McGrath Cup: Round 2 in Quilty

CLARE 0-8
CORK 2-10

After last weekend’s positive performance away to All Ireland champions Kerry albeit in defeat, Clare took the field against Cork with six changes plus five players representing  intermediate clubs as manager Colm Collins gave every player an opportunity to stake a claim for a starting position.
However it was a tough day at the office as in truth they were second best for the majority of this McGrath Cup contest.
Before the throw in a minutes silence for Paudie Palmer, Ger Crotty and James Kelleher was impeccably observed. Cork won the throw in and immediately attacked creating the games opening goal chance when Steven Sherlock’s point blank effort was superbly saved by David Sexton with full forward Brian Hurley kicking over the rebound after only thirty seconds. From the resultant kick out Clare attacked and Jamie Malone landed an absolute peach of a point, kicking off the outside of his right boot from a full forty five yards. However this lightning fast entertaining start was a false dawn as we only had seven further scores in the remaining thirty four minutes.
Both sides were employing defensive set ups with countless bodies behind the ball making fast flowing football almost an impossibility.
Cork were enjoying the lion’s share of possession though and were moving the ball through the hands, constantly recycling possession with little or no pressure being applied. We had to wait until the eleventh minute for the next score with Steven Sherlock kicking over from close range after another long period of Cork possession.
Eoin Cleary responded with a converted free in the 18th minute to level the contest for the second time but from here to half time Clare were second best with passes being intercepted and shots dropping short. Back to back errors were then punished when firstly a misplaced Ciaran Downes pass was punished by full forward Hurley and then the resultant kick out was overturned by Chris Og Jones and he duly slotted over.
The only bright light for Clare came in the 32nd minute when substitute Pearse Lillis, on for the injured Jamie Malone, landed a magnificent touchline point with huge applause from the stands. Corner forward and man of the match Sherlock though had the final say kicking a peach on the run just before the half time whistle ensuring the visitors went to the dressing rooms with a double score lead 0-6 to 0-3.
Clare made three half time substitutions introducing Gavin Cooney, Podge Collins and midfielder Darren O’Neill. This seemed to spark the side into life immediately winning two scoreable frees but unfortunately both were kicked wide by Keelan Sexton.
It was in fact Cork who drew first blood when in the 6th minute Brian Hurley scored a beauty when cutting in from the right touchline and kicking on the run. Podge Collins immediately responded for the Banner kicking over from an acute angle. Two converted Sexton frees had the lead down to only two points before Sherlock, released by an incisive Og Jones pass, buried the ball low into the bottom right hand corner giving keeper Sexton no chance. From here to end it was damage limitation really as midfielder Bohannon received a black card reducing the side to 14.
Cork were completely dominant at this stage with substitute Rory Maguire forcing another tremendous save from keeper Sexton late on. However not even Sexton could prevent another green flag for Cork when Chris Og Jones goaled from close range.
Overall a chastening defeat for Clare with the only positives being David Sexton’s performance and the fact that plenty of players saw game time but in truth Clare will need to dramatically improve especially in the shot conversion statistic as the important date of the 29th is fast approaching.
SCORERS FOR CLARE; Keelan Sexton 0-3 (3f), Eoin Cleary 0-2 (2f), Podge Collins, Jamie Malone, Pearse Lillis 0-1 each
 
SCORERS FOR CORK; Steven Sherlock 1-6(3f),Chris Og Jones 1-1,Brian Hurley 0-3
Clare
1 David Sexton Kilmurry Ibrickane
 
2 Darren Nagle Liscannor
3 Cillian Brennan Clondegad
4 Ronan Lanigan Eire Og
 
5 Alan Sweeney St.Breckans
6 Jamie Malone Corofin
7 Cian O’Dea Kilfenora
 
8 Darragh Bohannon Shannon Gaels
9 Brian McNamara Cooraclare
 
10 Dermot Coughlin Kilmurry Ibrickane
11 Eoin Cleary St.Joseph’s Miltown
12 Ciaran Downes Kilmihil
 
13 Aaron Griffin Lissycasey
14 Keelan Sexton Kilmurry Ibrickane
15 Daniel Walsh Kilmurry Ibrickane
Subs;Pearse Lillis for Malone inj 26 mins, Gavin Cooney for Walsh HT, Darren O’Neill for Brian McNamara HT, Podge Collins for Downes HT, Mark McInerney for Griffin 52 mins, Micheal Garry for Nagle 57mins, Tom McDonald for Coughlin 61 mins, Manus Doherty for Sweeney 63 mins, Thomas Meenehan for Sexton 64 mins, Fergal Guinnane for Lanigan 64 mins
 
Cork
1 Chris Kelly
 
2 Maurice Shanley
3 Daniel O’Mahony
4 Tommy Walsh
 
5 Luke Fahy
6 Sean Meehan
7 Mattie Taylor
 
8 Colm O’Callaghan
9 Ian Maguire
 
10 Eoghan McSweeney
11 John O’Rourke
12 Brian O’Driscoll
 
13 Chris Og Jones
14 Brian Hurley
15 Steven Sherlock
Subs;Rory Maguire for Meehan 45 mins,Thomas Clancy for O’Mahony 45 mins, Ruairi Deane for McSweeney 49 mins, Cian Kiely for Shankey 59 mins, Killian O’Hanlon for O’Rourke 59 mins, Shane Merritt for Fahy 65 mins, Paul Ring for O”Donovan 68 mins, Paul Walsh for Maguire 69 mins, Fionn Herlihy for O’Driscoll 70 mins, Mark Cronin for Og Jones 70 mins
 
Venue; Quilty
 
Referee; Brian Fleming Kerry

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