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Cathal Malone was Clare's top scorer in the Munster league final. Photograph by John Kelly.

Early goals give Clare the upperhand

Clare 4-17 Cork 0-18

A comfortable eleven point win over title holders Cork has earned Clare a place in the final of the Co-op Superstores Munster senior hurling league where they will play their neighbours and great rivals Limerick

Three goals in the opening quarter sent Clare on their way to this merited win, their second in a week (they easily accounted for Kerry last week) and with Limerick also scoring their second win of the campaign both have sealed their places in the final.

The teams were due to meet in the third round next week with the final scheduled for a week later but I understand that both are keen to go ahead with the final this coming weekend and its expected that this will be confirmed by the Munster council in the next day or two.

While they weren’t in action this weekend, Clare senior footballers are through to the McGrath cup final where they will meet Cork. As with the hurling, these teams were due to meet in round 2 of the competition next week but as both are through to the final, its expected that their meeting this coming weekend will be the competition final.

In dry but bitterly cold conditions, 1,594 patrons turned out at Cusack Park this afternoon for the clash of Clare and Cork where they witnessed the home side lead from the start

Peter Duggan, star of Clare’s win in the Fenway eleven a side tournament in Boston recently, got the Bannermen off to a dream start when he goaled in the fourth minute and five minutes later it was Cathal Malone’s turn as the Clare forward line caused huge problems for the visitor’s defence.

As the mid point of the opening half arrived, the home side struck for their third goal with Duggan again on target after good work by Conor McGrath. As the half wore on Cork came more into the game, helped by the switch of Eoin Cadogan to full back with Eoin Murphy moving to the wing and Chris O’Leary switching to centre back.

The Leesiders hit the last four points of the half and when the half time whistle sounded they were just four points adrift, 0-10 to 3-5.

Clare regained the initiative after the break when they landed the opening three points.

As the third quarter drew to a close the winners struck for their fourth goal, Niall Deasy applying the finish and with fifteen minutes remaining they had pushed their lead out to fourteen points with the score at 4-14 to 0-12 .

Cork battled on and they outscored the winners in the closing ten minutes. Overall, however, Clare dominated and fully deserved their victory on a day when Conor Cleary, David McInerney, Seadna Morey, Colm Galvin, David Reidy, Cathal Malone and Peter Duggan got through a lot of good work.

Clare; Patrick Kelly; Eoin Quirke, Conor Cleary, Patrick O’Connor (Captain); David Fitzgerald, David McInerney, Seadna Morey (0-2); Ryan Taylor (0-1), Colm Galvin; Niall Deasy (1-2) Cathal Malone (1-2), Ian Galvin (0-3); Conor McGrath, Peter Duggan (2-0) Billy Connors (0-1);

Subs; Jack Browne for Quirke (inj); David Reidy (0-2)for C. Galvin; Tony Kelly (0-2) for Malone;; Mikey O’Neill (0-2) for Connors; Jason McCarthy for Morey

Cork; Anthony Nash; Conor O’Sullivan, Eoin Murphy (0-2) David Griffin; Chris O’Leary, Eoin Cadogan, Rickard Cahalane; Lorcan McLoughlin (0-2) Luke Meade (0-1); Eoghan Finn (0-1), Brian Lawton, Daniel Kearney (0-3); Robert O’Shea (0-4), Evan Sheehan, Declan Dalton (0-4, F);

Subs; John Looney (0-1) for Finn; Ian Cahill for Sheehan; Conor Twomey for Cahalane; Eoghan Keniry for Dalton; John Cashman for O’ Sullivan

Referee; J. McCormack,Tipperary;

By Seamus Hayes

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