Tuesday 14 August 2018

Cork edge Clare in Páirc Uí Chaoimh thriller as Rebels start Munster defence in style

Cork 2-23 Clare 1-21

20 May 2018; Robbie O'Flynn of Cork in action against Cian Dillon of Clare during the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 1 match between Cork and Clare at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
20 May 2018; Robbie O'Flynn of Cork in action against Cian Dillon of Clare during the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 1 match between Cork and Clare at Páirc Uí Chaoimh in Cork. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

Cork's championship dominance over Clare since the Banner's 2013 All-Ireland success was extended to a fourth game at Pairc Ui Chaoimh as the home side got their Munster round robin series off to a flying start.

Second half goals from Conor Lehane and Seamus Harnedy eased their passage with the Rebels pulling away in the 12 minutes of added time at the end, after the delay to treat Cork debutant Robbie O'Flynn who picked up a suspected concussion after a collision with his own colleague Conor Lehane in the 44th minute.

Cork's defence was the platform for victory with so many important hooks, blocks and tackles denying Clare players in good positions.

But midfielder Darragh Fitzgibbon was also hugely impressive while Patrick Horgan finished with 10 points, six from play.

Horgan also provided the assist for the first goal from Lehane in the 55th minute after he leaped to prevent a Shane Kington ball from going out wide, knocking it back spectacularly into Lehane's path.

However, there was a suspicion that the ball was over the line when Horgan made the connection.

Clare fought back with Tony Kelly, quiet up to that point, getting a goal, to restore parity, 1-15 each, on the 61st minute. But Cork always had the capacity to kick on.

Harnedy's goal came at the very end when he caught a puck-out and powered his way through the Clare defence to apply a smooth finish in trademark fashion.    

Clare had started smartly, whipping over three points in the opening four minutes before Cork had time to settle.

But eventually the home side got a foothold and by the end of the first quarter were 0-6 to 0-5 clear. They were never headed after that.

It was staggered progress for both sides until the break. The most clearcut goal chance of the half went to Robbie Flynn in the 18th minute but Clare goalkeeper Donal Tuohy was equal to the shot.

At the other end, Cork defended frantically at times with Mark Coleman's 25th minute block on David Reidy standing out.

Cork got some daylight to go two clear three more times but what Clare lacked in accuracy - nine wides in the opening half - they made up for in pace and energy to close the gap to the minimum by the break, 0-11 to 0-10.

Clare resistance came chiefly from John Conlon who scored five points and Colm Galvin who landed three but it was not enough to prevent a win for the Rebels.

Scorers - Cork: P Horgan 0-10 (6fs), S Harnedy, C Lehane 1-2 each, D Fitzgibbon 0-3, M Ellis 0-2, M Coleman, B Cooper, D Brosnan, R O'Flynn all 0-1 each

Clare: T Kelly 1-3 (0-1f), J Conlon 0-5, P Duggan 0-4 (4fs), C Galvin 0-3, D Reidy (2fs) 0-3, S O'Donnell 0-2, C McGrath 0-1.

Cork: A Nash; C Spillane, D Cahalane, S O'Donoghue; M Ellis, C Joyce, M Coleman; D Fitzgibbon, B Cooper; S Harnedy, C Lehane, D Kearney; R O'Flynn, L Meade, P Horgan. Subs: S Kingston for Meade (43), T O'Mahony for O'Flynn inj (53), D Brosnan for Kearney (68)

Clare: D Tuohy; P O'Connor, D McInerney,  J Browne; S Morey, C Cleary, D Fitzgerald; C Galvin, T Kelly; C Malone, J Conlon, D Reidy; C McGrath, P Duggan, S O'Donnell. Subs: D Corry for Duggan (57), M O'Malley for O'Connor (69), I Galvin for Reidy (75), J Shanahan for C Galvin (76)

Referee: Sean Cleere (Kilkenny)

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