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Match report: James Mulvihill

Full time score: Clare 4-17 Cork 0-18

Clare advanced to the Munster Senior League Final with a game to spare after a comfortable victory over an experimental Cork team in Cusack Park. The management team of Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor will be pleased with the performance of the team given the fact the National League is just around the corner a lot of players were given an opportunity to impress with the likes of Ryan Taylor, Peter Duggan, Ian Galvin and Niall Deasy performing well. There is still work to do in terms of winning aerial battles and coming out with the dirty ball which will be worked on in training over the next few weeks.

Cork needed a victory to keep their hopes of reaching the final alive after losing their first game at home to Limerick. Rebel boss John Meyler gave a lot of his fringe players game time ahead of their National League opener against Kilkenny under the lights in Pairc Ui Chaoimh on January 27th. Players like Declan Dalton, Rob O’Shea, Eoin Murphy and Brian Lawton who was captain on the day were given an opportunity to impress and despite been outplayed by their opposition throughout the game they didn’t throw in the towel and kept going until the final whistle which is all you could ask for.

Cathal Malone in control of the situation despite the close attention of Cork's Conor O'Sullivan Photo: Martin Connolly
Cathal Malone in control of the situation despite the close attention of Cork’s Conor O’Sullivan Photo: Martin Connolly

Clare got their first goal of this contest thanks to a great pass by Ian Galvin who found Peter Duggan in space and the full forward made no mistake in firing the ball past Anthony Nash. The Rebels responded with a point by Rob O’Shea before Clare’s second goal arrived in the ninth minute when Cathal Malone won a breaking and burst through the Cork defence before placing the ball into the bottom corner of the net. The Sixmilebridge man added a point to his tally and the Banner men looked in control of this game. Lorcan McLoughlin hit over a good point for the Rebels before Ian Galvin won possession and struck a marvellous point off his weaker right-hand side. Declan Dalton scored his first placed ball of this contest before the Banner men scored their third goal thanks to a great run by Conor McGrath and his attempted shot was blocked by the Cork defence but the ball broke to Peter Duggan who rifled the ball past Anthony Nash and Clare led by 3-02 to 0-03 after 16 minutes. The Cork Full-Back line looked vulnerable every time the Clare attack got the ball and Billy Connors added another point to extend the lead to nine points. The Rebels responded through Declan Dalton (free) and Eoghan Finn. Cathal Malone and Niall Deasy with the aid of his boot added points for the Bannermen which was sandwiched by a Daniel Kearney point to leave the gap at eight points after 25 minutes. Cork scored the last four points of the half through Declan Dalton 2 (frees), an inspirational score from the full back Eoin Murphy and Lorcan McLoughlin to leave the at the interval 3-05 to 0-10 in favour of Clare.

Clare's Billy Connors is beaten in a race for possession by Cork's David Griffin Photo: Martin Connolly
Clare’s Billy Connors is beaten in a race for possession by Cork’s David Griffin Photo: Martin Connolly

The Banner men started the second half the brighter thanks to two classy points by wing back Seadna Morey. David Reidy who came on as a second half substitute added another point to extend the lead to seven points. Rob O’Shea scored Cork’s opening point of the second half which was cancelled out by David Reidy. The Banner men scored another goal thanks to a great catch by Peter Duggan who had his path to goal blocked before the ball broke to Niall Deasy and placed the ball past Anthony Nash to leave the score at 4-09 to 0-11 after 49 minutes. John Looney responded for the Rebels before Clare hit a purple patch scoring five unanswered points thanks to Ryan Taylor who worked very hard throughout the game. Ian Galvin, Mikey O’Neill and two wonder points from former hurler of the year Tony Kelly left the gap at fourteen points. Cork to their credit didn’t give up and scored four points of their own through Rob O’Shea 2 (frees), Daniel Kearney and Full-Back Eoin Murphy. Mikey O’Neill added a second point to his name when been introduced. Luke Meade and Daniel Kearney tried to keep the score line more respectable by hitting long range points. The Banner men scored the last two of this contest through Ian Galvin and Niall Deasy (free). Clare had great performances by Ryan Taylor, David McInerney, Ian Galvin, Peter Duggan and Niall Deasy. Cork were best served by Rob O’Shea, Daniel Kearney, Lorcan McLoughlin and Eoin Murphy.

Clare: Patrick Kelly; Eoin Quirke, Conor Cleary, Patrick O’Connor; David Fitzgerald, David McInerney, Seadna Morey (0-2); Ryan Taylor (0-1), Colm Galvin; Ian Galvin (0-3), Cathal Malone (1-2), Niall Deasy (1-2,1f); Billy Connors (0-1), Peter Duggan (2-0), Conor McGrath.

Subs: Jack Browne for Quirke injured (17 mins), David Reidy (0-2) for C. Galvin (37 mins), Tony Kelly (0-2) for Malone (49 mins), Mikey O’Neill (0-2) for Connors (51 mins), Jason McCarthy (55 mins).

Cork: Anthony Nash; Conor O’Sullivan, Eoin Murphy (0-2), David Griffin; Chris O’Leary, Eoin Cadogan, Richard Cahalane; Lorcan McLoughlin (0-2), Luke Meade (0-1); Eoghan Finn (0-1), Brian Lawton, Daniel Kearney (0-3); Rob O’Shea (0-4,2fs), Evan O’Siochan, Declan Dalton (0-4fs).

Subs: John Looney (0-1), for Finn (26 mins), Ian Cahill for O’Siochan (47 mins), Connor Twomey for Cahalane (56 mins), Eoghan Keniry for Dalton (57 mins), John Cashman for O’Sullivan (64 mins).

Referee: John McCormack (Tipperary).

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