Cork 3-15 Clare 0-8
DESPITE the final margin, Cork didn’t have it all their own way against Clare in the Liberty Insurance All-Ireland quarter-final in Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday afternoon.
It was as Clare tired in the final quarter that Cork put the game to bed. The end result though is an All-Ireland semi-final against Kilkenny on Saturday week on home turf again in the Páirc, with Galway against Tipp on the other side of the draw.
Cork again played the short passing game and tried to walk the ball into their full-forward line where they were up against a strong Clare back three of Ciara Crogan, Clare Hehir and Ciara Doyle. Clare to their credit took the game to Cork.
I had a fear before the game that they would go defensive and be content with a respectable defeat rather than go out and try and win the game but they attacked from the outset. It was Cork that played deep as they again packed their own 45 and middle section to support their off the shoulder game.
Off the shoulder is fine to a certain extent but Cork again aren’t taking their scores from scoreable positions out the field, instead seeming to feel the need to be at least 30 yards from the goalposts before willing to shoot, Orla Cronin the exception. A
shling Thompson again operated defensively, her attacking game a distant memory now. Really six points from play in the opening half from Cork wasn’t good enough.
They scored five over the hour against Galway last week.
There were two changes to Cork’s starting 15 from last weekend with Sarsfields’ Niamh O’Callaghan and Courcey Rovers’ Saoirse McCarthy given the nod to start.
Liz Dempsey had an easy job in such a big pitch and the game was relatively free-flowing in the opening half although on two occasion she should have let advantage play out, once when Linda Collins had the goal in front of her and again denying Clare when in space a few minutes later.
Clare goalkeeper Aisling Corbett had a couple of hairy moments under the dropping ball but Cork weren’t in the square to capitalise.
The wind was strong and Clare opened with it. They were full value for their trailing point at half time 0-7 to 0-6, working their socks off to stop Cork’s interplay. It was a bridge to far for them to sustain it over the hour.
Cork’s second half provided more scoring attempts from distance but for the second week in a row the opposition’s full back line were on top for a period despite Katrina Mackey finished an Amy O’Connor pass to the net to give Cork their engine start.
On the other end Hannah Looney was on song alongside Laura Treacy and Meabh Cahalane.
We can assume that Cork’s management felt the game was won on 52 minutes when Katrina Mackey was called to the line as the RTÉ Player of the Match had a busy hour. Cork utilised their five subs.
Clare started to tire and made sloppy mistakes particularly coming out of defence and it allowed Amy O’Connor through for Cork’s second goal.
Another sloppy clearance allowed for Orla Cronin to take it down well and offload to Amy O’Connor who with just one defender in front of her was always going to go for the jugular.
Cork’s experience took over. The experience of physical battles shows in the final quarter as Cork struck 2-6 and looked impressive. They picked off some nice scores and took chances at distance and even though a couple went wide it was the right decision.
There will be tougher battles ahead.
Scorers for Cork: K Mackey 1-3, A O’Connor 2-1, Cronin 0-6 (0-4 f), C Sigerson (f), L Collins, S McCarthy, C Healy, H Looney 0-1 each.
Clare: C Morey 0-4 f, A O’Loughlin, E Kelly 0-2 each.
CORK: A Lee; L Coppinger, L Treacy, M Cahalane; H Looney, P Mackey, L Hayes; N O’Callaghan, A Thompson; K Mackey, O Cronin, C Sigerson; A O’Connor, S McCarthy, L Collins.
Subs: C Healy for S McCarthy (43), L Homan for N O’Callaghan (44), I O’Regan for K Mackey (53), E Murphy for L Coppinger (54), F Keating for H Looney (60).
CLARE: A Corbett; C Grogan, C Hehir, C Doyle; R McMahon, N O’Dea, A Ryan; S Vaughan, O Duggan; L McMahon, E Kelly, M McGrath; C Morey, A O’Loughlin, M Scanlon.
Subs: R Conway for M Scanlon (36), S Conlon for S Vaughan (43), G Hickey for L McMahon (48), A Power for M McGrath (56), M Caulfield for O Duggan (57).
Referee: Liz Dempsey (Kilkenny).