*Terence Fahy and Brendan Bugler issue the instructions. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
CLARE’S U20 HURLERS were left heartbroken after falling to defeat in Monday’s Munster final.
Cork rallied with eight of the final eleven scores to run out two point winners, the final score reading 1-23 1-21 in their favour.
It looked as though Clare, aided by a strong third quarter where a Sean Rynne goal was among the scores as they outscored the Rebels 1-08 0-05 was pushing them towards glory which magnified the pain of defeat. “That’s heartbreaking, to be there and be so close to it, to have edged ahead and not to see it out is very disappointing,” manager Terence Fahy reflected.
Speaking to The Clare Echo, the Whitegate native outlined that there was a sense of frustration in their dressing room on the Ennis Rd of the Gaelic Grounds following their first half showing where they trailed by four points.
Fahy said, “We weren’t happy with our performance in the first half, we weren’t up to our performance level against Tipperary in that first half and the players were keen to address that, they came out with a storming third quarter and that is usually a big shift in matches, we didn’t see it out but Cork are an exceptional team with exceptional players, they had a lot of class and they were better than us at the end but only by a fraction”.
That Cork were made sweat for the win was clear with the jubilant reaction of Ben O’Connor when Ben Cunningham converted the final score of the evening. “There was nothing in the game, it was a tremendous Munster campaign. You could throw a blanket over the teams, Cork were seen to be a bit out in front but our lads upped the level in the second half, we’re very disappointed, it is heartbreaking for them, they’ve put in some effort”.
He added, “We had to make a lot of inroads in a lot of areas the last day and in ways we did but their class came through in the end”.
According to the secondary school teacher, there was nothing more Clare could have done to overturn the result. “Our goalie was magnificent, our freetaker was magnificent and their freetaker was magnificent, there was nothing between the teams and that was the thing, just the few breaking balls, we went up trying to get a score, we didn’t get it and they broke down the field, there was a lot of space and they put a great ball in, they put a great ball in and that put a bit of breathing space there, they are a classy team and congratulations to them”.
“You’d have to be very proud of the players, everything that was asked of them was given,” he concluded as his second year in charge of the county’s U20 hurlers ended.