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Dublin: 6 °C Sunday 17 November, 2019
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7 key moments from Clare's win over Cork

From a crucial selection decision to all those goals.

A Cork supporter reacts after Clare score yet another goal.
A Cork supporter reacts after Clare score yet another goal.
Image: INPHO/Donall Farmer

Clare make the big pre-game selection call

IT SEEMS OBVIOUS now that the game is over and Shane O’Donnell has a 20 minute hat-trick – not to mention three crucial points – but the full-forward getting the nod over Darach Honan was crucial to Clare’s success today. Honan had been taken off after 61 minutes in the drawn game and the inclusion of a smaller, faster, player caused all manner of grief for Shane O’Neill and the Cork full-back line.

Two weeks ago today, the Éire Óg youngster scored a goal and was taken off after 50 minutes in Clare’s U21 All-Ireland final victory over Antrim. He deserves huge praise for coming out today and scoring so freely in a performance that belied his 19 years but a lot of credit must go to Davy Fitzgerald and his selectors for making the call in the first place.

Anthony Nash jump starts Cork’s challenge

Clare were running away with the game, leading 2-5 to 0-5, on 14 minutes when referee James McGrath blew for a Cork free in. Say what you want about the rule that allows Nash travel so far with the sliotar in the air, but there’s no denying the skill it takes to find the net when there are 12 men on the goal-line.

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This goal restored belief in a Cork team who looked shell-shocked to be so far behind, and so off the pace, with only a quarter of the game gone.

O’Donnell becomes a hat-trick hero

Four minutes later though, and O’Donnell was at it again, finishing off a hat-trick inside twenty minutes. His positioning was brilliant throughout the day but no more so than on his third goal when he was in the perfect spot to take advantage of a mix-up in the Cork defence before hitting the sliotar into the ground in order to beat Nash in the Cork goal.

imageImage: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

There can’t be many 19-year olds in the country who could have showed the composure the Ennis youngster did and momentum again swung towards the Banner.

A Cork comeback as Clare lose their shooting boots

Slowly, surely, Cork worked their way back into the game. They scored the last four points of the first half to reduce the margin to four points at the break and restricted Clare to just two points in the opening twenty minutes of the second half. During Clare’s relative drought, the Rebels drew level for the first time since the second minute.

Crucially though, while Cork managed six points in that period, they never grabbed the lead, nor did they threaten Patrick Kelly in the Clare goal.

Seamus Harnedy brings Cork level yet again

From 55 minutes, Clare suddenly remembered where the uprights were and by the 59th they were three points clear thanks to O’Donnell, John Conlon and a Colin Ryan free. Cork though, were not to be denied.

imageImage: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

After Conor Lehane’s shot was blocked by a Clare defender, Seamus Harnedy followed up with one of the best first time finishes you’re likely to see, coolly stroking the sliotar home past a diving Patrick Kelly to bring the sides level again with ten minutes remaining.

Conor McGrath’s brilliance would surely break Cork’s hearts

As good as O’Donnell’s hat-trick was, the goal of the game went to Conor McGrath as his brilliant solo run was topped off with a sublime finish into the top corner of Anthony Nash’s goal and, even with seven minutes left, Cork’s challenge looked to have come to an end, especially when Clare followed it up with three quick-fire points from Tony Kelly, O’Donnell and another Ryan free.

imageImage: INPHO/James Crombie

The Rebels have their hopes raised and dashed in the final flurry

After a great pass from Pa Cronin, Stephen Moylan made it a one score game as time ebbed away, forcing the Hill 16 umpires to raise their green flag yet again and to equal the tally, 3-16, that had proven enough to earn them this replay.

However, Darach Honan – who came on for his young replacement O’Donnell – literally walked the ball into net and, this time, Cork’s challenge was done for and the Banner could get ready to bring Liam MacCarthey home to Ennis for the first time in 16 years.

imageImage: INPHO/Morgan Treacy

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About the author:

Steve O'Rourke

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