Cork 0-18 Clare 0-9
In the opening half hour, there was only one team in the Munster Junior Football Championship semi-final at Cusack Park and Cork would not have been flattered had they been more that 0-10 to 0-1 in front at the break.
Could the final result have been different had Clare’s first-half performance matched their much-improved play in the second?
Doubtful. There is no denying the merit of the visitors’ success but Clare can take some consolation from their second-half display, when they matched their opponents on the scoreboard.
Those who saw Cork outclass Limerick in the opening round feared for Clare ahead of Sunday’s game and throughout the first half, it looked like those fears would be realised.
The Claremen were in trouble in most areas and their only score of the half came from Mark McCarthy after 12 minutes. The Kilmurry-Ibrickane man was dropped from the senior panel a week earlier after he failed to attend training, choosing instead to line out for his club in a seven-a-side tournament in Lissycasey.
Clare made the brighter start to this game and created a couple of excellent scoring opportunities but John Looney and McCarthy failed to convert. In their first attack, Cork hit the front when centre-forward Andrew O’Brien was on target.
From then until the break, O’Brien and his half-forward colleague, Cathal Vaughan caused huge problems for the home side. The winners were 0-4 in front after 10 minutes and they went on to hit six more in the second quarter to go to the break 0-10 to 0-1 ahead.
Clare resumed with Craig O’Brien switched from attack to wing-back. Matt O’Shea was introduced at wing-forward and his Lissycasey clubmate, Cathal Doohan, was the one to make way.
Vaughan extended Cork’s lead inside the opening minute of the second half but points from McCarthy, Darren O’Neill and Craig O’Brien boosted Clare’s challenge and cut the lead to seven points by the sixth minute.
However, by the three-quarter stage the margin was back to nine and the Leesiders were well on the way to a provincial final date with Tipperary.
They pushed this up to 12 with nine minutes still to play. Clare, to their credit, outscored the visitors in the remaining time, 0-4 to 0-1.
Failure to win breaks, something that also caused problems for the senior side, proved costly for Clare. Also, many players were guilty of waiting for the ball to come to them, rather than going to meet it.
Stan Lineen worked hard throughout in a Clare defence that was under a lot of pressure. Keith O’Connor won some good possession at midfield, while up front Enda Finnucane and Mark McCarthy caused some problems for the visitors.
Cork: Daithí Hanrahan; AJ O’Connor, Eoin O’Mahony, Kevin Harrington; Richard O’Sullivan, Rory O’Sullivan, Sean Kiely; Ruairí Deane, Michael O’Leary; Cathal Vaughan, Andrew O’Brien, Colm O’Driscoll; Eoghan Buckley, Fiachra Lynch, David Harrington.
Subs: Kevin O’Driscoll for Deane (36 mins); Michael Vaughan for D Harrington (50 mins); Mark Sugrue for V Vaughan (58 mins); Peter Daly for Richard O’Sullivan (58 mins); John Cronin for AJ O’Connor (58 mins).
Scorers: Cathal Vaughan (0-8); Andrew O’Brien (0-4); Fiachra Lynch (0-3); Eoghan Buckley (0-2); Kevin O’Driscoll (0-1).
Frees: 10 wides: 8 45s: 1.
Clare: Tony Burke (Kilrush); Eugene Flanagan (Shannon Gaels), Stephen Collins (St Joseph’s), Stan Lineen (Kilmihil); Declan McMahon (Cooraclare), Matthew Moloney (Kilrush, capt), Cathal Doohan (Lissycasey); Darren O’Neill (Éire Óg), Keith O’Connor (Kildysart); Craig O’Brien (Wolfe Tones), Enda Finnucane (Lissycasey), Eoin Brew (O’Curry’s); Ruairí O’Connor (Kilrush), John Looney (Cooraclare), Mark McCarthy (Kilmurry-Ibrickane).
Subs: Matt O’Shea (Lissycasey) for Doohan (half-time); Eoin Cleary (Miltown) for O’Connor (40 mins); Graham Glynn (Éire Óg) for Looney (45 mins) Darragh Bolton (Kilrush) for Brew (45 mins); Liam Corry (Éire Óg) for O’Brien (55 mins).
Scorers: Mark McCarthy (0-7, 3f); Darren O’Neill (free), Craig O’Brien (0-1 each).
Frees: 21 wides: 8.
Bookings: Darren O’Neill (28 mins); Cathal Doohan (31 mins); Stan Lineen (46 mins).
Referee: Michael Meade, Limerick.