Monday 20 November 2017

Thurles a sea of colour as Cork dream of All-Ireland glory after revenge over Clare

Cork captain Stephen McDonnell lifts the cup at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary Photo: Sportsfile
Cork captain Stephen McDonnell lifts the cup at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co Tipperary Photo: Sportsfile
Ralph Riegel

Ralph Riegel

A surging Rebel tide helped lower the Banner as Cork fans celebrated a famous Munster hurling final victory over Clare.

Cork fans cheered a hard-fought five-point triumph as thousands of Rebel supporters savoured a measure of revenge for the agonising loss to the Banner County in the 2013 All Ireland final.

Cork and Clare supporters revelled in glorious lunchtime sunshine as Liberty Square became a contrasting sea of red-and-white and blue-and saffron.

With temperatures reaching almost 23C before late afternoon cloud and heavy showers, Thurles pubs, shops and ice-cream vendors were enjoying a roaring trade as Cork fans dreamed of their first All Ireland title in 12 years and Clare supporters enjoyed their first Munster final appearance since 2008.

Paul Kinnane with his wife Liz, and their children Paul (7), Molly (8) and Niamh (11). Photo: Press 22
Paul Kinnane with his wife Liz, and their children Paul (7), Molly (8) and Niamh (11). Photo: Press 22

The match opened in stunning sunshine - but ended in cloud and heavy showers.

Paul Kinnane, originally from Ballincollig, Co Cork, but now living in Corofin, Co Clare, was outnumbered in terms of GAA support within his own family.

His wife Liz Byrt-Kinnane, who is from Ruan, was proudly cheering on her native Clare as were their daughters Niamh (11) and Molly (8).

The sole bit of Rebel support that Paul - resplendent in his Cork jersey - could find within the family came from his son Eoin (7).

Clonakilty sisters Debbie and twins Becky and Rachae Photo: Press 22
Clonakilty sisters Debbie and twins Becky and Rachae Photo: Press 22

Even friends were joking about their deep-rooted GAA allegiances.

Read More: Future of clash of the ash is out of this world as GAA goes high tech

Caroline Curran from Rochestown in Cork was decked out in her red-and-white finery as she bumped into her former University College Cork (UCC) friend Anthony O'Halloran from Ennis, who was in his Banner County colours.

There were no divided loyalties within the O'Mahony family from Clonakilty in west Cork.

Sisters Debbie, Becky and Rachael O'Mahony savoured the pre-match atmosphere in Liberty Square as they confidently predicted a Cork double in the minor and senior matches.

Becky and Rachael - who are twins - admitted it was a glorious day in the Premier County.

"You couldn't ask for a nicer day for a Munster hurling final," Rachael said.

Cork friends Colin Carr, Patrick Hayes and Sean Fitzgerald, all from Mahon, confidently predicted that Cork were firmly back on the road to hurling glory after a decade in the wilderness.

Clare friends Kevin Dillon, Fionnán O'Brien, Donal Whelan and Jessica Keogh - all from Clonlara and Broadford - said it was reminiscent of the great Croke Park clashes between Cork and Clare in 2013.

Clare youngsters Aaron (10) and Josh (7) Cotter said they believed Clare are bound for September glory irrespective of the Munster final result.

But the real priority for the boys was persuading their parents Finbarr and Ann-Marie, from Ennis to splurge on another round of 99 ice creams.

Irish Independent

Promoted Links

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News