Cork ease to Munster final meeting with Kerry
Rebels always had another gear against Clare at Cusack Park
Cork’s Graham Canty tackles Gary Brennan of Clare at Cusack Park . Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Cork 1-20 Clare 1-11: Cork had a most comfortable victory over a spirited Clare at Cusack Park today, earning themselves a Munster final spot against Kerry on July 7th.
Conor Counihan’s men came to the Clare capital with a view to setting down a marker as to their title ambitions for the year and many in the crowd of 3,774 could see a certain ruthless streak in the Leesiders as they raced into a 0-7 to no score lead by the 18th minute.
The game played in a constant drizzle that made handling difficult at times, seemed to be heading for a complete rout early on as the Cork attack pick off their points against a Clare defence that appeared run ragged.
In the opening moments the Banner displayed a certain nervousness and this manifested itself when David Tubridy kicked a scoreable 13m free wide, in the second minute. The jitters lasted a full 19 minutes for Mick O’Dwyer’s men until corner-forward Shane McGrath opened their account with a close range free that was set up by Tubridy and team captain Gary Brennan.
It settled the hosts and they then went on to score a further three without reply in as many minutes.
When Rory Donnelly landed a fine point from the right sideline on 27 minutes, the scoreboard now read Cork 0-7, Clare 0-5. But it was as close as they got.
Cork’s Fintan Gould and Tubridy exchanged points before a Daniel Goulding goal, somewhat against the run of play.
A defensive error by goalie Joe Hayes due to the slippery conditions handed the Cork attack a gift and Goulding capitalised from close range.
The Rebels were back in the saddle by half time and lead 1-11 to 0-7 at the whistle with some late scores by Brian Hurley, Paul Kerrigan and Goulding from a 20m free.
After the break Kerrigan made it eight of a difference with an ealy Cork point, before a defiant Clare struck back with a goal in the 38th minute. Midfielder Cathal O’Connor, despite slipping on the greasy surface managed to deliver a high dropping ball into bowels of the Cork defence.
Gary Brennan, who was now operating at full-forward fielded, turned and blasted past Ken O’Halloran in the Cork goal from the edge of the square. He made it 1-12 to 1-7 and raised a ray of hope for the home fans.
Instead, it rallied Cork and, like the first half, Counihan’s charges came thundering back to emphasise their dominance. Some fine scores from Goulding, Gould, John O’Rourke and substitutes Donnacha O’Connor and Ciaran Sheehan ensured that their assumed meeting next month with Kerry was not in doubt.