Banner blow for Rebels' promotion hopes
Clare 0-14 Cork 0-12
Late scores from Jamie Malone and David Tubridy earned Clare victory over Cork in Division 2 of the Allianz football League at Páirc Uí Rinn last night.
The win for the Banner eases relegation fears ahead of next week's final round, but Cork's hopes of promotion have taken a near-fatal blow with this third home defeat of the campaign.
Having been outplayed for much of the second half, Cork had some hope as they eradicated a two-point deficit with the 70-minute mark looming, but the excellent Malone put them back in front with his third point of the game and Tubridy's fourth made sure of the win for Colm Collins' side.
In front of a very sparse crowd, the game took a while to come to life, though Clare's Seán O'Donoghue could have goaled for the visitors inside two minutes. Though wearing 13, he was playing at right half-back and he produced a surging run to give himself sight of the net but he pulled his shot badly wide.
Mark Collins gave Cork the lead before Jamie Malone wasted another Clare goal chance, but it was the only bum note the floating centre-forward would hit and in any case they hit the lead with a pair of David Tubridy frees.
Cork then began to gain a foothold through Ian Maguire and Killian O'Hanlon in midfield and Colm O'Neill levelled with a fine score. Captain Maguire made it 0-4 to 0-2 on 19 minutes, but Clare responded with another Tubridy free and Malone tied the game again with their first from play. Again, Cork responded, Cian Dorgan restoring the lead after intercepting a loose Clare defensive pass and Collins sending over a free when Peter Kelleher was fouled.
Clare captain Gary Brennan made it 0-6 to 0-5 as half-time approached but Cork had a two-point advantage at the interval as Maguire was the engineer for a flowing move which ended with John O'Rourke scoring.
Tomás Clancy might have added a goal in injury time when a Dorgan point attempt came down off the post, but the wing-back's effort was too high and it too rebounded off the upright.
When Brennan's point for Clare early in the second half was answered with O'Neill's third, it seemed as if Cork would hold the edge, but they would only score one of the next six points as Eoin Cleary found his range with three points for the visitors while Keelan Sexton got on the scoresheet after a great move which had begun with corner-back Cian O'Dea.
That made it 0-11 to 0-9 on 58 minutes and though Cork sub Donncha O'Connor won a free which Mark Collins converted, Brennan's third for Clare had them two ahead again with seven minutes left.
Cork sub Stephen Sherlock halved the deficit and O'Neill levelled the game for the fifth time. They might have sensed that the points were theirs, but they reckoned without Clare's strong finish.
Scorers - Cork: C O'Neill 0-4 (1f), M Collins 0-3 (2f), J O'Rourke 0-2, I Maguire, S Sherlock, C Dorgan 0-1 each.
Clare: D Tubridy 0-4 (3f); E Cleary (1f), J Malone, G Brennan 0-3 each; K Sexton 0-1.
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