Casey brace crushes youthful Banner
Cork 2-12, Clare 1-9
TWO goals from Colm Casey sent Cork through to their first decider in this competition since 2010 as the Rebels saw off Clare by six points at the Gaelic Grounds.
Peter O'Brien added seven points for the victorious Leesiders, including five from placed balls.
Casey netted in both halves as a youthful Clare, featuring nine U-21s in their starting line-up, were simply overpowered at the Limerick venue.
Clare managed just 1-4 from play during the game, including 1-1 from full-forward Aidan Lynch. Casey's goal, in the seventh minute, set Cork on their way as the Rebels opened up an early 1-3 to 0-0 lead.
But Clare were back in contention when Aidan Lynch netted in the 20th minute and the side managed by joint U-21 managers Donal Moloney and Gerry O'Connor trailed by just three points, 1-3 to 1-6, approaching the break.
That was before O'Brien stroked over four points – including three frees – to hand Cork a healthy interval lead.
Clare needed a quick start to the second half and they got it when Niall Arthur, goal hero in last year's Bord Gais Energy Munster U-21 final, knocked over a '65', quickly followed by a free.
But Clare's hopes of a revival were extinguished by Casey's second, killer goal.
Cork cruised to the finish from there, as the Clare challenge wilted, and their prize is a crack at Munster and All-Ireland champions Tipperary in the provincial final.
SCORERS – Cork: P O'Brien 0-7 (5fs), C Casey 2-0, M Kennifick 0-2, M Coleman (f), B Lawton, A Watson 0-1 each. Clare: A Lynch 1-1, A O'Neill (2fs), N Arthur (1f, 1 '65'), C O'Connell (1f), J Shanahan, 0-2 each.
CLARE – K Hogan; K Ryan, D Corry, J Browne; S O'Halloran, A O'Neill, C Chaplin; P Sheehan, J Colleran; G Guilfoyle, M O'Neill, C Malone; N Arthur, A Lynch, C O'Connell. Subs: J Shanahan for Guilfoyle (19), E Boyce for Corry (24), G Arthur for Sheehan (44), D Keane for N Arthur (44), G O'Connell for M O'Neill (54).
CORK – M Coleman; J O'Callaghan, E Dillon, E Finn; T Healy, R Cashman, M Walsh; J Cronin, S McCarthy; Brian Lawton, P O'Brien, S Dineen; C Casey, K Canty, M Kennifick. Subs: Barry Lawton for Canty (22), A Watson for Dineen (43), B O'Sullivan for O'Callaghan (56), K Hallissey for Casey (59), N Kelly for McCarthy (60).
REF – P Casey (Waterford).