*Niall O’Farrell. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Clare fell short by six points as reigning All-Ireland champions Cork moved clear in the second half of Friday night’s oneills.com Munster U20HC clash at SuperValu Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

Cork 2-22
Clare 1-19
Venue: Páirc Uí Chaoimh

Leading by seven points at stages in the first half after a superb start, Clare saw that lead whittled down to three coming up to half-time after being reduced to 14 players and Cork seized the initiative early in the second period.

Though they fell seven behind at one stage, Clare were back to within three when same James Organ scored a fine late goal, but Cork ensured that they hold on to make it two wins from two.

Nevertheless, Clare can take much encouragement from the performance as they face into a three-week break before facing Waterford. Three years ago, the counties met at minor level and 40 points separated them but, infused with many of the start of last year’s minor win, Clare put it up to Cork for long periods.

Opted to try to pressurise the hosts with three men inside, Clare had the wind in the first half and made it count from the off, with Conor Whelan pointing inside 14 seconds. The Whitegate man’s eye was in from dead balls and, with Cork unable to make headway, Clare added point after point. Jack O’Neill, Michael Collins and James Hegarty were all on target and it was 0-8 to 0-1 when Seán Rynne pointed in the 12th minute.

Two from Ronan Kilroy helped Clare to hold that advantage, and while Cork did eat into the deficit slightly, it was still 0-11 to 0-5 when a scuffle broke out after Cork won a line ball.

Three yellow cards were shown – Clare’s Jack O’Neill and Cork’s Ben Walsh as well as Clare manager Terence Fahy – but another skirmish followed before play resumed. Based on his linesman’s advice, referee Nicky O’Toole sent off Clare’s Ronan Keane, who had scored a great point shortly before that.

Cork made the advantage count almost immediately, with two points followed by a goal from O’Sullivan, who netted the rebound after a great Mark Sheedy save to deny Diarmuid Healy.

Points from Ronan O’Connor and Whelan ensured Clare retired with a 0-13 to 1-8 lead and Whelan made it a three-point game again when action resumed that was as good as it got for Clare.

Cork managed to wipe that out with three quick points from Jack Leahy, William Buckley and Healy before Leahy fired home a brilliant goal. It gave Ben O’Connor’s team the lead for the first time and they pushed on from there.

When sub Eoin O’Leary pointed in the 49th minute, it was 2-18 to 0-17 for Cork but another Whelan point was followed by Organ’s goal, the sub doing well to claim a delivery from Jack O’Neill.

They couldn’t come closer than that, and needed Sheedy to make a good save to deny O’Leary in the closing stages, but they can bounce back against Waterford and may yet be facing Cork again.

Scorers for Cork: Jack Leahy 1-6 (0-2f), William Buckley 0-8 (0-3f, 0-1 65), Mikey Finn 0-3, Ross O’Sullivan 1-0, James Dwyer, Eoin O’Leary 0-2 each, Diarmuid Healy 0-1.

Scorers for Clare: Conor Whelan 0-10 (0-8f), James Organ 1-0, Ronan Kiroy 0-2, Seán Rynne, Jack O’Neill, James Hegarty, Niall O’Farrell, Michael Collins, Ronan O’Connor, Ronan Keane 0-1 each.

CORK:

1. Paudie O’Sullivan

2. Denis Cashman
3. Kevin Lyons
4. Darragh O’Sullivan

5. James Dwyer
6. Oran O’Regan
7. Cillian Tobin

8. Mikey Finn
9. Ben Walsh

12. David Cremin
13. William Buckley
10. Diarmuid Healy

11. Tadhg O’Connell
14. Jack Leahy
15. Ross O’Sullivan

Subs:
23. Eoin O’Leary for Ross O’Sullivan (44)
22. Adam O’Sullivan for O’Connell (46)
19. Peter O’Shea for Tobin (54)
17. James O’Brien for Cashman (56-58, temporary)
24. Barry Walsh for Cremin (60)

CLARE:
1. Mark Sheedy (Sixmilebridge)

2. John Cahill (Clooney-Quin)
3. Tony Leyden (Tulla)
6. James Hegarty (Inagh-Kilnamona)

7. Jamie Moylan (Cratloe)
9. Eoghan Gunning (Broadford)
17. Evan Maxted (Clooney-Quin)

4. Ronan Keane (Killanena)
8. Ronan O’Connor (Feakle)

12. Ronan Kilroy (Banner)
11. Seán Rynne (Inagh-Kilnamona)
13. Niall O’Farrell (Broadford)

10. Conor Whelan (Whitegate)
15. Michael Collins (Clonlara)
14. Jack O’Neill (Clooney-Quin)

Subs:
18. James Organ (Corofin) for Collins (51)
20. Oisín O’Connor (Feakle) for Ronan O’Connor (52)
19. Liam Crotty (Scariff) for Kilroy (60)

Referee: Nicky O’Toole (Waterford)

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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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