Cork 0-24 Clare 0-15
ANOTHER workmanlike performance from Cork, the victory securing them their place in the Munster U20 hurling championship final in two weeks.
A seven-point win over Limerick last week was followed by a hard-fought nine-point margin last evening as they eventually got the better of a resolute Clare at Páirc Uí Rinn.
In front of a crowd of 2,965, Cork outscored the visitors 0-10 to 0-3 in the closing 20 minutes to seal their place in the final two.
There were many players who stood up, however Daire Connery was magnificent throughout — he started at wing-forward and went to midfield for the second half and put in a superb shift.
Up front, the sharpness of Brian Turnbull was apparent, while Shane O’Regan — the hero of the quarter-final — chipped in with five points; significantly four of these coming down the home straight. Tommy O’Connell, who switched from midfield to the attack, was consistent too, while Sean Twomey justified his selection.
Defensively, they were ably led by county seniors Ger Millerick and Robert Downey.
Clare came Leeside with three seniors — Diarmuid Ryan, Aidan McCarthy, and Gary Cooney — while Ross Hayes and Rian Considine were on the extended panel.
They matched the hosts for the early exchanges but Cork grew in confidence and roared on by the home crowd, pushed on after the midway point.
Denis Ring made two changes from the quarter-final — Millerick and Twomey, both introduced as substitutes, replacing Ryan Walsh and Simon Kennefick.
The opening half got off to a hectic start, the sides trading three points each inside the first five minutes. Mark Rodgers and Brian Roche, respectively, got their sides up and running and Twomey showed tremendous skill to fire the equaliser for Cork, 0-3 apiece.
A run of scores from Brian Turnbull and Craig Hanifin saw Cork enjoy a two-point cushion after a quarter of an hour, however, they weren’t utilising their possession — at the end of the half the wide count was six/three.
Connery was getting on a load of ball and while it was nip and tuck up to the break, unanswered points from Twomey, Hanifin and Turnbull left Cork in the ascendancy 0-12 to 0-8.
Clare cut the gap to two points within 10 minutes of the restart, 0-14 to 0-12, but Cork managed to up the intensity in most areas, striking five points on the trot. The Banner reduced the deficit to three points, but in the six minutes of added time, O’Regan, Twomey, and O’Connell clipped over the all-important scores.
So, it is a repeat of last year’s U21 decider with Cork up against Tipperary in the final on Tuesday week in Semple Stadium. Similar to 2018, both finalists go through to the All-Ireland semi-finals.
And, of course, this is a boost for Cork as they to Croke Park on Sunday.
Scorers for Cork: S O’Regan, C Hanifin (0-4 f) and T O’Connell (0-5 each), B Turnbull (0-4 each), S Twomey (0-3), B Roche and D Connery (0-1 each).
Clare: A McCarthy (0-5, 0-3 f), D Ryan (0-4), R Considine (0-1 sl) and M Rodgers (0-2 each), A Moriarty and K McDermott (0-1 each).
CORK: G Collins (Ballinhassig); C O’Callaghan (Dromtarriffe), J Keating (Kildorrery, Capt), E Roche (Bride Rovers); G Millerick (Fr O’Neill’s), S O’ Leary Hayes (Midleton), R Downey (Glen Rovers); T O’ Connell (Midleton), B Roche (Bride Rovers); D Connery (Na Piarsaigh), C Hanifin (Na Piarsaigh), Sean Twomey (Courcey Rovers); B Turnbull (Douglas), S O’Regan (Watergrasshill), E Sheehan (Na Piarsaigh).
Subs: L O’Shea (Lisgoold) for E Sheehan (42), R Walsh (Kanturk) for B Roche (45), S Kennefick (Glen Rovers) for C Hanifin (48), D Hanlon (Blarney) for D Connery (62).
CLARE: E Foudy (Inagh/Kilnamona); K White (Inagh/Kilnamona), A Moloney (Kilmaley), P Casey (Ballyea); D Lohan (Wolfe Tones na Sionna), R Hayes (Crusheen), D McMahon (Clonlara); A McCarthy (Inagh/Kilnamona), K McDermott (Clarecastle); A Moriarty (Clonlara), D Ryan (Cratloe), R Considine (Cratloe); M Rodgers (Scarriff), G Cooney (O’Callaghan Mills, Capt), B Horner (Crusheen
Subs: C Darcy (Kilmaley) for R Hayes (half-time), T Agnew (Sixmilebridge) for B Horner (40), P Donnellan (Broadford) for P Casey (43), D Cullinan (Inagh/Kilnamona) for K McDermott (52), W Halpin (Tulla) for A Moriarty (65).
Referee: Kevin Jordan (Tipperary).