Clare’s ambitions to claim a third consecutive Munster minor hurling crown remain intact after they swept past Cork in last night’s play-off tie in Ennis to set up a semi-final date with Limerick on June 29.
A powerful second-half display by Clare ensured they recovered successfully from last week’s opening round reversal against Waterford. The match may have been delicately poised at the interval, with the teams locked at 0-7 apiece, but Clare took over in the third quarter to register nine consecutive points that killed this game as a contest.
Indeed, Clare’s dominance was all the more noteworthy considering they had trailed 0-4 to 0-0 after 14 minutes. But they turned the game around in staggering fashion thereafter as they outscored their opponents by 0-16 to 0-3 over the next 31 minutes.
Star of the show for Clare was corner-forward Bobby Duggan, who amassed 0-10. The Clarecastle player remarkably struck the first eight points of the second half and his marksmanship from placed balls was flawless. Centre-back Conor Cleary was immense for Clare, while captain Shane O’Brien, midfielder Alex Morey and wing-forward Shane Taylor were also highly influential.
It was a dejecting experience for Cork as they exited the provincial championship at an early stage. They had begun the game extremely brightly, with Paul Fitzgerald and Kevin O’Neill to the fore as they raced ahead. But Clare quickly got into their stride and after drawing level at 0-5 apiece by the 25th minute, they were firmly back in the hunt.
From there Clare took over, boosted by the introduction of fit again Jamie Shanahan.
Cork got off the mark for the first time in the second half courtesy of a Pa O’Callaghan free in the 46th minute. But they only managed one score from play after half-time, with O’Callaghan rifling to the net in the 55th minute after good work by Michael Cahalane. Yet Clare still ran out comfortable winners with a late Niall Deasy point underlining their class.
Scorers for Clare: B Duggan 0-10 (7f, 1 65), S Taylor 0-3, A Morey (0-1 sl), N Deasy 0-2 each, C Deasy 0-1.
Scorers for Cork: P O’Callaghan 1-6 (0-5f), M Cahalane 0-2 (1 65), J O’Brien 0-1.
CLARE: E Quilligan; S O’Brien, B Carey, G Ryan; A McGuane, C Cleary, E Quirke; D Conroy, A Morey; S Taylor, N Deasy, S Ward; S O’Donnell, C Deasy,
Subs: J Shanahan for Ward (h-t), S Gleeson for Conroy (50), B Corry for O’Donnell (61).
CORK: P Collins; S Murphy, K O’Connor, A Dennehy; K McIntyre, P Fitzgerald, D Mangan; B O’Connell, K O’Neill; J Cashman, D Cahill, M Cahalane; J O’Brien, P O’Callaghan, A Spillane.
Subs: R Cahalane for Cashman (39), T Horgan for O’Brien (39), A Sheehan for O’Connell (52)
Referee: Paul Foley (Waterford).
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