By Seamus Hayes
Cork 2-21 Clare 0-18
A much sharper and hungrier Cork side proved too strong for Clare in the semi-final of the Waterford Crystal senior hurling tournament played before an attendance of 1,369 at Mallow on Saturday.
The visitors were outplayed throughout the field in the opening half and found themselves twelve points, 0-7 to 2-13, adrift at half time. The Bannermen did show improved form in the second half but, overall, they can have no complaints with the result as they were well beaten in most areas throughout the seventy minutes.
With the start of the Allianz league just two weeks away, Davy Fitzgerald and his management team are sure to be disappointed with this performance. True, it is still very early in the season and there are a lot of players to be considered for places in the side, but there must be some concern after this display.
There was little to suggest, in the opening ten minutes, that the gap would be as great at the final whistle. The sides exchanges points three times before Cork struck for the game’s opening goal which came from Luke O’Farrell in the eleventh minute.
They swapped points twice in the next five minutes but then, Cork stepped up a gear and added four points in five minutes to open a seven point lead with ten minutes to go to the half time whistle.
Clare had wasted some great scoring opportunities including a goal chance when Pat Donnellan shot straight at the Cork keeper, Patrick Collins. A point from a Colin Ryan free gave Clare their first score in nine minutes but Cork continued to dominate and, in the next eight minutes, they hit 1-4 without reply, full forward O’Farrell also accounting for their second goal.
There was more urgency in Clare’s play on the resumption and they outscored the home side, 0-6 to 0-1 in the first fifteen minutes of the new half. By the mid point of the half, they had the Cork lead cut in half to six points, 0-15 to 2-15.
Despite the improved form, Clare continued to miss some easy scoring chances while also conceding some ‘soft’ scores. Cork finished strongly and outscored Clare, 0-4 to 0-1 in the final ten minutes to seal a final date next week where they will play Limerick who overcame UCC at Kilmallock on Saturday.
Few Clare players will look back on this outing with satisfaction. Domhnaill O’Donovan worked extremely hard throughout while Gearoid O’Connell got through some good work but the remainder of the backline struggled.
Elsewhere Cathal O’Connell tried very hard but found himself having to roam far outfield in search of possession. Bobby Duggan showed improved form in the second half while Shane Golden got through some good work.
Damian Cahilane, Lorcan McLoughlin, Cian McCarthy, Like O’Farrell and Andy Walsh did well for the winners.
Cork;–Patrick Collins; Conor O’Sullivan, Damian Cahilane, Sean O’Donoghue; Brian O’Sullivan (0-1), Lorcan McLoughlin, Glen O’Connor; Brian Murray (0-1) Andy Walsh (0-2); Peter Kelleher (0-1), Cian McCarthy (0-7), 3 frees, 2 ‘65’s, Brian Lawton; Stephen Moylan (0-2) Luke O’Farrell (2-3) Darren McCarthy (0-1);
Subs;–Paul Haughney (0-1) for Murray; Dayne Lee (0-1) for Kelleher; Mark Ellis for G. O’Connor; Alan Frahill (0-1) for Lawton; William Kearney for O’Donoghue;
Clare;–Pat Kelly; Domhnaill O’Donovan, Cillian Duggan, Seadna Morey; Conor Cleary, Conor Ryan, Gearoid O’Connell; Colin Ryan (0-3), 1 free, Brendan Bugler (0-3); Pat Donnellan (0-2), Bobby Duggan (0-4), Shane Golden (0-1); Davy O’Halloran, Aaron Cunningham, Cathal O’Connell (0-4), 3 frees;
Subs—Cian Dillon for Conor Ryan; Paul Flanagan for G. O’Connell; John Conlon for O’Halloran, Daire Keane (0-1) for Donnellan
Referee—Paul Foley, Waterford