Monday 23 October 2017

Horgan and Cadogan lead the say as Cork reclaim Munster title

Munster Senior Hurling Final: Cork 1-25 Clare 1-20

There are many ways to describe just what happened in Thurles last Sunday but from a Cork viewpoint it was about time. Cork regained the Munster Senior Hurling title sparking scenes not seen in the GAA in recent times.

Kieran Kingston’s charges saw off Clare by five points and in so doing booked themselves a spot in the All Ireland semi-final – something that most people outside the camp would have felt at the start of the season was more than a bridge too far for this particular squad.

Led up front by Patrick Horgan and Alan Cadogan the Rebels were well worth the win, but manager Kieran Kingston is taking nothing for granted after learning some hard lessons three years ago, “Everyone remembers the beating Cork got from Tipperary in Croke Park in 2014. No one remembers that Cork won the Muster Championship that year. Today’s win will be forgotten about in four or five weeks f we don’t put in a performance the next day.

“We are in an All-Ireland semi-finalso we will enjoy this win now but get back to it in a few weeks’ time. We will have three weeks then together to learn from the lessons of 2014. It is a great win for the lads and the unbelievable support. There were so many here today from Cork you get an idea of what it means to them. The players see that and every player responds differently to that. Today I thought every player stood up, including the subs. They all played their part and I couldn’t be happier for them all.”

Kingston was understandably thrilled with the result and more importantly with the manner in which his players went about getting it.

The young players in particular justified the managers faith in them with his son Shane, Blarney’s Mark Coleman, Charleville’s Darragh Fitzgibbon and Newcestown star Luke Meade all doing exceptionally well throughout.

At the back Damien Cahalane was immense all game with keeper Anthony Nash surely putting himself in the reckoning for an All Star should his side progress further.

Cork, and in particular Cadogan came flying out of the traps with a point inside 30 seconds. The men in red and white were scintillating in the early exchanges up front and first to every ball however it must be said that the Clare back six were up to most of it.

A free from Tony Kelly had the sides showing level for the first time as both sides looked to settle into rhythms not dominated by emotion.

A brilliant score from Seamus Harnedy saw Cork back in front however not for the first or the last time Clare levelled - this time from the hurl of corner back Sedna Morey. The sides traded the next two scores before the game’s first major intervention arrived on 12 minutes when Cadogan burst free and shot past Clare net minder Andrew Fahy. The explosion of noise that came from the Cork faithful was enough to let all inside and outside the ground know that this game was now officially on and the rebels had landed their first meaningful blow.

Clare rallied from the setback with Kelly bagging points from play and placed balls which helped keep the game in the balance. Two late scores from Horgan sent the men in red in at the turn up by five, 1-10 to 0-08, and looking good to advance to the last four.

The sides traded the next six points before a five minute spell from Horgan and Meade saw Cork open up a seven point gap as the game headed into the last quarter.

A scoring blitz from Clare, which began with a terrific goal from Conor McGrath saw the Banner get to within two points but Cork were not going to be out done on this day – as they hit the target with three late scores to see off what was a gallant but ultimately fruitless effort from the men in yellow.

Cork are far from the finished article but they are serious challengers for this season’s All Ireland crown. The Lee siders are unmatched with team work and on field effort this year and really are beginning to play as one. The young legs in the team have now been battle hardened and all have come through in some style which all means that there is no side in the country right now that will take this particular reincarnation of a Cork side lightly – tougher days ahead it seems.

CORK: A Nash; C Spillane, D Cahalane, S McDonnell; C Joyce, M Ellis, M Coleman 0-2 (1 sl); B Cooper, D Fitzgibbon 0-1; L Meade 0-1, C Lehane 0-1, S Kingston 0-1; A Cadogan 1-4, P Horgan 0-13 (10f), S Harnedy 0-2. Subs: D Kearney for S Kingston (57); L O’Farrell for D Fitzgibbon (61); M Cahalane for L Meade (66)

CLARE: A Fahy; P O’Connor, D McInerney 0-1, O O’Brien; S Morey 0-1, C Cleary, D Fitzgerald; C Galvin 0-1, T Kelly 0-10 (6f, 1 pen); C Malone, P Collins 0-1, J Conlon 0-2; A Shanagher 0-1, S O’Donnell, C McGrath 1-1. Subs: J McCarthy 0-1 for O O’Brien (33); D Reidy for P Collins (h-t); C Dillon for P O’Connor (43); A Cunningham 0-1 for A Shanagher (60); P Duggan for C Malone (65).

REFEREE: F. Horgan (Tipperary).