Cork and Clare serve up final for the ages
Replay may be first All-Ireland final to be played under lights
Fans from both counties watching the thrilling final moments of the match in Croke Park yesterday. Photograph: Cyril Byrne
This is becoming a habit. A glorious, thundering, life-affirming habit. For the second year in a row, the All-Ireland hurling final will go to a replay after Clare and Cork played out a 0-25 to 3-16 draw that made the spine tingle and left the head in a swim.
In front of 81,651 rapt spectators at Croke Park yesterday, Clare corner-back Domhnall O’Donovan surged forward in injury-time to score his first ever point in a Clare jersey. All square. Come back and do it again in three weeks.
“It was everything we had worked for,” said Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald. “Our dreams were on the line. The only time we were behind in the whole feckin’ game. I mean, I could not believe it, that we were behind. Because I didn’t think we deserved to be. And when he got it . . . hats off to him.”
All concerned would agree with him. Clare didn’t deserve to be behind. They’d been the better side throughout and Cork’s only lead of the day came when Patrick Horgan nipped them ahead in the 70th minute.
It would have been desperately harsh on Clare to have lost out on the back of it.
But Clare’s inability to plunder any goals was what kept Cork in the game. Every time they looked to stretch clear, Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s side pulled them back.
Second-half goals from Conor Lehane, Anthony Nash and Pa Cronin meant that Cork were running with appreciably longer strides than Clare and they were almost enough to steal JBM’s team an All-Ireland against the head.
But not quite. The replay is set for Saturday, September 28th, almost certainly at 5pm, which will make it the first All-Ireland final to be played under lights. As with last year, the GAA have cut ticket prices for the game – stand tickets down to €50 and terrace tickets down to €25.