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TheScore.ie writers look forward to Cork v Clare

Our scribes’ thoughts ahead of this evening’s All-Ireland SHC final.

Cork's Brian Murphy and Conor McGrath of Clare.
Cork's Brian Murphy and Conor McGrath of Clare.

Fintan O’Toole…

All-Ireland final replay, an anti-climax or a repeat you can’t wait to see?

After a rollercoaster of a hurling summer, why complain when there is another lurching ride to embark on? After the drama of the finale to the drawn game, it’s good to be awaiting another instalment.

What Clare player are you most looking forward to seeing in action?

Podge Collins. The diminutive Cratloe attacker who has lit up this summer’s championship with his pace, skill and trickery. His point in the second-half of the drawn game from the Cusack Stand had shades of DJ Carey’s magical score in the 2002 All-Ireland final.

What Cork player are you most looking forward to seeing in action?

Anthony Nash. Whether it be his booming puckouts, sharp reflexes for saves or gallops upfield to unleash rockets from close-range frees, the Kanturk man is likely to be in the thick of the action.

Your favourite moment from the drawn game?

Conor Lehane’s goal. It was a wonderful individual effort, featuring searing pace and great invention. But more than that it proved the moment that ignited the match and paved the way for a stunning second-half.

Call it – is Liam Mac bound for Cork or Clare?

The margins are as tight as they were before the drawn game. But Cork have more scope for improvement and if figures like Cronin, O’Farrell and McLoughlin are not as peripheral again, they can claim the honours.

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Sinead O’Carroll…

All-Ireland final replay, an anti-climax or a repeat you can’t wait to see?

One I can’t wait to see. Honestly though, I’d watch Ballygonowhere versus Carrick-on-Nothing if it meant another hurling game in this epic championship.

I was worried three weeks ago that the occasion would get to some of the players. Although it didn’t massively impact the game, there were some nervy moments throughout and Clare never really took off like they could have.

Interesting to hear JBM say this time around it is more like a game than an occasion. That could do wonders for the hurling, if so.

What Clare player are you most looking forward to seeing in action?

I’ll have the same answer to both of these questions. The goalkeepers. Patrick Kelly and Anthony Nash were both such a key part of the first game — in terms of goals and save.

The bravery of the two men was unbelievable to watch, not to mention the skill.

Off the field, Nash is as impressive as he is on and you can now see why he waited patiently and learned his craft from the master, Donal Óg.

Your favourite moment from the drawn game?

Can I have two? Podge Collins’s point from the left wing. That was ridiculous – reminded me of DJ Carey’s point against Clare in the 2002 final but even better as he had even less space that the Kilkenny man.

In joint position though has to be Domhnall O’Donovan coming to the rescue with his first point of the championship. Big up to corner backs everywhere.

Call it – is Liam Mac bound for Cork or Clare?

I said Clare three weeks ago and I’m going to stick with that. Davy Fitz has had another three weeks with the team — many of whom enjoyed success in the U21 Final. I think they’ll have the metal this time to finish the job off.

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Adrian Russell…

image(Cork’s Conor Lehane celebrates scoring a goal – INPHO/Cathal Noonan)

All-Ireland final replay, an anti-climax or a repeat you can’t wait to see?

It’s fitting that this incredible championship — with thrilling narratives, the departure of beloved characters and unexpected turns — ends the same weekend in which Breaking Bad reaches its denouement. Though no one knew how to react as we filed out of Croker three weeks’ ago, it’d be churlish to complain about one more episode to round off the hurling box set.

What Clare player are you most looking forward to seeing in action?

I once spent a morning in Broadford with Brendan Bugler, testing ‘the shatter proof’ hurley with him for a feature. He was majestic the last day in Croker, as he shattered Cork attack after Cork attack.

What Cork player are you most looking forward to seeing in action?

After Cork got out of jail against Clare in the All-Ireland semi-final in 2005, I heard one Leesider typically rub it in to a friend from the  Banner county out the back of McGrath’s in Drumcondra: you go on about two All-Irelands in a decade, we had a fella who won two in a fortnight, he said.

Cian McCarthy will be hoping he can supply the physicality and athleticism to help the Rebels clinch Liam and see him go halfway to emulating his double-winning father, Teddy.

Also: Pa Horgan.

Your favourite moment from the drawn game?

If I’m allowed to be biased… Pa Cronin clocking in late but marking his first real impact on the game with that individual goal. Cork needed it.

Call it – is Liam Mac bound for Cork or Clare?

I think Davy Fitz will get his side over the line this time.

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Niall Kelly…

All-Ireland final replay, an anti-climax or a repeat you can’t wait to see?

Three weeks is a long time to wait, the build-up this week has been much more sedate, and — let’s be honest — there’s no way that this is going to live up to the drama of the drawn game. But every right-thinking sports fan in the country will be counting down the minutes to throw-in and hoping for a fitting finish to this brilliant Championship.

What Clare player are you most looking forward to seeing in action?

Brendan Bugler. He was immense in the drawn game and this time, I’m rounding up a few friends for a sweepstake on the amount of times he celebrates Clare winning a free with an emotional fist pump.

What Cork player are you most looking forward to seeing in action?

Anthony Nash. I’m still holding out hope that he’ll be named Hurler of the Year and if not, there’s still every chance that he’s going to tear the net with one of those ridiculous 21-yard frees. Compelling viewing.

Your favourite moment from the drawn game?

Pa Cronin’s goal. If we’re being perfectly honest, this game simmered along nicely for the first 55 minutes or so without being a classic. Even after the drama of Nash’s goal and then his missed penalty, it still looked like Clare were going to have more than enough. But when Cronin scored, that’s when things really got interesting…

Call it – is Liam Mac bound for Cork or Clare?

How often have we seen it in the past: two teams are inseparable first time around but it’s never as close the next time around. Clare by three or four.

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Paul Fennessy…

All-Ireland final replay, an anti-climax or a repeat you can’t wait to see?

The first game alone was thrilling enough for the encounter to last long in the memory, so even if this game is a disappointment, describing it as anti-climactic in any sense would be extremely harsh.

What Clare player are you most looking forward to seeing in action?

Domhnall O’Donovan — can the corner back repeat his unlikely heroics from the last game?

What Cork player are you most looking forward to seeing in action?

Pa Cronin’s professionalism and passion always impresses me, hence’s he’s invariably a pleasure to watch.

Your favourite moment from the drawn game?

Davy Fitz’s reaction at the end was priceless. He looked like someone who had just gone on a very scary rollercoaster against his will.

Call it – is Liam Mac bound for Cork or Clare?

I said Cork originally, so I can’t really go back now, can I?

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