Will Clare ever beat Cork in a championship decider again?
A map of Ireland that’s more than a little bottom heavy
For at least another few weeks, Cork’s haul of All-Ireland senior hurling titles remains at 30 – Clare have a comparatively paultry three, at least for the moment. Fortunately, Munster doesn’t actually get any physically bigger each time they claim the Liam MacCarthy Cup. If each county was rescaled according to senior hurling titles claimed, the map below would be the result. The AIRO map was created using the Gastner/Newman diffusion-based algorithm and processed in ArcGIS. As if we didn’t already know, the balance of hurling power is spread among a handful of counties in one half of the island.
THIS FIRST BIT IS A LITTLE DEPRESSING IF YOU’RE A CLARE HURLING SUPPORTER
Clare just cannot beat Cork in championship finals.
The two counties have obviously never met in an All-Ireland senior hurling decider before – however, they have met many times in different grades in provincial deciders.
And, remarkably, particularly in modern times, there has only ever been one winner.
Cork v Clare championship meetings
Munster Hurling finals (1970-2013)
Minor 1971, 1990 & 1998 Cork 3 Clare 0
Under-21 1976 & 1996 Cork 2 Clare 0
Junior 1992 & 1994 Cork 2 Clare 0
Intermediate 2001 Cork 1 Clare 0
Senior 1972, 1977, 1978, 1986 & 1999 Cork 5 Clare 0
Club Senior 1973, 1974, 1977 & 1978 Cork 4 Clare 0
Total meetings 17
Cork wins 17
Clare wins 0
(There was also one draw, in 1977, when St Finbarrs (Cork)
and Sixmilebridge (Clare) finished level in the club provincial decider. The Cork side won the replay by eight points.)
AGAINST THE ODDS
Too late now but . . .
Cork v Clare to end in a draw 11/1
ANTRIM HAVE QUITE A FEW POINTS TO MAKE UP
Just a few weeks ago we commented on the number of Ulster hurling fans who regularly make the pilgrimage to Thurles to watch big championship games.
It’s over 300km drive from Belfast to Thurles, whereas Ennis to Semple Stadium is only 115km (less for those brave Banner fans willing to negotiate the more direct, but hilly (to put it mildly) off-motorway route between Limerick and Thurles).
The location has been top of the agenda in Antrim ever since next weekend’s under-21 hurling final venue was announced shortly after the Ulster county’s amazing/ mind-blowing victory over Wexford in the semi-final.
We noticed at the weekend that a bookmakers are offering Clare at evens, with Antrim having a 15-point start. In other words, they expect Clare to beat Antrim by at least a point a man – the odds should be posted on the Ulster county’s dressingroom wall.
With yesterday’s draw, Clare supporters will have a lot of miles put up on their cars by the end of this season too, of course.
TIPP’S WOMEN MAKE EVERY SECOND COUNT
There were some murmuring after yesterday’s final from Cork fans who felt referee Brian Gavin allowed Clare a half-minute more than he should have to find an equaliser.
The few seconds allowed after the two minutes of originally allotted injury-time proved crucial.
As they did on Saturday when September Road witnessed GAA fans in Fermanagh jerseys in Thurles – an unusual sight.
The Erne County’s women’s football team were in Tipperary to play the local side in the intermediate All-Ireland semi-final.
And, with 48 seconds left, the Ulster side were winning by four points.
Time for the visiting supporters to celebrate you might think.
If what happened in the final minute had occurred in a men’s game the referee would be singled out for much comment. However, the women’s code has used the countdown clock for some time now.
There were exactly 48 seconds remaining when Niamh Longeran launched a kick that reduced the deficit to three points. Not 50 seconds. Not two minutes. 48 seconds.
There were 27 seconds remaining when Tipperary’s Claire Carroll then took advantage of a loose kickout to lob the stranded goalkeeper for the equalising goal.
And there was exactly one second left on the countdown clock when Lonergan shot from more than 25 meters out for the match-winning score.
The hooter sounded before the ball passed through the posts, but, as the ball had already left the boot of the Tipperary player, the score counted.
More than anything else, and considering the inevitable suspicion when a referee has control of a match’s time, it was a great advertisement for the countdown clock.
Time for men to take note?
Tomás Quinn @mossyquinn
I’d pay a lot of money to hear Davy Fitz’s pre game & half time team talks today. GAA need to start getting managers mic’ed up! #GAA
owen mulligan @owen_mulligan
Best game of hurling iv seen since the Ballinascreen boys took on the bouncers in the Glenavon night club in 96 #GAA
Jonathan Healy @jonathanhealy
We got out of dodge. And we were robbed. You have got to love #hurling.