidan Walsh have joined from the football squad to claim starting berths and bring a huge array of qualities to the team. Eoin Cadogan is another dual prospect and he entered the fray late on today to anchor the team.

Mark Ellis and Bill Cooper have been useful additions in central positions. Both players have flitted around the senior panel in recent years but 2014 has seen them command the stage. While in attack Alan Cadogan has graduated splendidly from the underage ranks. He rifled over three lovely points from play and won countless frees which Horgan converted.

The sight of Paudie O’Sullivan coming off the bench after a long injury layoff to point for the second week running will further enthuse the Cork management. They have a stronger squad in 2014 and it is starting to show.

Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

5. Clare head towards the qualifiers again

It’s a familiar story for Clare as they exit the Munster championship at the semi-final stage for the second year running. A provincial crown was a major goal for this squad at senior level but their hopes were scuppered today. Now they must head the backdoor route for the rest of 2014.

Can they be as successful as they were last summer? Today’s game will certainly bring them on and their team still possesses great class and talent. There is plenty scope for improvement and Davy Fitzgerald will impress that upon his players. The qualifier draw will be interesting. Last year they benefited from avoiding big guns early on, it could be a different tale this season.

‘They killed us in midfield’ admits Fitzgerald as Clare fall to Cork

Cork get revenge on Clare as Patrick Horgan dominates Munster semi-final

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Fintan O'Toole

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