David Fitzgerald and team-mate John Conlon of Clare celebrate after the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 3 match between Cork and Clare at FBD Semple Stadium in Thurles, Tipperary.
David Fitzgerald and team-mate John Conlon of Clare celebrate after the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 3 match between Cork and Clare at FBD Semple Stadium in Thurles, Tipperary. 

Munster SHC: Impressive Clare too good for Cork

Munster Senior Hurling Championship

CLARE 0-28 CORK 2-20

Clare made it two wins from two as they were impressive in seeing off Cork at FBD Semple Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

A week after beating Tipperary at the venue, Brian Lohan’s side were back in Thurles for another ‘away’ game – Cork’s Páirc Uí Chaoimh was unavailable – and they led for almost the entirety. If anything, a two-point winning margin does the Banner County a disservice, with Darragh Fitzgibbon’s goal five minutes into injury time giving the scoreboard a closer look than things actually were.

While they fell 0-2 to 0-1 behind after Shane Kingston’s third-minute point for Cork, it was the only time they trailed. Clare scored 14 of the next 16 points to put themselves firmly in command. Though Cork were back to within six, 0-17 to 0-11, by half-time, the closest they came in normal time was within four points in the wake of a goal from sub Alan Connolly on 48 minutes. Even though Clare lost Ian Galvin to a red card soon after that, they had the next three points, from David Fitzgerald, Diarmuid Ryan and Ryan Taylor, all of whom put in excellent shifts.

The upshot of it all is that Clare host Limerick and Waterford in their remaining two games, knowing that one win could be enough for a Munster final spot. In contrast, having already lost to Limerick, Cork must beat Waterford and Tipperary, both away from home, to have any hope to taking third place in the table and a preliminary All-Ireland quarter-final place.

The Rebels couldn’t summon a response to the Limerick loss as Clare overran them in the opening half-hour. Shane O’Donnell’s second point put them 0-15 to 0-4 in front in the 28th minute and he was one of a number of players to show up well, along with Taylor, Tony Kelly, Fitzgerald and corner-back Rory Hayes.

Cork did improve coming up to half-time, with Patrick Horgan scoring three points while Connolly brought an improvement to the attack after his introduction. It meant that they were still in the game at the break but Clare had the first two points of the second half, from Fitzgerald and Ian Galvin.

The eight-point lead was still present after Kelly’s seventh point on 47 minutes, but, after Robert Downey had prevented a Clare goal chance, Cork found the net as Connolly profited from Robbie O’Flynn’s pass.

Shane Kingston set up O’Flynn for his third to leave it 0-22 to 1-15 and it seemed that the game was back in the melting-pot, especially after Galvin’s red card following a scuffle. However, Cork gave themselves breathing space again with those three points on the trot – the last of them was emblematic of the game as a whole as Fitzgerald and Taylor forced Fitzgibbon backwards and then dispossessed him before Taylor got his third.

Clare were able to answer Cork points down the stretch and the Rebels lost their man advantage when sub Mark Keane was dismissed for an off-the-ball clash with Clare’s centre-back, the totemic John Conlon.

Horgan’s tenth free, followed by Fitzgibbon’s goal, meant that Cork were back to within two in the 75th minute, but they didn’t get another chance to conjure a miraculous escape.

Scorers for Clare: Tony Kelly 0-10 (0-3 frees, 0-2 65), Ryan Taylor, David Fitzgerald, Peter Duggan 0-3 each, Ian Galvin, Shane O’Donnell, Cathal Malone 0-2 each, David McInerney, Diarmuid Ryan, Robyn Mounsey 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cork: Patrick Horgan 0-10 (0-6 frees), Alan Connolly 1-1, Darragh Fitzgibbon 1-0, Robbie O’Flynn 0-3, Séamus Harnedy, Shane Kingston 0-2 each, Conor Lehane, Tim O’Mahony 0-1 each.

CLARE: Eibhear Quilligan; Paul Flanagan, Conor Cleary, Rory Hayes; David McInerney, John Conlon, Diarmuid Ryan; Cathal Malone, Ryan Taylor; David Fitzgerald, Peter Duggan, Shane O’Donnell; Robyn Mounsey, Ian Galvin, Tony Kelly. Subs: Aron Shanagher for Mounsey (57), Domhnall McMahon for Duggan (69).

CORK: Patrick Collins; Seán O’Donoghue, Niall O’Leary, Robert Downey; Tim O’Mahony, Ciarán Joyce, Ger Millerick; Mark Coleman, Shane Barrett; Séamus Harnedy, Darragh Fitzgibbon, Robbie O’Flynn; Jack O’Connor, Patrick Horgan, Shane Kingston. Subs: Alan Connolly for O’Connor (26), Conor Lehane for Barrett (half-time), Conor Cahalane for Harnedy (56), Tommy O’Connell for Millerick (59, injured), Mark Keane for Kingston (62).

Referee: Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow).