*Clare’s Peter Duggan. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

CLARE prevailed in a nail-biting contest against Cork to get their Munster campaign back on track.

Clare 3-26
Cork 3-24
Venue: Páirc Uí Chaoimh

In what is a first Munster senior championship win in Páirc Uí Chaoimh since it was redeveloped for Clare’s senior hurlers they did it the hard way but they did it and remain in the hunt for the Mick Mackey Cup which following the major disappointment of the collapse against Limerick in the opening round was the primary objective.

Darragh Lohan’s expected absence from the team was confirmed half an hour before throw-in but with it came the surprise blow that Tony Kelly was not part of Clare’s matchday panel, the four-time All Star having not helped his recovery from ankle surgery when introduced last weekend against Limerick. The decision to start Cian Galvin when not giving him any game time against the Treaty County was a move that raised eyebrows.

Shane O’Donnell’s goal on fifty seven minutes gave Clare the lead for the first time in the second half and the sending off of Cork defender Sean O’Donoghue was a big turning point in the outcome.

This game had as many twists and turns as the Dunkettle Interchange or Corkscrew Hill, whichever takes your fancy, it was Clare that were on top when the final whistle sounded.

Clare had a lively start and had three points on the board by the fourth minute, Cork’s home crowd were lifted by Tim O’Mahony’s long range effort on five minutes and by the eighth minute they were level once again.

Indeed the sides were level on a total of seven occasions during a tight opening half.

Momentum appeared to be turning towards Cork but a sideline cut from Mark Rodgers on the twentieth minute gave Clare a big lift. Aidan McCarthy continued to be clinical from placed balls while a long-range boomer from David McInerney was also an importance score from Brian Lohan’s side.

Cork’s inside line were causing problems, aided by an inordinate amount of space in front of Clare’s full-back line. They threatened for a green flag on several occasions, Eibhear Quilligan made a great save from Alan Connolly but the sliotar was promptly flicked away by Adam Hogan.

Connolly was then denied by the crossbar in his next chance while Patrick Horgan had a shot stopped by Quilligan on twenty nine minutes.

It was the Rebels who dominated the end of the opening half and hit four of the last five points to go in leading 0-14 0-12 at the interval. There was definitely surprise when no half-time change was made by the Clare management with several players fortunate to have not received the curly finger.

A glorious start fell the way of the Leesiders when Patrick Horgan goaled on thirty five minutes. Declan Dalton provided the delivery to the experienced Glen Rovers man and a slip by Adam Hogan helped him on his way to scoop the sliotar over Quilligan. Seamus Harnedy Horgan and Dalton added points to see Cork tap over 1-3 without reply and carve out a seven point lead.

McCarthy with a free and Rodgers from play helped them stem the tide before Scariff’s sharpshooter raided for a goal, John Conlon finding Shane O’Donnell before he turned his man and popped to Rodgers.

David Reidy fired over two points on the trot to bring Clare to within a point, Horgan traded placed balls with McCarthy before an excellent Darragh Fitzgibbon score was answered with two McCarthy white flags and suddenly Clare were back on level terms. The cause was strengthened when Sean O’Donoghue picked up a second yellow card for an off the ball tackle on O’Donnell, this seconds after he made a goal-saving block on Rodgers.

Their next score put them in front when David Fitzgerald gave possession to Diarmuid Ryan, he made a brilliant run up the field and offloaded to O’Donnell who struck home for Clare’s second goal on fifty seven minutes.

Fitzgerald then left the sliotar in the roof of Patrick Collins’ net on sixty two minutes giving Clare a six point lead heading down the final furlong.

A 21m free from Horgan was expertly smashed to the back of the Clare net to quickly reduce the lead and guarantee a nervy conclusion.

Vital scores from Peter Duggan, Diarmuid Ryan and Mark Rodgers would prove sufficient for the visitors despite the concession of a late goal to Robert Downey.

Pat Ryan and his management had their homework done on Clare and certainly quelled key men and exploited areas in the opening half. They struggled to maximise their dangerous inside line for enough spells in the game and a big downfall of theirs was their inability to retain possession on restarts from Patrick Collins.

For Clare the championship is still alive, make no mistake they made very hard work of this contest but with a history of not winning in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, there is now a monkey off the back and their season is still burning. They have a break until May 19th where they welcome Waterford to Ennis and will look to put successive wins together. Defensively Clare were under pressure at times and didn’t cope when ran at through the middle.

Shane O’Donnell once again led the way for Clare, he and Mark Rodgers were Clare’s most consistent players while big second half performances were given by a number of players such as David Reidy.

Scorers Clare: A McCarthy (0-10 8f), M Rodgers (1-6 1’SC 1f), S O’Donnell (1-1), D Fitzgerald (1-1), D Reidy (0-3), D Ryan (0-2), P Duggan (0-2), D McInerney (0-1)

Scorers for Cork: P Horgan 2-10 (1-7f, 0-2 65), D Dalton 0-4 (0-3f), S Harnedy 0-3, R Downey 1-0, D Fitzgibbon, A Connolly 0-2, T O’Mahony, C Joyce, S Kingston 0-1 each.

Clare:
1. Eibhear Quilligan (Feakle)

2. Adam Hogan (Feakle)
3. Conor Cleary (St Joseph’s Miltown)
4. Rory Hayes (Wolfe Tones)

5. Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe)
6. John Conlon (Clonlara)
7. David McInerney (Tulla)

10. Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge)
20. Cian Galvin (Clarecastle)

8. David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona)
15. David Reidy (Éire Óg)
12. Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin)

14. Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg)
13. Aidan McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona)
11. Mark Rodgers (Scariff)

Subs:
19. Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge) for Galvin (51)
17. Conor Leen (Corofin) for McInerney (61)
18. Paul Flanagan (Ballyea) for Conlon (69)
23. Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones) for McCarthy (73)

Cork:
1: Patrick Collins (Ballinhassig)

2: Niall O’ Leary (Castlelyons)
3: Eoin Downey (Glen Rovers)
4: Sean O’ Donoghue (Inniscarra) (c)

5: Tim O’ Mahony (Newtownshandrum)
6: Ciaran Joyce (Castlemartyr)
7. Robert Downey (Glen Rovers)

8: Ethan Twomey (St.Finbarr’s)
9: Darragh Fitzgibbon (Charleville)

10: Declan Dalton (Fr O’Neill’s)
11: Shane Barrett (Blarney)
12: Seamus Harnedy (St Ita’s)

13: Brian Hayes (St Finbarr’s)
14: Alan Connolly (Blackrock)
15: Patrick Horgan (Glen Rovers)

Subs:
20. Mark Coleman (Blarney) for Twomey (48)
23. Robbie O Flynn (Erin’s Own) for (50)
21.Luke Meade (Newcestown) for Harnedy (53)
22.Shane Kingston (Douglas) for (58)
17.Damien Cahalane (St Finbarr’s) for O’Mahony (64)

Referee: James Owens (Wexford)

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

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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