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Clare lost Jamie Malone to injury after four minutes of the McGrath Cup final Photograph by John Kelly.

Clare beaten by injury time goal in McGrath Cup final

Cork 3-13 Clare 3-12

AN injury time goal from Cork’s Stephen Sherlock helped the home county to a dramatic McGrath Cup final win in Mallow on Saturday afternoon.

Clare have not won the McGrath Cup since 2008 and looked very likely to win the 2018 tournament, when they led by four points, six minutes from time.

However Cork threw everything at Clare in the closing minutes and Sherlock’s goal won it for Ronan McCarthy’s team in a game played in front of an attendance of 691.

Clare were very slow to settle and trailed by 10 points, 2-8 to 0-4, four minutes before half-time. Eimhin Courtney and Conor Finnucane were the only Clare scorers in the opening half half, with the Éire Óg man scoring both of his points from play.

However a Keelan Sexton goal, just before half-time, gave some hope to Clare, who started the second half superbly.

Cork goalkeeper Mark White made a couple of second half errors, one of which led to Alan Sweeney goaling, while Gearóid O’Brien netted after an Eimihin Courtney delivery caused consternation in the Cork full back line.

Clare were disappointed to lose the game, when a bit of composure would have aided them in injury time. However a number or players, including Courtney, Finucane, Alan Sweeney, Gearóid O’Brien, Cillian Brennan and Darragh Bohannon have shown that they have something to offer to Clare’s league campaign, which starts with a home game against Cavan on January 27.

Clare: Killian Roche (Cooraclare); Eanna O’Connor (Éire Óg), Cillian Brennan (Clodegad), Gordon Kelly (Miltown); Tom Hannan (Doora-Barefield), Aaron Fitzgerald (Éire Óg), Jamie Malone (Corofin); Seán O’Donoghue (Cooraclare), Cathal O’Connor (Coolmeen – captain); Pearse Lillis (Cooraclare), Alan Sweeney (St Breckan’s), Kieran Malone (Miltown); Eimhin Courtney (Éire Óg), Keelan Sexton ((Kilmurry Ibrickane), Conor Finnucane (Lissycasey).

Subs: Eoghan Collins (Ballyhaunis) for Jamie Malone (4-inj), Darragh Bohannon (Shannon Gaels) for O’Donoghue (half-time), David Egan (Kilmihil) for Kieran Malone (half-time), Gearóid O’Brien (Kilrush) for Hannan (half-time) Martin O’Leary (Kilmihil) for Alan Sweeney (60)
Jonah Culligan (Ballyvaughan) for Eoghan Collins (60)

Scorers: Conor Finucane 0-5 (0-2f), Keelan Sexton, Gearóid O’Brien 1-1 each, Alan Sweeney 1-0, Eimhin Courtney 0-3, Cathal O’Connor (0-1 ’45), Darragh Bohannon 0-1 each.

Cork: Mark White (Clonakilty); Sam Ryan (St Finbarr’s), Conor Dorman (Bishopstown),
Michael McSweeney (Newcestown); Padraig Clancy (Fermoy), Kevin Flahive (Douglas), Cian Kiely (Ballincollig); Jamie O’Sullivan (Bishopstown – captain), Daniel O’Callaghan (Clyda Rovers); Sean White (Clonakilty), Kevin Crowley (Millstreet), Michael Hurley (Castlehaven); Cathal Vaughan (Iveleary), Mark Collins (Castlehaven), Stephen Sherlock (St Finbarr’s).

Subs: Cian Dorgan (Ballincollig) for Vaughan (inj) (34), John O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers) for Crowley (53), Ian Maguire (St Finbarr’s) for Dorman (53), Sean Powter (Douglas) for O’Callaghan (54), Ruairi Deane (Bantry Blues) for Collins (55), Dylan Quinn (St Finbarr’s) for Sean White (56).

Scorers: Stephen Sherlock 2-3 (0-3f), Michael Hurley 0-4, Mark Collins 1-1, Cathal Vaughan 0-3 (0-1f), Daniel O’Callaghan, Cian Kiely 0-1 each.

Referee: Seamus Mulvihill (Kerry)

About Peter O'Connell

West Clare native Peter O'Connell has worked for The Clare Champion for 12 years and covers everything from sport, especially GAA, news, features and has been even known to branch into the fashion scene on occasion.

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