Saturday 20 December 2014

How the game was won

Published 30/09/2013 | 05:00

Before the game, Davy Fitzgerald makes a bold call. Shane O'Donnell – a minor last year – is named to start ahead of Darach Honan in a switch that would prove crucial.

5 mins

Having opened up a 0-3 to 0-2 lead, Clare strike for the first goal of the game. O'Donnell finishes neatly after Pat Donnellan surges through the heart of the Cork defence.

CLARE 1-3 cork 0-2

13 mins

O'Donnell strikes for goal again, this time after being played in by Conor McGrath, which puts the Banner into a healthy lead.

CLARE 2-5 cork 0-4

16 mins

Conor Lehane had closed the gap to six with a fine effort and when Cork win a free in Anthony Nash territory, Clare put 12 men on the line in a bid to avoid the experience of the drawn game. It matters not to the Kanturk man, who blasts through the bodies to close the gap to just three and get the Croker crowd rocking.

CLARE 2-5 cork 1-5

20 mins

Patrick Horgan and Colin Ryan swap points before O'Donnell strikes for his hat-trick. Cork's defence goes to sleep and he bats home from close range.

CLARE 3-6 cork 1-6

31 mins

Cork have been playing second fiddle for much of the half with the tactic of dropping high ball on top of Pa Cronin yielding only limited success. But he's getting some joy now and sets up Seamus Harnedy (right) for a score before popping over another himself after Hawk-Eye is consulted.

CLARE 3-9 cork 1-10

33 mins

Cronin is involved again as this time he is fouled and Horgan reduces gap to four.

Clare 3-9 Cork 1-11

HALF-TIME

CLARE 3-9 cork 1-11

Having held an eight-point lead, Clare have just a four-point gap at the interval.

37 mins

Tony Kelly (right) rifles over a point, but that would be a rare Clare score as Cork begin to flex their muscles.

CLARE 3-10 cork 1-11

52 mins

Having had the better of the exchanges since the start of the half, Cork finally pull level as Horgan points from a free after Cronin is fouled. Davy Fitzgerald's men look off the pace and perhaps the exertions of the successful U-21 campaign are about to tell.

CLARE 3-10 cork 1-16

54 mins

Cork have been in control since the restart, but that man O'Donnell ensures they won't take the lead here and he brings his tally to 3-2 with a vital point.

CLARE 3-11 cork 1-16

55 mins

Conor Lehane miscues badly when presented with a chance to bring the sides level once again but at the other end John Conlon (right) makes absolutely no mistake and Clare are two clear again.

CLARE 3-12 cork 1-16

59 mins

Colin Ryan does what he does from placed balls and stretches the Clare lead to three points and it looks like the Banner might have weathered the Cork storm – glory is in now their sights.

CLARE 3-13 cork 1-16

60 mins

Yet another twist in this amazing game. Seamus Harnedy sweeps to the net after Conor Lehane's shot was brilliantly blocked and the St Ita's man calmly rolls the sliotar past Patrick Kelly to level the scores.

CLARE 3-13 cork 2-16

61 mins

Cork fail to clear and Conor McGrath (right) impressively speeds clear of the cover. He has support, but the Cratloe man goes it alone and fires brilliantly to the roof of the net.

CLARE 4-13 cork 2-16

65 mins

Clare are stretching for home now. Tony Kelly sends over a brilliant point before the ever-willing O'Donnell brings his tally up to an amazing 3-3 in what was only his third championship start. However, this score would be his last contribution as Darach Honan – the man who made way for him in the starting team – replaces him straight after.

CLARE 4-15 cork

2-16

69 mins

Cork are the architects of their own downfall again as they concede a needless '65'. Colin Ryan fires over to put them six clear of the Rebels.

CLARE 4-16 cork 2-16

70 mins

Just as the fourth official confirms two minutes of added time, substitute Stephen Moylan fires to the net following a pass from Cronin and Jimmy Barry-Murphy's side are back to within a single score.

CLARE 4-16 cork 3-16

71 minS

Cork win a free out the field and are given one last chance. Harnedy fields the dropping ball and for a moment he appears to have a sight of goal. Instead he shovels a pass off to Cathal Naughton, who is crowded out by desperate defending. Within seconds, Darach Honan (right) bundles to the net at the other end and the Rebels' hopes are finally crushed.

CLARE 5-16 cork 3-16

72 mins

James McGrath brings proceedings to an end and the crowd tries to draw breath, not to mention the players.

Full-time

CLARE 5-16 cork 3-16

DONNCHADH BOYLE

Irish Independent

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