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Superb Shane Meehan goal not enough as Clare exit at the hands of Cork

Cork scored seven of the final nine scores to secure a Munster U20 semi-final spot.

Image: Tom Maher/INPHO

Cork 1-19

Clare 1-17

Páraic McMahon reports from O’Garney Park, Sixmilebridge

THEY MAY NOT have scored their first point until the thirty-second minute but Cork finished with aplomb to blow away Clare scoring seven of the final nine scores to claim victory on Wednesday evening.

In what was the first outing for Donal Mahoney’s Rebels, they were reliant on Ben Cunningham’s placed balls to keep them within touch at half-time, this allied with seven opening half wides from Clare ensured the visitors were still in the contest at the interval.

Clare will rue not making hay while the sun shone in the first half, of their seven wides in this spell, three were from placed balls with management substituting freetaker Shane Punch for Keith Smyth who upon entry was unerring with his conversion rate.

Without question, Clare bossed matters in the first half, one in which was dominated by frees, eighteen frees were awarded in this period with a total of twenty-eight in the tie.

Knowing what was at stake, Cork clearly upped their game in the second half, while they conceded three points to Smyth, an excellent finish from Diarmuid Healy on forty-three minutes put them ahead for the first time, this would give them the belief that the game was theirs for the taking.

Lining out in his first U20 game, Clare senior Shane Meehan responded with a superb individual run before tucking the sliotar in the back of the net to swing the tie back in their favour. His fellow senior panellist Patrick Crotty had a goal chance denied by Brion Saunderson moments previously.

Clare followed Meehan’s goal with points from captain Conner Hegarty and Smyth but Cork reduced the deficit to a single score by adding the next three points on the bounce.

Crucially, Cork would score seven of the final nine scores to deflate Clare with substitute Eoin O’Leary equalising from a free before Colin Walsh nudged them ahead on sixty-one minutes, O’Leary sealed the win with the last scoring opportunity of the game.

Dejection will surround Clare’s exit having known they showed have won both of their games. On this occasion, full-back Adam Hogan and captain Conner Hegarty were best for Terence Fahy’s charges.

Returning to the banks of the River Lee will be all the sweeter for Cork given the manner in which they claimed this victory. However, they will know that reproducing similar first-half displays will yield a year without silverware at this grade. Ethan Twomey, Brian O’Sullivan and Brian Keating were impressive over the hour.

Scorers for Cork: B Cunningham (0-08 7f 1’65)), B O’Sullivan (0-03), E O’Leary (0-03 3f), D Healy (1-00), B Keating (0-02), J Cahalane (0-01), E Twomey (0-01), C Walsh (0-01).

Scorers for Clare: K Smyth (0-06 5f), S Punch (0-04 4f), S Meehan (1-01), P Crotty (0-03), D Cahill (0-01), C Hegarty (0-01), O O’Donnell (0-01)

Cork:

1: Brion Saunderson (Midleton)

3: Kevin Lyons (Ballygarvan) 4: Ciarmhuc Smyth (Midleton) 2: Cathal McCarthy (Sarsfields)

6: Eoin Downey (Glen Rovers) 5: Ethan Twomey (St Finbarr’s) 7: Luke Horgan (Glen Rovers)

8: Michael Mullins (Whitechurch) 9: Brian O’Sullivan (Kanturk)

12: Denis McSweeney (Blarney) 10: Brian Keating (Ballincollig) 15: Brian Cunningham (St Finbarr’s)

11: Jack Cahalane (St Finbarr’s) 13: Diarmuid Healy (Lisgoold) 14: Daniel Hogan (Sarsfields)

Subs:

24: Colin Walsh (Kanturk) for McSweeney (HT)

23: Eoin O’Leary (Glen Rovers) for Cunningham (47)

22: Jack Leahy (Dungourney) for Healy (57)

17: Darragh O’Sullivan (Ballinhassig) for McCarthy (57)

19: Mark Howell (Douglas) for Downey (57)

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Clare:

1: Cian Broderick (Clarecastle)

2: Ian McNamara (Killanena) 5: Diarmuid Mullins (Crusheen) 3: Adam Hogan (Feakle)

4: John Conneally (Clooney/Quin) 6: Cian Galvin (Clarecastle) 7: Oisin Clune (Feakle)

8: Colm O’Meara (Clonlara) 9: Conner Hegarty (Inagh/Kilnamona)

12: Cormac Murphy (O’Callaghans Mills) 11: Patrick Crotty (Scariff) 13: Shane Punch (Ruan)

10: Jack Kirwan (Parteen) 14: Shane Meehan (Banner) 15: Diarmuid Cahill (Corofin)

Subs:

18: Keith Smyth (Killanena) for Punch (26)

20: Oisin O’Donnell (Crusheen) for Kirwan (35)

17: Keelan Hartigan (Scariff) for O’Meara (46)

21: Gearoid Sheedy (Ogonnelloe) for Murphy (53)

24: Oran Cahill for D Cahill (58)

Referee: Conor Doyle (Tipperary)

About the author:

Páraic McMahon

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