*Photograph: Ryan Byrne / Inpho
IN WHAT WILL go down as one of the greatest Munster Finals in recent times, Clare suffered an agonising defeat after two periods of extra time.
Venue: Páirc Uí Rinn
By Derek Dormer
This game had it all, fantastic scores, hooks, blocks and saves all keeping the huge crowd entertained for an exhilarating ninety minutes .
Coming down to the cauldron of Páirc Uí Rinn taking on most people’s favourites for the All-Ireland never yielding an inch these Clare heroes lost nothing in defeat. They put Cork to the pin of their collar forcing them to land a late equaliser in normal time and then again in extra time.
The second instalment of extra time was just too much for Conor Dolan and John Carmody’s charges as two tough tussles with Tipperary in the last two weeks finally caught up with them.
To their immense credit though they even when out on their feet kept going and Niamh O Dea’s late goal ensured a nervy finish but alas it wasn’t to be as experience ultimately told and it was Cork who emerged victorious.
Clare were first off the mark courtesy of two Lorna McNamara frees. Cork settled though and the sides were level three points apiece by the tenth minute.
Doireann Murphy whose status as one of the top inter-county keepers is rising, she produced an unbelievable save moments later when Emma Murphy fired from point blank range only to see Murphy somehow get a touch deflecting the ball out for a 45.
Inspired by this Clare would be the first onto the breaking ball, hunting in packs turning over possession they outscored Cork five points to one in the last ten minutes to lead 10 points to 7 at the interval.
The second half was compelling viewing, low on scores but high in intensity and entertainment. Clare led by one, 0-12 0-11 deep into injury time when Cork were awarded a free. Chloe Sigerson under immense pressure nailed it and we were off to extra time.
Trailing 0-17 0-14 at half time of extra time Clare hit four scores in quick succession to lead 18 points to seventeen but in a carbon copy of normal time Cork equalised with virtually the last puck as Amy O’Connor scored an incredible individual point forcing another extra time.
Showing all their experience and with tired Clare bodies all over the pitch Cork would hit six points without reply before O’Dea’s late goal.
A thrilling contest but alas no silverware in this occasion but immense pride can be taken from a heroic performance.
Scorers Cork: Amy O’Connor 0-10 (4f 1 45) Chloe Sigerson 0-7 ( 4f 2 45) Katrina Mackey 0-4 Orla Cronin Saoirse McCarthy Fiona Keating 0-1 each
Scorers Clare: Lorna McNamara 0- 9( 8f) Niamh O Dea 1-0 Chloe Morey 0-2 (2f) Aine O Loughlin Zi Yan Spillane Eimear Kelly 0-2 each Lynda Daly 0-1
1: Doireann Murphy
2: Ciara Grogan
3: Clare Hehir
4: Caoimhe Kelly
5: Aoife Keane
6: Chloe Morey
7: Susan Daly
8: Niamh O Dea
9: Caoimhe Carmody
10: Lynda Daly
11: Lorna McNamara
12: Muireann Scanlon
13: Eimear Kelly
14: Áine O Loughlin
15: Zi Yan Spillane
Alannah Ryan for Lynda Daly 53 mins
Greta Hickey for Muireann Scanlon 58 mins
Aoife Power for Niamh O Dea 60 mins inj
Niamh O Dea for Zi Yan Spillane Extra time
1: Amy Lee
2: Meabh Murphy
3: Libby Coppinger
4: Meabh Cahalane
5: Laura Hayes
6: Olivia McAllen
7: Saoirse McCarthy
8: Katie O’ Mahoney
9: Aisling Thompson
10: Izzy O’Regan
11: Fiona Keating
12: Emma Murphy
13: Amy O’ Connor
14: Chloe Sigerson
15: Katrina Mackey
Orla Cronin for Emma Murphy HT,
Aoife Hurley for katie O Mahoney 48 mins
Ciara O’ Sullivan for Izzy O’Regan 60 mins
Referee: Mike Ryan (Tipperary)