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Dublin: 6 °C Tuesday 26 March, 2019

5 talking points after Cork set up Munster semi-final against Clare

The Rebels were the superior force in Thurles today.

Patrick Cronin and Michael Walsh Patrick Cronin captained Cork to victory today.

1. Cork sharp from the start

Two weeks ago, Cork’s listless opening to the game was a striking feature of their performance. They scrambled in the second-half to draw but Jimmy Barry-Murphy highlighted afterwards his disappointment at the manner in which they started the match.

Today there was no such difficulties. Cork trailed 0-13 to 0-7 in the drawn game at half-time but at the corresponding stage today, they were 0-14 to 0-5 clear. Their hurling was crisper, their movement was sharper and they settled quickly to the rhythms of the game. Firm foundations for their win were laid by half-time.

2. Contrast in attacking showings

Alan Cadogan’s sparkling display was the primary source of optimism from the Cork forward line in the drawn game. Patrick Horgan did maintain his usual prolific form in front of goal but elsewhere Cork struggled.

Today Horgan again chipped in with 0-10 and while Cadogan may have been quiet, Cork coped as Seamus Harnedy, Bill Cooper and Conor Lehane all hit full speed. 0-28 contributed by ten different players was testament to their display. They didn’t hit the net, Anthony Nash foiled by Stephen O’Keeffe from a penalty being the closest they came, but that was the only blot on Cork’s scoring return.

For Waterford it was a tough and trying day in attack. Three of their starting forwards were withdrawn while Cork cut down on the concession of frees that had afforded Pauric Mahony the opportunities to hurt them in the drawn game. Cork kept a clean sheet as well with their defence closing the gaps that Waterford had previously created.

Patrick Horgan scores a point from play Patrick Horgan struck 0-10 for Cork this afternoon. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

3. A big moment for Paudie O’Sullivan

You have to go all the way back to the 2012 All-Ireland semi-final for the last time that Paudie O’Sullivan took to the field for Cork on a championship Sunday. He grabbed 0-3 in that game against Galway and looked poised for a big 2013 campaign before disaster struck last April when he broke his fibula and fibula in a club game.

It’s been a long rehabilitation road for O’Sullivan since then but today marked a milestone for the Cloyne man. The Cork support roared in unison when he was sprung from the bench and the sight of O’Sullivan notching a brace of points offered further encouragement for the player and Cork.

Paudie O'Sullivan and Michael Walsh Paudie O'Sullivan hit 0-2 during his late cameo. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

4. Waterford head for the qualifiers

Waterford must now try to pick themselves back up by heading the backdoor route. The positive vibes that emanated from their display in the drawn game will have dissipated a little after this showing. It was a heavy defeat for them to suffer but an instructive exercise nonetheless for their young and emerging players.

An added headache for manager Derek McGrath is an injury situation that worsened today. Noel Connors went off with a groin injury while Colin Dunford picked up a knee problem. Those are the sort of setbacks they could do without although they will be pleased to see Maurice Shanahan and Stephen Molumphy back in action.

Derek McGrath Can Dan Shanahan and Derek McGrath resurrect Waterford's challenge? Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

5. Cork and Clare set to collide once more

Cork have little time to celebrate passing this assignment. There’s only seven days until they are back out in action again in a Munster semi-final but this two-game saga should stand to them. Clare lie in wait in a game that will evoke memories of last summer’s spellbinding encounters.

Cork have shuffled their defensive cards with Damien Cahalane and Mark Ellis getting more game experience. Bill Cooper and Alan Cadogan have added plenty to their attack. They chalked up 0-28 today which will put them in good spirits ahead of a huge challenge in Thurles next Sunday. It’s a game loaded with potential as Limerick await the victors.

Jimmy Barry Murphy Jimmy Barry-Murphy must get his Cork players focused on next Sunday's Munster semi-final. Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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