David Drake and Michael O’Sullivan (2-0) torched the Clare rearguard for three early goals, with Drake grabbing his second, Cork’s fourth, by the end of the first quarter.
Clare corner-forward Bobby Duggan pounced for the Banner’s sole major of the opening half on eight minutes, Gerry O’Connor’s side 4-7 to 1-8 adrift at the break.
Clare upped the tempo at the change of ends, Cathal Malone’s 42nd minute goal reducing the deficit to four – 4-12 to 2-14. Subsequent points from Cathal O’Connell, Bobby Duggan, Shane McGrath and Patrick Fitzgerald further narrowed the gap, but Cork’s ability to keep the gap at two points would prove crucial.
Cork substitute Kevin Hallissey split the posts on the stroke of full-time to rubber stamp the win.
Scorers for Cork: P O’Brien (0-8, 4fs), M O’Sullivan, D Drake (2-1 each), C Murphy (0-2), R Cashman, M Walsh, J Cronin, R Crowley, K Hallissey (0-1 each).
Scorers for Clare: B Duggan (1-10, 0-8fs), C Malone (1-2), P Fitzgerald (0-2), S Gleeson, S McGrath, M O’Neill, A Lynch, C O’Connell, G O’Connell (0-1 each).
CORK: R Cunningham; J O’Callaghan, A Dennehy, B Ó Tuama; R Cashman, T Healy, M Walsh; C Barry, J Wall; C Murphy, P O’Brien, M O’Sullivan; M Kenefick, J Cronin, D Drake.
Subs: T Lawrence for Barry (17), R Crowley for Cashman (45), A Mannix for Kenefick (48), K Hallissey for Wall (50).
CLARE: E Quilligan; C Nolan, C Duggan, K Ryan; G O’Connell, J Shanahan, E Boyce; P Fitzgerald, J Colleran; S Gleeson, S McGrath, C Malone; M O’Neill, A Lynch, B Duggan.
Subs: C O’Connell for Gleeson (ht), Ward for Lynch (ht), S Taylor for Boyce (37 mins), N O’Connor for Nolan (40), S O’Brien for Colleran (53).
Referee: J O’Brien (Tipperary).