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Clare have exited the Munster U20 football championship after giving reigning All-Ireland champions Cork a stern test on Wednesday evening.

Cork 1-12
Clare 2-07
Venue: Hennessy Memorial Park, Miltown Malbay

In what club officials have reliably told The Clare Echo was the first instance of its occurrence, spectators on roller blades glided around Hennessy Memorial Park before throw-in. Equally, Clare were vying to dethrone All-Ireland champions in Miltown Malbay for the first time.

Despite an optimistic end to the first half, Clare failed to back it up in the second half and subsequently saw their time in the competition come to an abrupt halt.

Cork settled quicker and had 1-02 on the scoreboard inside ten minutes. The space in front of their full-forward line was teeing up both Mark Cronin and Blake Murphy for scoring opportunities throughout the half.

Their goal stemmed from two Clare errors. Goalkeeper Tom O’Brien struggled to keep a Cork shot in play, the resulting 45 from Blake Murphy was dropped by Daniel Walsh which gifted Jack Murphy a glorious chance which he duly obliged on.

Both Walsh and O’Brien made amends for their mistakes as the half progressed. O’Brien denied Blake Murphy a certain goal while Walsh was on hand to stimulate several attacks from the young men in saffron and blue.

Shane Meehan got Clare off the mark on eleven minutes. He made an excellent offload while falling down to the ground in his next move to tee up Emmet McMahon for their first goal of the game. Cork goalkeeper Josh O’Keeffe aided their attack as his kickout went directly to Mark McInerney who was more than delight to find Meehan with his pass.

Two consecutive points were slotted over by Cork only for Clare to reply with 1-01 from Éire Óg’s Mark McInerney. The goal demonstrated excellent team work with Daniel Walsh starting the move which included superb combination from Meehan, McMahon, Cillian Rouine and Diarmuid O’Donnell. The green flag shoved the Banner one point ahead as Brendan Griffin sounded the half-time whistle.

Home supporters were optimistic at the break but such positivity soon evaporated in the third quarter as Cork hit six points without reply. Clare had to wait until the fifty second minute to get out of the traps, a time lapse which was far too long. Michael Neylon’s side didn’t give in and outscored Cork once again in the closing moments, this time it was 0-04 0-00 in their favour for the final ten minutes which included additional time.

Noticeably both managers had clipboards nestled in their arms for the contest. Neylon opted for a green one but Cork’s Keith Ricken sporting one from the beige variety. Statistics of a wide range were collated, the crucial one of course being the final score but on wides they were level with twelve each, Clare struggled in the air once again and this was evident through their kickouts where they won 58 percent.

Deservedly Clare received a strong round of applause as they made their way into the dressing room, not long after the final whistle. Their two game campaign overall was positive but the need to learn lessons from this defeat is essential. For Neylon’s side, Manus Doherty, Shane Meehan and Daniel Walsh were best.

Jack Lawton, Mark Cronin, Éanna O’Hanlon, Daniel O’Connell and Diarmuid Phelan stood out for the winners who will face Kerry in the Munster Final.

Scorers Cork: B Murphy (0-08 6f 1’45 1Mark), J Murphy (1-00), M Cronin (0-03 1f), F Herlihy (0-01).

Scorers Clare: M McInerney (1-04 3f), E McMahon (1-01), S Meehan (0-01), O Looney (0-01).

1: Josh O’Keeffe (Newmarket)

2: Colm O’Shea (Kilshannig)
3: Daniel O’Mahony (Knocknagree)
4: Diarmuid Phelan (Aghada)

5: David Buckley (Newcestown)
6: Billy Foley (Bantry Blues)
7: Brian Lynch (Douglas)

8: Jack Lawton (Argideen Rangers)
9: Daniel O’Connell (Kanturk)

10: Jack Murphy (Eire Og)
11: Aodán O Luasa (Naomh Aban)
12: Brian Hayes (St Finbarr’s)

13: Mark Cronin (Nemo Rangers), joint captain,
14: Fionn Herlihy (Dohenys)
15: Bllake Murphy (St Vincent’s), joint captain.

21: Éanna O’Hanlon (Kilshannig) for Foley (HT)
19: Eoghan Lehane (Canovee) for Lynch (34),
22: Conor Corbett (Clyde Rovers) for Hayes (34),
18: Sean Desmond (Clondrohid) for Phelan (62)
23: Jack Kelleher (Canovee) for Corbett (64) (Inj)

1: Tom O’Brien (St Josephs Doora/Barefield)

2: Manus Doherty (Éire Óg)
3: Micheál Murray (St Josephs Miltown)
4: Ciarán McMahon (Ennistymon)

5: Daniel Walsh (Kilmurry Ibrickane)
6: Cillian Rouine (Ennistymon)
7: Sean Conway (Doonbeg)

8: Oisin Looney (St Josephs Miltown)
9: Eoin Rouine (Ennistymon)

10: John Murphy (Ennistymon)
11: Emmet McMahon (Kildysart)
12: Thomas Clancy (O’Currys)

13: Diarmuid O’Donnell (Kildysart)
14: Shane Meehan (Banner)
15: Mark McInerney (Éire Óg)

17: Morgan Garry (Clondegad) for O’Donnell (36)
18: Gavin D’Auria (Éire Óg) for Murray (52),
19: Eoghan Thynne (St Josephs Doora/Barefield) for Clancy (53)
20: Cian McDonagh (St Josephs Doora/Barefield) for Conway (60).

Referee: Brendan Griffin (Kerry)

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