There was a huge gulf in class with 12 Clare players getting on the scoresheet whereas only three players found the target for the students. The UCC forward line was woefully inept, managing only one score from play, a Jack Ahern goal in the 25th minute. However, the students were always going to be up against it as Clare considerably strengthened their side from the quarter-final against Limerick.
In the Limerick game, newcomer Bobby Duggan was the star of the show, but a broken thumb in training sidelined the Clarecastle clubman. Yesterday, free-taker Colin Ryan was the top-scorer and put in a man-of-the match display.
Clare faced the breeze in the opening half but it didn’t hamper their scoring ability. They were picking off points with ease and in the 13th Dave Reidy, clean through was dragged down, the ref having no option but to award a penalty. Ryan blasted it to the net and when Peter Duggan added a point, Clare enjoyed a ten point lead. Liam Markham and Duggan dominated midfield for the home side and at half-time Clare led 1-10 to 1-3.
To add to the students’ woe, Clare introduced three substitutes after the interval, including Shane O’Donnell, Clare’s three goal hero in the All-Ireland replay. Seven unanswered points in as many minutes after the re-start, emphasised Clare’s dominance and with his team leading 1-21 to 1-3 on the 53rd minute, Davy Fitzgerald had the luxury of emptying the bench.
A close-in pointed free by Jack Ahern in the 49th was UCC’s only score in the second period, Clare grabbed a second goal through Davy O’Halloran late in the tie.
Clare selector Mike Deegan agreed it was no more than a stroll for Clare. “It was very one-sided,” he said. “But having said that, all we are worried about is ourselves. You could see our boys were a bit rusty. They need hurling and that’s what today was all about. We didn’t really worry about UCC, we need to get games into the lads and that was what today was about.”
Clare now await the winners of the other semi-final between Tipperary and University of Limerick, a game was postponed yesterday due to an unplayable pitch at McDonagh Park, Nenagh.
Scorers for Clare: C Ryan (1-12) 1-0 pen. 0-7 f’s, D O’Halloran (1-1), J Conlan (0- 3), P Donnellan, C O’Connell, C McGrath, C McInerney (0-2) each, C Dillon, P Duggan, D Reidy, J Shanahan (0-1) each.
UCC: P Deasy (1-0), J Ahern (0-3) all f’s, J Barry (0-1) ’65.
CLARE: P Kelly, S Morey, D McInerney, C Dillon, B Bugler, P Donnellan, P O’Connor, L Markham, P Duggan, J Conlon, C O’Connell, C Ryan, D O’Halloran, C McGrath, D Reidy.
Subs: C McInerney for McGrath (43), J Shanahan for Duggan (43), C Cleary for O’Connor (51), P Flanagan for Morey (51), N O’Connell for Dillon (63).
UCC: D McCarthy (Cork); S Maher (Tipperary), D Glynn (Kilkenny), D Lester (Cork); J Barry (Tipperary), C Murphy (Cork), S Roche (Kilkenny); R O’Shea (Cork), D O’Mahony (Cork); T Butler (Tipperary), M Sugrue (Cork), B Hartnett (Cork), A Cadogan (Cork), J Ahern (Limerick), P Deasy (Cork).
Subs: N Purcell (Clare) for Barry, S O’Donnell (Clare) for O’Shea, M O’Driscoll (Cork) for Maher (all half-time), A Goold (Cork) for Glynn (48) PJ Hall (Limerick) for McCarthy (53).
Referee: M Wadding (Waterford).