Horgan's 16-point haul enough for Cork as Rebels ride their luck to see off Clare
Clare 1-20 Cork 0-20
Cork got their first win of the Allianz Hurling League Division 1A season as Patrick Horgan scored 16 points – 15 from frees – against Clare at Páirc Uí Rinn.
In what was a strange game, a pair of Horgan frees put Cork into a two-point lead for the first time in the game in the 68th minute. Apart from the attacker, returning captain Séamus Harnedy scored 1-1, the goal quite fortunate, with Daniel Kearney, Jamie Coughlan and Tim O’Mahony their only other scorers.
While Tony Kelly responded with his sixth of the game, Horgan cleverly set up O’Mahony to restore the two-point advantage and then rounded things off with his 16th. The result means that, before today’s games, there is a five-way tie for second place behind leaders Limerick.
In all, the teams were level 13 times. One of those occasions was at half-time, but only thanks to a fortuitous Cork goal in the 22nd minute by Séamus Harnedy, as they were a clear second-best in terms of performance.
Tony Kelly orchestrated a crisp display of Clare hurling, contributing two fine points. Full-forward John Conlon made the most of what came his way, scoring three first-half points. That tally included the opener, following a fine catch from a Kelly sideline puck, with the captain also the provider for the Clonlara man’s second.
That made it 0-5 to 0-2 in the 18th minute, with Patrick Horgan replying from a free for Cork before Kelly got his second, the result of some beautiful interplay with midfielder Colm Galvin. But for a couple of wasted Peter Duggan frees, the Banner would have been in even more control.
In contrast to Clare’s fluency, Cork were struggling to piece together passages of good play, with David McInerney leading a strong Clare defensive charge. The goal was their first score from play and it came wrapped in luck. Harnedy – playing his first game of the year and who had been part of the backroom team for the successful Midleton CBS team in the Dr Harty Cup final earlier in the day at the same venue – intended to launch a delivery towards the full-forward line, but Clare’s debutant goalkeeper Keith Hogan lost sight of the dropping ball.
Despite the valiant efforts of Clare corner-back Jack Browne to clear off the line, the umpires adjudged the ball to have crossed the line and matters were tied at 1-3 to 0-6.
It was no surprise that Clare should respond positively, Duggan sending over a free while Diarmuid Ryan notched a good point too. Horgan got his and Cork’s fourth point, another free, but Conlon’s third re-established the two-point lead, again after showing good aerial prowess.
Nearly 33 minutes had passed by the time Cork’s first point from play arrived, Horgan again the man on target, and when Conor Lehane was fouled in the final minute it was Horgan who sent over the free to leave matters tied at the break.
Two and a half minutes into the second half, he repeated the dose, having been fouled himself, and Cork led for the first time.
Kelly levelled, benefiting after David FitzGerald had blocked David Griffin’s shooting attempt, and did so again after Horgan’s eighth, Ian Galvin with the pass.
Jamie Coughlan finally provided Cork with a second point-scorer and Bill Cooper got in an important block on Diarmuid Ryan before Ian Galvin’s second levelled the game for the sixth time.
Duggan put Clare back in front on 47 minutes, moments after wasting another opportunity, but Daniel Kearney responded for Cork, profiting from a good Aidan Walsh hook on David McInerney.
Another Duggan free provided the Clare riposte but Cork almost seized the lead with another goal as Tim O’Mahony drove forward and fed Conor Lehane, whose effort looked to be net-bound but for a vital Rory Hayes intervention.
Harnedy pointed as the ball came loose from that, 1-11 to 0-14 with 20 minutes left, and while Ian Galvin and Kelly – his fifth – twice put Clare ahead again, Horgan frees were again Cork’s manner of tying the game.
Galvin’s influence continued to grow as he landed his fourth, and third of the second half, on 57 minutes, but Horgan got his 11th of the game to make it 1-14 to 0-17 as the game reached the hour-mark.
Duggan’s fourth put Clare ahead again but, inevitability, a Cork free followed and was converted by Horgan. Conlon, snaffling a loose ball from a scrum, brought his tally to four on 62, but it was the last time Clare led.
Horgan made it 1-16 to 0-19 and though Kelly looked to have restored Clare’s advantage with a point from a tight angle, it was waved wide after initially being declared a point.
Two more from Horgan finally provided daylight, and Cork drove on to the finish.
Scorers – Cork: P Horgan 0-16 (15f), S Harnedy 1-1, T O’Mahony, D Kearney, J Coughlan 0-1 each.
Clare: T Kelly 0-6, I Galvin, J Conlon, P Duggan (3f, 1 65) 0-4 each, D Ryan 0-2.
CORK: A Nash; S O’Donoghue, D Cahalane, S McDonnell; C Joyce, T O’Mahony, D Griffin; C Murphy, B Cooper; D Kearney, S Harnedy, C Lehane; J Coughlan, A Walsh, P Horgan.
Subs: L Meade for Murphy (49), D Browne for Griffin (60), A Cadogan for Coughlan (both 60),
CLARE: K Hogan; J Browne, D McInerney, R Hayes; D FitzGerald, C Cleary, C Malone; S Golden, C Galvin; P Duggan, T Kelly, D Ryan; I Galvin, J Conlon, P Collins.
Subs: R Taylor for Golden (53), C Guilfoyle for Duggan (61), M O’Neill for Collins (63), A McCarthy for FitzGerald (65).
Referee: Johnny Ryan (Tipperary).