*Ciaran Downes collides with Matty Taylor. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

CLARE’s senior footballers have lost out to Cork by two points in the opening round of the All-Ireland SFC.

Cork 1-13
Clare 1-11
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis

In what was viewed as the most winnable contest for Clare in the All-Ireland series, there will be great disappointment at their inability to prevail in a home contest against Cork.

Key to this outcome was their poor first half display where they failed to score from play, rushed shots and were severely punished by a more clinical Cork outfit.

Following the jubilation of defeating Cork for the first time since 1997 in championship last season, coming up short against the Rebels as they attempted to bounce back from a largely positive Munster final display where they lost out by seven points to Kerry, is a setback for Clare.

Cork controlled the opening half as Clare struggled to put their own stamp on proceedings. They kicked the first three points by the eighth minute, Ciaran Downes converting a free on eleven minutes after Stephen Ryan was fouled.

Centre forward Seán Powter struck for goal to further hit Clare, midfielder Colm O’Callaghan had the pass to a seemingly unmarked Powter who lobbed the ball over Ryan and with sixteen minutes played the visitors led 1-3 0-1.

Three frees from Emmet McMahon had Clare trailing by five points at the interval with Paul Walsh and Chris Óg Jones pointing for Cork before the half-time whistle sounded.

A noticeable improvement followed from Clare on the restart, Brian McNamara setting the way by launching a storming run from the throw-in to set up Daniel Walsh for Clare’s first score from play.

Walsh kicked another effort to reduce the gap to three points with thirty nine minutes played. Paul Walsh opened Cork’s second half tally two minutes later.

Hope began to grow further for Clare after Aaron Griffin goaled, corner back Manus Doherty not for the first time made a lung-busting run up the wing to set up the Lissycasey man who kicked the ball on the ground beyond Christopher Kelly to leave a single point between the sides.

On the fifty seventh minute Clare were level after Ciaran Downes converted a free but Cork replied via Tommy Walsh and Steven Sherlock to regain their influence. Jamie Stack kicked his first championship score, Emmet McMahon added another free while Dermot Coughlan opened his tally but it was insufficient as Cork tapped on scores via Mark Cronin on the double and a Sherlock free to emerge winners.

There will be frustration within the Clare ranks over their first half display and this period is likely to be referenced when their All-Ireland championship campaign is reviewed. They upped the ante in the second half but found it very difficult to counter Cork in the opening half. Manus Doherty and Ikem Ugwueru stood out for Clare while Colm O’Callaghan, Paul Walsh, Matty Taylor, Christopher Kelly and Tommy Walsh were best for the winners.

Scorers for Cork: B Hurley (0-3, 0-1 free); S Powter (1-0); S Sherlock (0-1 free), M Cronin (0-1 free), P Walsh (0-2 each); T Walsh, C O’Callaghan, C Óg Jones, C Corbett (0-1 each).

Scorers for Clare: E McMahon (0-5, 0-5 frees); A Griffin (1-0); C Downes (0-1 free, 0-1 45), D Walsh (0-2 each); D Coughlan, J Stack (0-1 each).

Cork:
1: Christopher Kelly (Éire Óg)

3: Daniel O’Mahony (Knockagree)
2: Kevin Flahive (Douglas)
4: Maurice Shanley (Clonakilty)

5: Rory Maguire (Castlehaven)
6: Tommy Walsh (Kanturk)
7: Matty Taylor (Mallow)

9: Colm O’Callaghan (Éire Óg)
8: Ian Maguire (St Finbarr’s)

12: Brian O’Donnell (Carrigaline)
11: Seán Powter (Douglas)
10: Paul Walsh (Kanturk)

13: Chris Óg Jones (Uibh Laoire)
14: Conor Corbett (Cylda Rovers)
15: Brian Hurley (Castlehaven)

Subs:
25. Mark Cronin (Nemo Rangers) for Powter (56)
26. Steven Sherlock (St Finbarr’s) for Óg Jones (59)
24. Ruairí Deane (Bantry Blues) for Corbett (59)
23. Eoghan McSweeney (Knocknagree) for Hurley (66)
20. John O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers) for Walsh (73)

Clare:
1: Stephen Ryan (Kilrush Shamrocks)

3: Cillian Brennan (Clondegad)
2: Manus Doherty (Éire Óg)
4: Ronan Lanigan (Éire Óg)

7: Ikem Ugwueru (Éire Óg)
6: Cillian Rouine (Ennistymon)
5: Alan Sweeney (St Breckan’s)

9: Brian McNamara (Cooraclare)
8: Darragh Bohannon (Shannon Gaels)

12: Gavin Murray (Éire Óg)
11: Dermot Coughlan (Kilmurry Ibrickane)
10: Daniel Walsh (Kilmurry Ibrickane)

13: Emmet McMahon (Kildysart)
15: Ciaran Downes (Kilmihil)
14: Aaron Griffin (Lissycasey)

Subs:
17: Micheál Garry (Cooraclare) for Sweeney (32)
21. Éinne O’Connor (Éire Óg) for Murray (52)
25. Jamie Stack (St Breckan’s) for Downes (57)
24. Joe McGann (St Breckan’s) for Griffin (66)
19. Mark McInerney (Éire Óg) for Rouine (73).

Referee: Seán Lonergan (Tipperary)

 

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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