Perfect trade-off for Clare with late victory over Cork

Late points from Jamie Malone and David Tubridy leave Cork’s promotion hopes in doubt

Cork’s Colm O’Neill in action against Clare’s Aaron Fitzgerald at Saturday’s Division Two clash at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

Cork’s Colm O’Neill in action against Clare’s Aaron Fitzgerald at Saturday’s Division Two clash at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday. Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

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Clare 0-14 Cork 0-12

Back in January, a late Cork goal denied Clare victory in the McGrath Cup final in Mallow, but Banner manager Colm Collins rationalised it at the time.

If the trade-off for losing that was winning in the league, it was one he would take, and that came to pass in Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday evening, with late points from Jamie Malone and David Tubridy giving the Banner victory.

It means they know a win at home to Louth next week will guarantee Division Two status while at the same time ending Cork’s promotion hopes and leaving a sliver of doubt that they might end up in the relegation quagmire.

“I said that day up in Mallow when we lost the McGrath Cup game to Cork that we’d trade that for the two points tonight, and that’s how it went,” Collins said.

“We felt we needed to go after the game because there was no point in being negative. We needed the two points more than Cork, in a way, and I thought we did.

“We had those two goal chances – I thought the second one was a stonewall penalty – but all over the pitch fellas worked hard, put in hard tackles, and I’m very proud of them.

“The win leaves our fate in our own hands, which is all you can ask in football. I’m delighted.”

Cork had led by 0-7 to 0-5 at half-time, coming strongly midway through the half as Ian Maguire, Mark Collins and Colm O’Neill had points. Before that, Clare had missed good goal chances for Malone and Seán O’Donoghue, but frees by David Tubridy kept them in the game.

Firmly in command

While Brennan’s point early in the second half was answered by O’Neill, Clare were firmly in command thereafter, scoring five of the next seven points, with Eoin Cleary getting three while Malone got his second as they led for the first time since very early in the game.

Mark Collins’s third brought Cork back to a point, only for Brennan to reply for Clare, but in the closing stages Stephen Sherlock and O’Neill had Cork level and sensing the unlikely victory which would keep them in the promotion hunt.

It wasn’t to be, though, as Malone and Brennan had the vital late points for Clare.

Clare’s Jamie Malone in action against Cork at Saturday’s Allianz Football League Division Two match in Páirc Uí Rinn Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho
Clare’s Jamie Malone in action against Cork at Saturday’s Allianz Football League Division Two match in Páirc Uí Rinn Photograph: Ken Sutton/Inpho

“We spurned a couple of good chances and we dropped a lot of ball short, which I wouldn’t be happy with,” Collins said, “but the spirit and honesty of these fellas is massive. When you’ve a team like that you just enjoy being part of it.”

Cork are away to Roscommon next week, and manager Ronan McCarthy acknowledged that defeats in their three home games have been costly.

“It’s a tough one now going to Roscommon and, depending on results, we may need something out of it to avoid relegation,” he said.

“The big disappointment out of tonight was we could have been going to Roscommon looking for promotion, but now we’re in a position where we may be needing a point to stay up in Division Two.

“But if you don’t take advantage of your home games, that’s the price you pay.”

CLARE: E Tubridy; C O’Dea, A Mac Gearailt, C Brennan; S O’Donoghue, E Collins, P Lillis; G Brennan (0-3), C O’Connor; K Malone, J Malone (0-3), S Collins; K Sexton (0-1), E Cleary (0-3, 1f), D Tubridy (0-4, 3f).

Subs: C Finucane for S Collins (67), S Malone for E Collins, A Sweeney for K Malone, E Courtney for D Tubridy (all 70).

CORK: M White; S Ryan, J O’Sullivan, K Crowley; M Taylor, K Flahive, T Clancy; I Maguire (0-1), K O’Hanlon; C Dorgan (0-1), M Collins (0-3, 2f), P Kelleher; J O’Rourke (0-2), C O’Neill (0-4, 1f), M Hurley.

Subs: S Sherlock (0-1) for Kelleher (55), D O’Connor for Dorgan (55), C Kiely for Taylor (60), S Wilson for Kiely (62, black card), D O’Callaghan for Hurley (69), M McSweeney for Clancy (70, black card).

Referee: P O’Sullivan (Kerry).

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