Cork U20 footballers survive serious test from Clare to set up Kerry clash

Cork U20 footballers survive serious test from Clare to set up Kerry clash
Clare's Cillian Rouine challenges Cork's Daniel O'Connell. Picture: Eamon Ward

Clare 2-7 Cork 1-12

SPECTATORS who arrived early to this Munster semi-final were treated to 40 minutes of Bruce Springsteen from the PA system in Miltown Malbay. 

It was more a case of born to run than dancing in the dark as Cork put their All-Ireland title on the line for the first time in front of an attendance of 830.

Cork built up a five-point lead in the opening 10 minutes with the Murphys, Blake and Jack, doing the damage. They combined for the first goal as Blake’s dropping 45 failed to be controlled by the Clare defence with Jack collecting the ball and firing it past Tom O’Brien.

It was the wake-up call that Clare needed as they responded with 1-01 in three minutes. The lively Shane Meehan registered a point while county senior panellist Emmet McMahon capitalised on a misplaced Josh O’Keeffe’s kick-out which Mark McInerney fed through to Meehan who impressively offloaded to McMahon while falling to the ground.

Corner-forwards Mark Cronin and Blake Murphy added white flags only for the hosts to finish the half with 1-1, both scores by Mark McInerney to give them a slender one-point lead at the interval.

Well aware of what was at stake should victory elude them, the Rebels needed to reign supreme from the resumption, which they did.

Keith Ricken’s charges took control in the third quarter amassing six points without reply. It was during this spell that the game was ultimately won and lost.

Clare had to wait until the 52nd minute to get their first score of the half which reduced the gap, Blake Murphy would add Cork’s final effort of the contest three minutes later. 

Their inability to see out a half yet again was evident but fortunately for them, Clare only managed to add a further four white flags.

Cork's Colm O'Shea and Clare's Oisin Looney in action. Picture: Eamon Ward
Cork's Colm O'Shea and Clare's Oisin Looney in action. Picture: Eamon Ward

Early in the encounter, Cork displayed smart football whereby a quick ball was delivered into their danger men. This dissipated as the game wore on and reduced the strength of their challenge. Jack Lawton, Cronin, Éanna O’Hanlon, Daniel O’Connell and Diarmuid Phelan were best for the winners who will now face Kerry in the Munster final.

Their tired conclusions to each half and tally of 12 wides will certainly be punished if it is replicated against the Kingdom.

Scorers for Cork: B Murphy 0-8 (0-6 f, 0-1 45, 0-1 mark), J Murphy 1-0, M Cronin 0-3 (0-1 f), F Herlihy 0-1.

Scorers for Clare: M McInerney 1-4 (0-3 f), E McMahon 1-1, S Meehan, O Looney 0-1 each.

CORK: Josh O’Keeffe (Newmarket); Colm O’Shea (Kilshannig), Daniel O’Mahony (Knocknagree), Diarmuid Phelan (Aghada); David Buckley (Newcestown), Billy Foley (Bantry Blues), Brian Lynch (Douglas); Jack Lawton (Argideen Rangers), Daniel O’Connell (Kanturk); Jack Murphy (Eire Og), Aodán Ó Luasa (Naomh Abán), Brian Hayes (St Finbarr’s); Mark Cronin (Nemo Rangers), joint captain, Fionn Herlihy (Dohenys), Blake Murphy (St Vincent’s), joint captain.

Subs: Éanna O’Hanlon (Kilshannig) for Foley (h-t), Eoghan Lehane (Canovee) for Lynch (34), Conor Corbett (Clyda Rovers) for Hayes (34), Sean Desmond (Clondrohid) for Phelan (62), Jack Kelleher (Canovee) for Corbett (64 inj).

CLARE: Tom O’Brien; Manus Doherty, Micheál Murray, Ciarán McMahon; Daniel Walsh, Cillian Rouine, Sean Conway; Oisín Looney, Eoin Rouine; John Murphy, Emmet McMahon, Thomas Clancy; Diarmuid O’Donnell, Shane Meehan, Mark McInerney.

Subs: Morgan Garry for O’Donnell (36), Gavin D’Auria for Murray (52), Eoghan Thynne for Clancy (53), Cian McDonagh for Conway (60).

Referee: Brendan Griffin (Kerry)

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