Clare 1-22 Cork 1-16
An incredible second-half turnaround gave Clare victory over Cork at Páirc Uí Rinn tonight to move them to the top of the Allianz Hurling Division 1A.
Cork led by 0-15 to 0-10 after Patrick Horgan’s point in the 46th minute, but the hosts would score just 1-1 over the course of the remainder of the game, with the goal coming from sub Luke O’Farrell in injury time.
In contrast to Cork, Clare found an extra gear or two as they first drew level with their opponents and then powered ahead, the free-taking of Colin Ryan impeccable with Shane O’Donnell’s 63rd-minute goal more or less ended any lingering hopes Cork had of making it two wins from their first three games.
Ryan finished with 12 points, Tony Kelly and Conor Ryan also getting their names on the scoresheet, while Patrick Donnellan, Brendan Bugler and Patrick O’Connor were outstanding in the half-back line in the second half, making life very difficult for the Cork attack.
It was all a far cry from the first half, when Cork looked very comfortable at times. Though Colin Ryan put Clare ahead with the opening score, Cork would lead thereafter, Patrick Horgan on target with frees while Lorcan McLoughlin added three points from midfield.
The home side led by 0-9 to 0-4 after 27 minutes, and it should have been more but for Patrick Kelly’s save from Stephen Moylan, but after Tony Kelly gave Clare a first point from play, they began to eat into the lead more.
Nevertheless, Paudie O’Sullivan’s point in first-half injury time meant that Jimmy Barry-Murphy’s side possessed a 0-12 to 0-7 interval advantage, and early second-half scores from Seamus Harnedy and Horgan meant that the lead was six, 0-14 to 0-8.
Crucially, however, Clare were not as reliant on Colin Ryan for scores as they had been, Conor Ryan and Tony Kelly getting in on the act, though it took a wonderful block from Donnellan to deny O’Sullivan a goal on 44.
Once Clare got going there was not stopping them, though. Kelly levelled on 51 before Colin Ryan put them in front, and though Paudie O’Sullivan had another goal chance, Patrick Kelly was again equal to it.
Nicky O’Connell added another for Clare, while Cork were struggling, as indicated by an uncharacteristic Horgan miss, and John Conlan and Kelly helped Clare to pull further clear before O’Donnell’s goal put seven points between the teams.
Sub Darach Honan also scored before Colin Ryan got his 12th of the match before O’Farrell’s goal, but it was far too late to lead to a Cork comeback and Clare took the points.
CLARE: P Kelly; D O’Donovan, D McInerney, S Morey; B Bugler, P Donnellan, P O’Connor; N O’Connell (0-1), Conor Ryan (0-2); E Barrett, T Kelly (0-4), Colin Ryan (0-12, 0-9f); S O’Donnell (1-0), J Conlan (0-2), P Collins.
Subs: F Lynch for Barrett (41), C Galvin for Collins (48), C McInerney for Conor Ryan (61) D Honan (0-1) for O’Donnell (66).
CORK: A Nash; S O’Neill, B Murphy, C O’Sullivan; C Joyce, P Cronin, W Egan; D Kearney (0-1), L McLoughlin (0-3); C McCarthy, P O’Sullivan (0-2), S Harnedy (0-2); S Moylan, P O’Brien, P Horgan (0-8, 0-6f, 0-2 65).
Subs: C Lehane for Moylan (50), L O’Farrell (1-0) for O’Brien (55), T Kenny for Kearney (59), C Naughton for Harnedy (60).
Referee: J Ryan (Tipperary).