Clare 1 Cork 0
LAST Sunday was a tremendous day for Clare soccer as the league’s Oscar Taynor side defeated the defending champions, Cork, in the semi-final of the inter-league competition at Turner’s Cross.
The all-important goal was scored by team captain David Russell on the stroke of half-time and while the home side battled bravely in the second half, there is no denying the merit of Clare’s win, which qualifies them for the final for the first time in five years. In their last appearance, in 2005, they won the title for the only time in the league’s history.
Clare’s victory over Cork has qualified them for the final this Sunday when they will take on Wexford at the County Grounds in Doora (kick off 2.30pm) when Dublin officials will be in charge.
Wexford qualified for their first-ever Oscar Traynor Trophy final with a 3-1 victory over the Defence Forces.
The winners of the Clare/Cork semi-final have home advantage in the final after a draw was made last week ahead of the semi-finals.
There was a long delay at the start of Sunday’s game when referee Trevor Hoare twisted an ankle and had to be replaced by linesman Tom Duggan.
On resumption of play, Cork had the better of the early exchanges and Liam Murphy had to make a good interception when Johnny Barrett got some space on the edge of the box. On 15 minutes, John Healy had to make a good save under pressure from a cross from Shane O’Neill. Trevor Maxwell got through on goal three minutes later but was denied by a very late flag from the linesman. Minutes later, Maxwell had a shot from outside the box well saved by Alberto Pulminero in the Cork goal. Cork had a break down the right wing on 25 minutes which resulted in a cross from O’Neill that narrowly missed the target. Clare came more and more into the game as the half progressed and started to dominate possession and chances as the half wore on. David Russell had a shot from outside the box go over the crossbar on 35 minutes. Two minutes later, the best chance of the match fell to Con Collins who got on the end of an Adrian McDonagh cross from the left and he was very unlucky to see his effort narrowly go over the crossbar.
Maxwell made another good run down the right wing on 42 minutes. His cross found McDonagh in the box and his shot was saved and put out for a corner. From the resultant well delivered corner from David McCarthy, Richie Lillis won the header and again Clare were unlucky to see the ball go over the crossbar. Clare were getting closer but on 44 minutes, Cork nearly scored against the run of play when a Barrett shot had Healy beaten only for Lillis to get back and clear the ball off the line.
Clare had one last attack before half-time and McDonagh won another corner. From the resultant cross from McCarthy, McDonagh got a flick on at the near post and captain Russell was in the right place to steer home the lead goal to the joy of everyone that made the trip.
Clare started the second half brightly and Derek Fahy got on the end of a cross from Maxwell on 47 minutes but his shot was saved. Another well-delivered corner from McCarthy on 49 minutes was headed over the bar by Lillis. Cork brought on Ivan Skillington and Seán Moynihan for Ian Dempsey and Rob Walsh on 55 minutes. With a minute short of an hour played, Cork keeper, Pulminero, was sent off for handling the ball outside the area. A McCarthy ball over the top to McDonagh would have resulted in a certain goal only for the Cork keeper to come flying out of his goal and commit the offence and the referee had no choice but to issue the red card. Cork brought on their sub keeper, Stephen Deasy, and withdrew striker, Derek Delae. As the half wore on, Cork started to create a few chances. Healy had to pull off a good save from Moynihan on 65 minutes and Lillis had to make a good tackle inside the box on 67 minutes. Clare brought on Daryl Eade for Mike O’Malley on 70 minutes after O’Malley picked up an injury. Losing O’Malley from the centre of midfield was a huge blow as he was having an excellent game sitting in front of the back four. Moynihan was causing a lot of problems for Clare and on 72 minutes, he had another effort from just inside the box hit the crossbar and go wide. On 75 minutes, Cork took a quick free kick from the edge of the box and John Healy had to make a great save to deny Anthony Peelo.
Clare brought on Ger O’Connell and Eoin O’Brien for Maxwell and McDonagh for the last 10 minutes. The fresh legs was exactly what Clare needed and in the last 10 minutes and injury time, all the chances fell to the Clare side. O’Connell was denied by a last-ditch tackle on 85 minutes. Mattie Nugent made a great run out of defence and had a shot well saved by Deasy in the Cork goal on 88 minutes and in the last minute, David McCarty had an effort narrowly miss the right corner. In the end, one goal was enough for Clare to advance to the Oscar Traynor Cup final this Sunday.
Clare: John Healy (Avenue Utd); Liam Murphy (Newmarket Celtic), Mattie Nugent (Avenue Utd), Richie Lillis (Bunratty), David Russell (Avenue Utd) captain, Trevor Maxwell (Bridge United), Con Collins (Bunratty), Mike O’Malley (Newmarket Celtic), Derek Fahy (Bridge Utd), David McCarthy (Avenue United), Adrian McDonagh (Avenue United).
Subs: Daryl Eade (Rock Rovers) for O’Malley; Ger O’Connell (Bridge Celtic) for McDonagh; Eoin O’Brien (Newmarket Celtic) for Maxwell; Kieran McGlynn (Newmarket Celtic), Eamon O’Reilly (Avenue United), Michael Devitt (Newmarket Celtic), Ally McMillian (Bunratty), Gary Collins (Newmarket Celtic), Paul Crowley (Avenue United).
Cork: Alberto Pulminero; Anthony Peelo, Mick Bradfield, Ian Dempsey, Eric Shinkivin, Shane O’Neill, Brian Sullivan, John Berrs, Rob Walsh, Derek Delae, Johnny Barrett.
Subs: Ivan Skillington for Dempsey; Seán Moynihan for Walsh; Stephen Deasy for Delae.
Officials: Trevor Hoare, Tom Duggan, Tommy Mazer.