“It’s great to win,” coach Kevin O’Donovan admitted, “but you can’t read too much into it either as it is only a tournament on a day.
“It does indicate that there are good hurlers in Cork though, and that’s a great starting point. It’s testament to the development squad system overall, there were other Cork teams playing on Saturday who did just as well but maybe lost out on the break of a ball. That doesn’t undo all of their good work over the past 12 months. We said at the start we weren’t basing the whole thing around tournaments so we can’t start changing horses now!”
O’Donovan, who is also the Cork Games Development Administrator, with responsibility for all development squads got huge satisfaction from one particular spell in an earlier group game.
“We were in trouble against Kilkenny, down four points with 10 minutes to go and playing into the wind,” he said. “A few subs came on and did a great job, and the lads showed great belief, I think that the Cork senior team have given everybody great confidence over the last couple of months.
“The young lads had a great confidence, belief rather than cockiness, that the red jersey still stands for something.”
A Liam Gosnell goal inside the opening five minutes, complimented by points from Brian Buckley, Eoin Monahan and Gosnell himself, moved the Rebels into a 1-3 to 0-0 lead.
Clare responded through a Gary Cooney brace, but a well-worked Evan Sheehan major, put through by Ben Keohane, further stretched Cork’s advantage.
Clare would score only once in a low key second-half, that an Alan Culligan minor, with substitute Séan Walsh firing home the winners’ third goal at the death, 3-9 to 0-5 the final scoreline.
Meanwhile, in the Sonny Walsh decider Stephen Wemyss netted a hat-trick as Kilkenny ran out comfortable 3-14 to 0-3 winners against Waterford.
Scorers for Cork: E Sheehan (1-4, 0-1 free), L Gosnell (1-2), S Walsh (1-0), B Buckley (0-2, 0-1 free), E Monahan (0-1).
Scorers for Clare: G Cooney (0-3), D Mescall, A Culligan (0-1 each).
CORK: G Collins; R Downey, M Scully, S O’Leary-Hayes; D Linehan, J Morrissey, J Geary; L Gosnell, J Holland; S Finn, E Monahan, B Buckley; E Sheehan, B Keohane, E Maloney.
Subs: S Walsh for Maloney (27), T Hanley for Finn (57), J O’Callaghan for Downey (39).
CLARE: R Callinan; R Cahill, C McInerney, S Currid; C Ferns, R Hayes, E O’Gorman; E Fitzgerald, S Murphy; C Haugh, C Ruane, D Mescall; A Culligan, G Cooney, K McDermott.
Referee: Jim Murphy (Mount Sion).