A scintillating third quarter salvo powered Clare to a first Munster Minor Hurling crown in twelve years on Tuesday evening.

Clare 1-19
Cork 0-15
Venue: FBD Semple Stadium, Thurles

Having suffered a heartbreaking penalty shoot-out reverse in last year’s decider, Clare had not only paid their dues but were patently determined to get over the line this time around.

Eoin Begley’s 35th minute goal, the first score of the second half, proved utterly decisive as it provided a jolt to Clare but also seemed to knock the stuffing out of Cork.

Having found it difficult to shake off the Barry Walsh-led Rebels with the aid of the conditions in the opening period at 0-10 to 0-9, Begley started and finished an incisive move that saw Marc O’Brien’s shot repelled by goalkeeper Fionn Murphy before his Ardscoil Ris team-mate superbly volleyed the rebound to the net.

With that, a buoyant Banner caught fire as O’Brien, Begley and outstanding duo Matthew O’Halloran and James Hegarty tacked on points to suddenly stretch the gap to eight by the 42nd minute at 1-14 to 0-9.

A shellshocked Cork finally picked themselves off the canvass, inevitably through Walsh but while they did lessen the damage to five at one stage, without a goal or even the hint of one, their chal-lenge fell on stoney ground.

Instead, Marc O’Brien kept the scoreboard ticking over for Clare to ensure that there would be no grandstand finish as in the end the scoreboard rather flattered the Rebels more than the win-ners.

Clare never trailed at any stage of this contest though, with the only threat to that statistic com-ing deep into first half injury-time when Conor McCarthy and Barry Walsh combined to tee up Brian Lynch for a glorious goal chance. However, James Hegarty implemented an inch-perfect hook before the rebound cannoned off the post for a relieved Banner to take a 0-10 to 0-9 cush-ion into the dressing rooms.

Hegarty, Ronan Keane, Matthew O’Halloran, Michael Collins and truly inspirational captain Eoghan Gunning performed heroically for a Clare side that demonstrated their superior balance with ten different scorers.

Second half impacts from Eoin Begley, substitute Harry Doherty’s fielding and Marc O’Brien’s unerring freetaking were crucial to Clare beating Cork in a Munster Minor Final for the very first time.

Scorers for Clare: Marc O’Brien (0-8, 7f); Eoin Begley (1-1); Matthew O’Halloran, James Hegarty (2f) (0-2 each); Eoin Oige Fanning, Eoghan Gunning, Jack Mescall, Sean Arthur, Michael Collins, Fred Hegarty (0-1 each)

Scorers for Cork: Barry Walsh (0-9, 5f); Jayden Casey, Barry O’Flynn (0-2 each); James O’Leary, Zack Biggane (0-1 each)

Clare
1: Mark Sheedy (Sixmilebridge)

3: Ronan Keane (Killanena)
2: Eoghan Gunning (Broadford)
4: Conor Rynne (Inagh-Kilnamona)

7: Jamie Moylan (Cratloe)
6: James Hegarty (Inagh-Kilnnamona)
9: Evan Price (Clarecastle)

5: Matthew O’Halloran (Sixmilebridge)
8: Jack Mescall (Inagh-Kilnamona)

12: Sean Arthur (Newmarket-on-Fergus)
11: Michael Collins (Clonlara)
10: Ronan Kilroy (Banner)

13: Eoin Ogie Fanning (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield)
14: Marc O’Brien (Cratloe)
15: Eoin Begley (Clonlara)

Subs
20: Harry Doherty (Clarecastle) for Fanning (HT)
17: Fred Hegarty (Inagh-Kilnamona) for Kilroy (47)
19: Mark O’Connor (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield) for Mescall (57)
22: Michael Power (Newmarket-on-Fergus) for Begley (59, inj)
21: Daire Neville (Cratloe) for Arthur (63)

Cork
16: Fionn Murphy (Killeagh)

2: Oier O’Callaghan (Liscarroll Churchtown Gaels)
3: Darragh McCarthy (Passage)
4: Carthaigh Cronin (Midleton)

5: Cillian O’Callaghan (Dungourney)
7: David O’Leary (Ballincollig)
18: Johnny Galvin (Éire Óg)

8: James O’Leary (Lisgoold)
9: Conor McCarthy (Glen Rovers)

10: Johnny Murphy (Dromina)
11: Zack Biggane (Charleville)
12: Barry Walsh (Killeagh)

13: Brian Lynch (Youghal)
14: Barry O’Flynn (Sarsfields)
15: Finn O’Brien (Erins Own)

Subs
19: Jayden Casey (Youghal) for Lynch (38)
23: Ronan Dooley (Douglas) for O’Brien (46)
6: Ben Walsh (Killeagh) for McCarthy (47)
17: Sean O’Callaghan (Aghada) for Cronin (50)
22: Conor McCarthy (St Finbarr’s) for Murphy (53)

Referee: Alan Tierney (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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