Rebel’s reign in Munster battle


Cork 1-25 Clare 1-20

Cork claimed their first Munster title since 2014 with a five point over Clare at Thurles on Sunday. There was a massive Cork following and they outnumbered their Clare counterparts by 2 or 3:1 at least. In a game that seen Patrick Horgan and Alan Cadogan share 1-17 between the Rebels looked hungrier, more clinical and physical. Cork were ahead by 1-10 to 0-08 at the break.

Alan Cadogan got on the scoresheet after just 20 seconds after he pointed, before Tony Kelly brought the sides level. However Seamus Harnedy put the Rebels back in front minutes later. Seadna Morey pointed for Clare to bring the sides back to level terms, but Pat Horgan showed why he is one of the best in the business to restore the lead. Podge Collins tapped over from close range for Clare minutes later after Jamie Malone had his shot stopped by Nash. Then it was the turn of Cadogan on 12 minutes, the Douglas man latched onto a ball on the left wing, before easily rounding Oisin O’Brien to finish past Andrew Fahy in the Banner goal. Tony Kelly hit back though, as he scored two points in quick succession to leave the scores 1-03 to 0-05 after 18 minutes.

Clare were then rewarded a penalty after Shane O’Donnell was hauled back. Kelly stepped up to take the resulting penalty only to see it fly over Anthony Nash’s crossbar. Conor Lehane got a fine score from long range to put Cork a point ahead once more, before midfielder Darragh Fitzgibbon landed a nice point to stretch the lead to 1-05 to 0-06 after 25 minutes. Horgan established a three point lead for the Leesiders from a free, and minutes later the Glen Rovers man pointed from play to make it 1-07 to 0-06. Alan Cadogan stretched the lead further, but Tony Kelly landed a free and John Conlon pointed from play to decrease the lead. However, once again Horgan tapped over two frees for Kieran Kingston’s charges. Cork led at the break 1-10 to 0-08.

The second half began with full forward Aaron Shanagher getting his first and only score of the game for Clare, David McInerney then made a surging run from full back to point either side of a Horgan free. Shane Kingston stretched the lead back out to five and Cork were control once more. Pat Horgan traded points from placed balls with Kelly, before the Glen Rovers man responded to a point from Colm Galvin. With 25 minutes to go, Cork still led by that magic five points. Clare then start taking pot shots and it didn’t work for them as they hit wide after wide, while at the other end Horgan pointed from a free, to extend the lead to six with just about 20 minutes to go. Luke Meade made it a seven point gap minutes later and it looked like it was Cork’s game to lose. Kelly scored Clare’s first point in 10 minutes then, before Conor McGrath sprung to life on 55 minutes as his low ad powerful from about 25 yards out beat Nash to leave three between the sides. Kelly cut the gap to two with a free, but Alan Cadogan was on song for Cork and he landed a superb point.

Clare had a goal chance a minute later, with midfielder bursting through the defence only to his effort bounce of the crossbar and wide. It was basically a four point swing here, as Horgan scored at the other end for the Rebels soon after. John Conlon got a nice point with 11 minutes to go and it was still all to play for. Horgan was in fine form for Cork and he got his 10th point of the day on 60 minutes, before Harnedy pushed the lead back out to five once more. Aaron Cunningham was introduced by Clare and his impact was made minutes later when he fired over. Mark Coleman has been one of the best hurlers this year and he showed nerves of steel to slot a sideline between the posts on 63 minutes, before Jason McCarthy pointed for Clare. However, it was 19 year old Coleman who once again came to the fore on 65 minutes as he dissected the posts from 60 yards out.

Clare did keep pushing on with Tony Kelly notching over two frees to leave just a goal between the sides on 68 minutes. Conor McGrath tapped over then from play to leave two between the sides and the 44,000 plus strong crowd were in for a frantic finish. Cork though deserved the win and it was evident that they wanted it more when Damian Cahalane came storming out of defence past Shane O’Donnell, before passing the ball to Horgan to fire over. The game was all but sealed on 72 minutes when Cadogan capped his man of the match performance with a superb score and with virtually the last puck of the game Horgan struck over a free to give the Rebels a deserved win and a semi-final spot in the All-Ireland series.

Player of the Match: Alan Cadogan