Clare cruise to Munster U21 title over Cork

Clare 1-28 Cork 1-13

Clare cruise to Munster U21 title over Cork

Clare 1-28 Cork 1-13

Clare powered to their third Munster Under 21 Hurling title in a row, by delivering the biggest winning margin in a decider since 2000, with a 15-point win over Cork at Cusack Park tonight.

12,995 spectators crammed into the Ennis venue to witness one of the most complete displays of hurling seen in a provincial final at this level in recent years.

Clare signalled their intentions from the off when Aaron Cunningham scored the first of his four points after just 13 seconds, and the Banner County were never to trail in this game.

Man of the Match Colm Galvin and free taker Bobby Duggan were two of Clare's other heroes, while Shane O'Donnell marked his first start since an Allianz League clash with Waterford in March, by delivering the only goal of the game in the opening half.

Cunningham's early score was one of four early points from the hosts, which saw them take a 0-4 to 0-0 lead after just six minutes, with captain Tony Kelly and Duggan also on target.

Rob O'Shea broke the Cork deadlock with the first of his seven points in the ninth minute, but Clare were always on top.

By the 23rd minute the hosts extended their lead to 14 points, with Clare holding a 1-12 to 0-1 lead at this stage.

O'Donnell's goal came after he left two Cork defenders in his wake before smashing the ball to the back of the Rebels net.

Substitute Mark Sugrue broke Cork's 14-minute barren spell and although the Rebels worked hard before the break nothing could stop a powerful Clare attack.

Crucially at the back Clare were also doing well, particularly on the restart, with goalkeeper Keith Hogan in superb form while Jack Browne and Jarlath Colleran also gave a super innings in defence.

Cork opened the second half scoring with Michael Collins on target, and indeed registered two of the first three points of the half.

The Rebels were much improved in the closing 30 minutes, but left themselves with too big a mountain to climb.

The opening seven and a half minutes of the second half produced nine points, with Clare outscoring their opponents by five points to four during this period.

Both sides suddenly struggled in front of the posts, before Cork delivered their only goal through Anthony Spillane.

Spillanes kicked effort ensuring a 1-20 to 1-9 score-line after 42 minutes.

Tony Kelly and Colm Galvin got Clare back on track, and although Cork worked hard, the likes of O'Donnell and substitute Shane Gleeson ensured the title was staying in Clare once again.

After the game Clare captain Tony Kelly accepted the trophy, as his side now turn their attentions to a date with Antrim on August 23rd - a repeat of last year's All-Ireland final.

CLARE: K Hogan; J Colleran, J Browne, S Morey; J Shanahan, C Cleary, G O'Connell; E Enright, C Galvin (0-3); B Duggan (0-10, 6f, 0-1 ’65) T Kelly (0-3, 1 65), P Duggan (0-2); A Cunningham (0-4), S O'Donnell (1-0), D Reidy (0-3).

Subs: S Gleeson (0-2) for B Duggan (42), C O'Connell (0-1, 1f) for S O'Donnell (56), A O'Neill for C Cleary (57), S McGrath for E Enright (62).

CORK: P Collins; S Murphy, C Barry, C Buckley; K Kavanagh, C Burke, C Walsh; D Brosnan, R Cahalane; S O’Keefe (0-1), C Spillane, M Collins (0-3); A Spillane (1-0), A Cadogan, R O’Shea (0-7, 4f, 1 65).

Subs: M Sugrue (0-1) for C Walsh (15), K McIntyre (0-1) for Cahalane (HT), M O'Connor for A Spillane (50).

REFEREE: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)

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