By Michael Moynihan, Mallow
Cork 3-13 - Clare 3-12: This McGrath Cup final ended in the proverbial welter of excitement - it went the home side’s way, Cork’s two-goal scoring burst early in the first half laying the foundations for victory, but they needed a 73rd-minute winning goal from Stephen Sherlock.
It was deep in injury time when Sherlock struck, with Cork second best for the entire second half Clare looked sure to win, but at the death Cork snatched the win.
In the fifth minute, a good Kevin Crowley run ended with the centre-forward placing Mark Collins for a calmly-taken Cork goal. Within a minute Stephen Sherlock had rounded his man and finished well to the net: 2-02 to 0-01 on seven minutes.
Clare didn’t lie down but with Cathal Vaughan and Michael Hurley on song they were 2-08 to 0-04 down late in the first half, when Keelan Sexton hit a fine goal, leaving the score 2-08 to 1-04 at the break.
Clare stormed into the second half, hitting 1-04 without reply. They were level at the three-quarter stage and a long ball from Eimhin Courtney squirted past Cork ‘keeper Mark White for the crucial score.
Clare saw their crossbar rattled by Padraig Clancy in the 70th minute and Sherlock had an injury-time shot turned away by Roche.
Sherlock pointed a free to make it a two-point game and then hit that dramatic late winner.
Scorers for Cork: S. Sherlock (3 frees, 2-03); M. Collins (1-01); M. Hurley (0-04) C. Vaughan (1 free, 0-03); C. Kiely, D. O’Callaghan (0-01 each).
Scorers for Clare: E. Courtney (1-03); C. Finucane (3 frees 0-05); K. Sexton (1-01); C. O’Connor (45), D. Bohannon, G. O’Brien (0-01 each).
CORK: M. White, S. Ryan, C. Dorman, M. McSweeney, P. Clancy, K. Flahive, C. Kiely, J. O’Sullivan (c), D. O’Callaghan, S. White, K. Crowley, M. Hurley, C. Vaughan, M. Collins, S. Sherlock.
Subs: C. Dorgan for Vaughan (inj, 33); I. Maguire and S. Powter for Dorman and Crowley (52); R. Deane for Collins (53); S. Powter for O’Callaghan (54); D. Quinn for S. White (58).
CLARE: K. Roche, E. O’Connor, C. Brennan, G. Kelly, T. Hannan, A. Fitzgerald, J. Malone, S. O’Donoghue, C. O’Connor (c), P. Lillis, A. Sweeney, K. Malone, E. Courtney, K. Sexton, C. Finucane.
Subs: E. Collins for Kelly (blood, 7-11); D. Egan, D. Bohannon and G. O’Brien for S. O’Donoghue, T. Hannan and K. Malone (all HT); J. Mulligan and M. O’Leary for A. Sweeney and E. Collins (60).
Referee: S. Mulvihill (Kerry).