Clare bounce back in style to beat Cork - but Rebels progress from Munster ahead of the Banner
Clare 2-23 Cork 2-18
Clare won the battle but lost the war in a Cusack Park downpour as events in Thurles dictated that they exited the Munster Championship.
Despite a gallant performance in really testing conditions ,the home side's response to two heavy defeats was in vain as far as this year's competition was concerned, the leakage against Tipperary and Limerick in the previous two weeks too much to rescue them here.
As much as the result was important, so too was the performance, and in front of a packed Cusack Park they restored some pride.
They had to deliver a response, they really couldn't come up with a third successive insipid performance and how they got out of the blocks was going to be critical.
That was answered emphatically by Shane O'Donnell who sparked the place into life within 16 seconds when he got on to Jason McCarthy's delivery into the corner, turned Niall O'Leary and from the moment he set off it was clear he had only one outcome on his mind.
That early goal should have been the perfect springboard and when Aidan McCarthy, one of the three late changes from the named team, flashed over a point, the mood of despair that hung over the county all week visibly lifted.
But there was a quick riposte from Cork to deflate that early Banner surge, Aidan Walsh spinning away from a puck-out, to draw a fine save from Donal Tuohy but Patrick Horgan was quickest to the rebound to cancel out O'Donnell's earlier effort. There was just 90 seconds gone!
It settled after that but the exchanges were tough and sometimes over the top. Daniel Kearney was lucky to survive when he clipped Cathal Malone's head with his hurl after Malone had barged into him. The officials decided yellow was sufficient in the circumstances.
Tensions were high and one of Clare's joint-managers Gerry O'Connor was sent to the stand for an exchange with one of the officials, having squared up to Cork 'maor foirine' Kieran Murphy and Cork forward Kearney.
Clare used Kelly in a much more advanced role and that paid dividends with two early points before he ran on to a Peter Duggan lay off from a great catch off a puck-out and planted a second goal past Anthony Nash for a seven-point lead, 2-10 to 0-6 before Horgan closed the half with two pointed frees for fouls on Harnedy.
Cork closed to within a point with four unanswered scores in the first five minutes of the second half but Clare steadied again, influenced by great defensive work by Cathal Malone and Jack Browne.
Horgan added a second goal after great approach work from Harnedy and Bill Cooper but as the rain fell harder, Clare rose to the challenge and the magnificent accuracy of Peter Duggan, who finished with 12 points, got them over the line.
Scorers - Clare: P Duggan 0-12 (9fs), T Kelly 1-2, S O'Donnell 1-0, C Galvin 0-3, D Ryan, C McInerney 0-2 each, A McCarthy, J Conlon 0-1 each.
Cork: P Horgan 2-9 (0-8fs), A Cadogan 0-4, D Fitzgibbon 0-2, S Kingston, D Kearney, S Harnedy all 0-1 each.
Clare: D Tuohy; P O'Connor, D McInerney, J Browne; C Malone, C Cleary, S Morey; J McCarthy, C Galvin; D Ryan, P Duggan, A McCarthy; S O'Donnell, J Conlon, T Kelly. Subs: R Taylor for A McCarthy (h-t), D Fitzgerald for O'Connor (54), S Golden for J McCarthy (62), A Shanagher for Conlon (66), C McInerney for Ryan (69)
Cork: A Nash; S O'Donoghue, E Cadogan, N O'Leary; R Downey, M Ellis, M Coleman;B Cooper, D Fitzgibbon; L Meade, S Harnedy, D Kearney; P Horgan, A Cadogan, A Walsh. Subs: S McDonnell for Downey (h-t), D Cahalane for E Cadogan (h-t), S Kingston for Kearney (47), C Lehane for Walsh (52), D Dalton for Meade (66).
Referee: P O'Dwyer (Carlow)