It was a game largely unseen by many of those intending to attend it, however, as a fuel spill on the Limerick-Galway road caused a huge traffic jam from just beyond the toll plaza, with Cork players and supporters caught in the gridlock.
As a result, the game’s start was put back from its intended slot of 7.45pm to 8.15pm and then 8.30pm. The pre-match situation for the Rebels was more akin to the lead-in to a junior B league game rather than an intercounty clash, with playing resources arriving at various times and many in different cars.
Ultimately, they started with six changes from the announced side, as Conor O’Sullivan, Daniel Kearney, Cian McCarthy, Adrian Mannix and Stephen Moylan were travelling together, while Colm Spillane was sick.
Given that the exclusion of one goalkeeper from the Cork panel had taken much of the attention, it added a layer of humour that William McCarthy, named as back-up to Anthony Nash here, started the game at corner-forward, before Mannix replaced him after his belated arrival.
Despite the upheaval, a free from Patrick Horgan gave Cork the game’s opening score, but after an even start Clare pulled three clear at 0-5 to 0-2 by the 24th minute, the free-taking of midfielder Nicky O’Connell helping them while corner-forward Shane O’Donnell was also asking questions of the visitors’ defence.
Horgan had three of Cork’s opening-half scores, but corner-back Donal O’Donovan epitomised the strength of the Clare defence and at half time the home side led by 0-10 to 0-7.
The minute-hand on the clock was closer to 10pm than 9pm when the second half started, and Mannix gave Cork hope when he rounded off a great move involving Horgan and Cian McCarthy in the 44th minute to cut the gap, 0-14 to 1-8.
After Horgan and Colin Ryan exchanged points, Horgan’s shot tipped over by Donal Tuohy, Mannix then pulled a loose ball to the net to tie at 0-15 to 2-9.
Ultimately, though, Clare had the stronger finish as they progressed.
Scorers for Clare: C Ryan 0-8 (6f), N O’Connell 0-6 (5f), P Collins, S O’Donnell 0-2 each, C O’Connell, J Clancy 0-1 each.
Scorers for Cork: A Mannix 2-1, P Horgan 0-4 (3f), C Murphy 0-2, C McCarthy, D Lordan, R O’Shea, J Coughlan 0-1 each.
CLARE: D Tuohy; D O’Donovan, C Duggan, B O’Connell; B Bugler, P Donnellan, P O’Connor; N O’Connell, S Morey; C Ryan, P Collins, E Barrett; S O’Donnell, A O’Neill, J Clancy.
Subs: D McInerney for B O’Connell (45), T Kelly for Collins, M Flaherty for O’Neill, C O’Connell for Clancy (all 55), D O’Halloran for O’Donnell (66).
CORK: A Nash; J O’Donovan, M Ellis, P O’Sullivan; M Walsh, C Joyce, S White; D Pyne, R O’Shea; B Corry, D Lordan, C Murphy; W McCarthy, P Horgan, J Coughlan.
Subs: A Mannix for W McCarthy (33), C McCarthy for Lordan (h-t), D Kearney for Pyne (38), S Moylan for Corry (58).
Referee: J Ryan (Tipperary).