Cork have defeated Clare in the Munster senior hurling final for the second year in succession as the Banner’s twenty year wait for a provincial title stretches on.
During the week the people of Clare had to deal with the tar on their roads melting and on Sunday they had to endure their hearts slowly breaking in the second half of this contest as they slowly but surely lost their grip on proceedings.
Very little separated the sides in the opening quarter and in this period they were level on three occasions. Clare gave themselves a cushion on sixteen minutes when David Reidy with his first touch of the game fired past Anthony Nash with the goal created by a Tony Kelly run that saw the Ballyea man cover at least 30m in ground.
John Conlon was a thorn in Cork’s side in the opening half, the Clonlara man scored 0-05 from play and every time he was in possession danger loomed for the Rebels. He put Clare four clear after Reidy’s goal with a Patrick O’Connor catch launching the attack.
Cork mainly through Patrick Horgan had the gap back to three points on thirty minutes only for a long range free to be flicked to the back of their net by Peter Duggan and put the game firmly back in Clare’s control. Conlon was on target once more to extend the advantage to eight points but it was cut in half before James McGrath blew the final whistle.
Luke Meade was the one to benefit as the Banner switched off following Conlon’s fifth point, the Newcestown man ended up one on one with Donal Tuohy and he made no mistake. John Meyler’s side received another massive life when Mark Coleman pointed a wonderful sideline cut right before the interval.
Clare were the first team on the field after the break as Cork took their time, it was the opposite from their first round meeting but unlike that day it was the side last to the field that took control in the second half. Here, the Rebels outscored Clare 1-14 1-08.
Darragh Fitzgibbon proved to be a real leader for the Leesiders in the second half, setting the tone and hitting two points in the process. Likewise captain, Seamus Harnedy came to the fore playing a true captain’s role.
There is an old cliché in the sporting world about it being a game of two halves but in Thurles we saw a team of two halves, a Clare that dictated and a Clare that bowed down. Unfortunately for the Banner it was in the second half that they let up.
This was a game that Clare should have won, it was one in which they scored the lowest tally of points in the whole Munster campaign. John Conlon ruled the roost in the opening half, the supply of ball to him vanished in the second half and nothing was done to bring him into the game. He and Patrick O’Connor were the best players for the Banner who must now refocus for the All-Ireland quarter-final.
For the Rebels, Harnedy, Fitzgibbon, Mark Coleman and Daniel Kearney stood out.
MORE TO FOLLOW
1. Anthony Nash – Kanturk
2. Sean O Donoghue – Inniscarra
3. Damien Cahalane – St Finbarr’s
4. Colm Spillane – Castlelyons
7. Mark Coleman – Blarney
5. Christopher Joyce – Na Piarsaigh
6. Eoin Cadogan – Douglas
8. Darragh Fitzgibbon – Charleville
9. Bill Cooper – Youghal
10. Daniel Kearney – Sarsfields
15. Patrick Horgan – Glen Rovers
13. Luke Meade – Newcestown
12. Seamus Harnedy – St Ita’s ( Capt )
11. Conor Lehane – Midleton
14. Shane Kingston – Douglas
20. Lorcan McLoughlin – Kanturk for Kearney (60)
22. Michael Cahalane – Bandon for Meade (63)
24. Robbie O Flynn – Erins Own for Kingston (58)
1. Donal Tuohy (Crusheen)
2. Patrick O’Connor (Tubber) – CAPTAIN
3. David McInerney (Tulla)
4. Jack Browne (Ballyea)
5. Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge)
6. Conor Cleary (St Josephs Miltown)
7. Jamie Shanahan (Sixmilebridge)
8. Colm Galvin (Clonlara)
9. Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge)
10. Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin)
11. Tony Kelly (Ballyea)
12. David Reidy (Éire Óg Inis)
13. Podge Collins (Cratloe)
14. John Conlon (Clonlara)
15. Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg Inis)
18. Jason McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona) for Malone (49)
19. David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona) for Shanahan (59)
23. Ian Galvin (Clonlara) for Cleary (66)
25. Conor McGrath (Cratloe) for O’Donnell (55)
26. Daragh Corry (Tulla) for Reidy (62)
Referee: James McGrath (Westmeath)