Clare 0-6 Cork 6-28
CLARE hurling received if not its largest defeat, then definitely one of its greatest setbacks as Cork signalled their intentions for national honours by providing Clare with a lesson in hurling, movement, skill and legitimate aggression in Semple Stadium on Wednesday evening.
The pre-match suggestion that Clare were underdogs on a grand scale could not set up one for what transpired. Galway had beaten Clare with some ease in a challenge but Cork had done likewise to Galway.
Cork wing forward Tadhg O Connell and his colleague at wing back James Dwyer had Cork two points to the good after four minutes action in Semple Stadium. Clare had threatened with positivity in the early minutes but two more scores from Jack Leahy (free) and Diarmuid Healy had Clare four in arrears s and on the backfoot as Cork raided with pace down the wings with full forward Leahy moving out the field.
Clare’s first effort for a score was wide from a Niall O Farrell free and straight from the Cork puck out Jack Leahy sent the ball over the Clare crossbar as Cork were five points to nil up after 11 minutes.
William Buckley added a sixth Cork score before Adam Enright was quickly out of his goal to deny Eoin O Leary a goal after indecision in the Clare rearguard before the first water break.
One of the biggest cheers from the Clare supporters was the first Clare point coming from a Niall O Farrell free quickly followed by Corofin’s James Organ from 50 metres seconds later.
This Clare revival continued one minute later when Whitegate’s Conor Whelan from inside his own 65 floated over a free of some quality as Clare had cut the deficit in half with three minutes’ hurling.
However, it was but a mere respite from what was to come as Cork struck for 1-1 with Buckley striking for a point as Jack Leahy ghosted past two and gave Adam Enright no chance in the goal.
Worse was to come seconds later as Cork centre back Ben O’Connor raced 80 metres before releasing Eoin O Leary.
His effort was brilliantly stopped by Enright but the rebound came out to Jack Leahy and he had his second goal of the half.
It was now a 10 point gap staring Clare in the face and they required goals not points to stay in the contest.
The entire Cork half back line were lying back deep and then setting up positive Cork moves catching Clare on the back foot.
The final five minutes of the half saw some respite on the scoring front as Cork’s Jack Leahy continued with another brace only to be matched by good scores in a minute from John Rynne and Colm Killeen as Clare retired at the interval (2-9 to (0-5).
The proverbial mountain to climb became Everest as Cork overran Clare with ease in the third quarter as Terence Chaplin’s charges were outgunned (2-12) to no score.
Jack Leahy and Cork substitute Adam Walsh were goal scorers with William Buckley and Leahy to the fore in the point scoring stakes.
What could anyone say or what tactic could be implemented to even motivate the Clare lads as they were second in every sector of the field.
Niall O Farrell had the first score of the final quarter before Cork had their fifth goal of the day courtesy of Adam Walsh.
Clare full back Shane Woods then received a second yellow card and Clare were down to 14 men for the remainder of the game.
The last goal of the game came from Ross O Sullivan as the final whistle signalled the end of the misery for all dressed in Saffron and Blue.
Clare: Adam Enright (Newmarket), Ronan O Connor (Feakle), Shane Woods (Inagh/Kilnamona),John Cahill (Clooney Quin), Diarmuid Stritch (Clonlara), Tony Leyden (Tulla), Ricky Wynne (Inagh/Kilnamona), Jack O Neill (Clooney Quin), Niall O Farrell (Broadford ) (0-2),James Organ (Corofin) (0-1), Colm Killeen (Kilmaley)(0-1), James Doherty (Clarecastle), Conor Whelan (Whitegate)(0-1),Callum Hassett (Clooney Quin), Sean Rynne (Capt) (Inagh/Kilnamona) (0-1).
Subs: Oisin Whelan (Clarecastle) for Organ, Fionn Hayes (Sixmilebridge) for Whelan, Evan Maxted (Sixmilebridge) for O Connor, Michael Heneghan (Eire-Og, Inis) for Hassett, Senan Crosbie (St Josephs) for Leyden,
Cork: Paudie O Sullivan, Darragh O Sullivan (0-1), Kevin Lyons, James Byrne, James Dwyer (0-2), Ben O Connor (0-1), Timmy Wilk, Mikey Finn (0-1), Cillian Tobin, Diarmuid Healy (0-4), Ben Nyhan (0-1), Tadgh O Connell (0-2), Eoin O Leary, Jack Leahy (3-9), William Buckley (0-4).
Subs: Ross O Sullivan (1-3) for O Leary, Adam Walsh (2-0) for Nyhan, David Cremin for Dwyer, Shane Kennedy for Byrne, Rory Sheahan for Buckley.
Referee: Nicky Barry (Waterford)