Thursday 18 January 2018

Clare dumped out of championship by spirited last quarter performance by Cork

Darach Honan, Clare, in action against Stephen McDonnell, Cork. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship, Round 2, Clare v Cork, Semple Stadium, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
Darach Honan, Clare, in action against Stephen McDonnell, Cork. GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship, Round 2, Clare v Cork, Semple Stadium, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

For the second successive season 2013 All-Ireland champions Clare have been dumped out of championship by the middle of July after a spirited last quarter from Cork in Thurles.

Cork 0-20 Clare 0-17

Jimmy Barry Murphy's side looked to be wilting when a quartet of points from David McInerney, Shane O'Donnell, Darach Honan and Colm Galvin sent Clare two points clear on the 60 minute mark in this gripping qualifier played in difficult conditions.

But Cork dug deep and, inspired by Bill Cooper from midfield and a dominant half-back line where Aidan Walsh had one of his best games for the hurlers, they came strong again with five unanswered points to clinch a memorable win.

Patrick Horgan has had his critics on Leeside and beyond for failing to stand up on nights like these but he was superb in the home straight, nailing four of those five points to seize momentum.

It was a difficult night for hurling and it showed in the wides tally, 20 for Cork and 17 for Clare.

The defeat will apply a little pressure on Davy Fitzgerald's management but he couldn't fault the effort from his players.

Since beating Cork in the All-Ireland final replay in 2013 they have now lost all three matches to the Rebels and have just last week's qualifier win over Offaly to show for two Championship campaigns.

Once again Tony Kelly was inspirational, scoring five points (one free) but putting his finger prints on so many of Clare's better moves.

Cork deployed the same system that worked well against Wexford seven days earlier, Mark Ellis sitting back to great effect as sweeper and Brian Lawton dropping into his space at centre-back to pick up the ever-dangerous Kelly.

Horgan drifted out to the half-forward line where he was productive, leaving Conor Lehane and Seamus Harnedy in a two-man full-forward line.

But once again the accuracy virus that can sometimes weaken Horgan's game kicked in with four first half wides from a total of 11 before the break. However he more than made amends with that stirring intervention in the closing 10 minutes.

Clare looked sharper early on and more likely to score a goal, a penetrating Conor McGrath run creating a ninth minute opening for Shane O'Donnell but he miscued badly.

Cork settled and began finding their range and when Lawton hooked Kelly to prevent a certain score on 16 minutes Cork cleared to set up Horgan they were just 0-5 to 0-4 behind.

A classic Clare score, involving three radar-like short passes to put Kelly away restored a two-point advantage but Cork surged impressively and led through Harnedy, Lehane and Cadogan points, the last two created by Horgan.

It continued to move in three point sequences until the break, Colin Ryan (free), McGrath and Conor Ryan making it a two-point game again before Horgan with two frees and Pa Cronin edged Cork clear by 0-10 to 0-9 as half-time approached.

Cork began the second half well with Walsh scoring from distance and they were 0-15 to 0-13 clear when substitute Coughlan made the most of superb Cormac Murphy pass on 53 minutes.

But they had to draw on all their reserves of character to recover after Clare's blitz and for the third time in four years Barry Murphy has guided his side into All-Ireland quarter-finals.

Scorers - Cork: P Horgan 0-8 (5fs), S Harnedy P Cronin, C Lehane 0-2 each, A Cadogan, C Murphy, A Walsh, B Cooper, J Coughlan, P O'Sullivan 0-1 each.

Clare: T Kelly 0-5 (1f), C McGrath 0-3, Colin Ryan (2fs), S O'Donnell 0-2 each, S Golden, Conor Ryan, C Galvin, D McInerney, D Honan 0-1 each.

Cork: A Nash;  S McDonnell, B Murphy, D Cahalane;  A Walsh, M Ellis, B Lawton, C Murphy; D Kearney, B Cooper; A Cadogan, P Cronin, P Horgan; S Harnedy, C Lehane.Subs: R O'Shea for Kearney (43), J Coughlan for Cadogan (50), P O'Sullivan for Cronin (58), D McCarthy for Lawton (65)

Clare: P Kelly; D McInerney, C Dillon, S Morey; J Browne, B Bugler, P O'Connor; Conor Ryan, Colin Ryan; J Conlon, T Kelly, C McGrath, S Golden; D Honan, S O'Donnell. Subs: A Cunningham for Conlon (ht), P Donnellan for Colin Ryan (43)

C Galvin for Golden (48),D Reidy for Morey (57), J Conlon for Honan (67)

Referee: Barry Kelly (Westmeath)

Attendance: 25,245.

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