Clare 1-14 Cork 0-14
By Michael Moynihan
An old bogeyman resurfaced in Sixmilebridge to torment Cork, with Clare’s Shane O’Donnell reprising his role as goalscorer-in-chief from the 2013 All-Ireland final between the teams to raise the green flag which decided this Munster senior hurling league game.
An even contest took its decisive twist with less than ten minutes to go and the sides tied on a dozen points each.
Clare free-taker Bobby Duggan mishit a free from the wing and when Cork failed to clear, O’Donnell seized on the opportunity to beat Rebel ‘keeper Patrick Collins from close range.
GOAL for Shane O'Donnell against Cork! Where have we heard that before?? They lead 1-12 to 0-12 #GAA— Derrick Lynch (@DLynchSport) January 3, 2016
Collins almost replicated the Anthony Nash role from those games, coming up in injury time to try to goal from a 20-metre free but his shot whistled over the bar and Clare saw out the remaining minutes for the win.
For Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald - flanked by new addition to the backroom team, former Cork ‘keeper Donal Og Cusack - there was much to be encouraged by.
His side led 0-8 to 0-6 at the half, thanks to the energy and distribution of Tony Kelly at centre-forward.
Cork were reliant on Mark Ellis and William Egan in that first half, but looked set for a heavy beating when Clare rattled off three points on the resumption, pushing them five up.
However, with Paudie O’Sullivan showing up well, Cork then hit six points on the bounce to nudge themselves ahead.
It looked as if a draw might be on the cards if neither side could come up with a goal to break the deadlock, and the Banner had just the man to do so in Shane O’Donnell.
Elsewhere, in the Munster Senior Hurling league, Ciaran Carey had a competitive debut as Kerry hurling manager, losing out to his old colleague TJ Ryan.
Limerick ran out easy 2-23 to 0-18 winners in the Gaelic Grounds.
Scorers for Clare: T. Kelly (0-4 fs) 0-6; S. O’Donnell 1-0; G. O’Connell, J. Conlon (fs), B. Duggan (fs) 0-2 each; P. Duggan, M. O’Malley, 0-1 each.
Scorers for Cork: P. O’Sullivan 0-7 (0-6 fs); W. Leahy 0-2; P. Collins (f), L. Meade, P. Haughney, M. Ellis, D. Brosnan, 0-1 each.
CLARE: D. Tuohy, E. O’Brien, P. O’Connor, P. Flanagan, J. Browne, C. Ryan, G. O’Connell, C. Galvin, S. Golden, D. Fitzgerald, T. Kelly ( c), P. Duggan, J. Conlon, D. Honan, D. Reidy.
Subs: S. O’Donnell for Honan, 45; B. Duggan for P. Duggan, 48; M. O’Malley for Galvin, 55; C. McGrath for Ryan, 65.
CORK: P. Collins, C. Twomey, P. O’Mahony, C. Spillane, B. Moylan, D. Cahalane, W. Egan, P. Haughney, M. Ellis, W. Leahy, P. O’Sullivan( c), D. Brosnan, S. Moylan, C. Cormack, T. Horgan.
Subs: L. Meade for Horgan, 41; P. O’Rourke for Cormack, 50; D. Browne for Twomey (inj.), 55; N. Cashman for B. Moylan, 63.
Referee: J. Murphy (Limerick)