Cork claimed a first Munster SHC title in three years and underlined their All-Ireland credentials with a thoroughly convincing victory over Clare in front of 45,558 in Semple Stadium,.
Alan Cadogan was almost flawless in scoring 1-4 from play and Patrick Horgan contributed a hefty 0-13 as they withstood all that was thrown at them by Clare who will regret their 15 wides.
Cork went seven points up in the 53rd minute but were only two to the good four minutes later as Clare hit them for 1-2, Tony Kelly picking off two points and Conor McGrath finding the net after availing of a great John Conlon run.
Kelly’s second point from close to the sideline suggested Clare had stolen the initiative but Cork, like they did against Tipperary and Waterford, hit back when Cadogan pointed. There was a let-off when Cathal Malone hit the woodwork for a second time, though, and Horgan and Conlon exchanged scores prior to another Horgan free and a Seamus Harnedy point, which sent Cork five clear.
Mark Coleman hit two inspirational points, one of them a sideline cut, and set up Horgan for another, while Damien Cahalane soloed impressively forward to create a point for Cadogan and victory was Cork’s.
Cadogan’s performance stood loud and proud in the first half, helping himself to 1-2 and winning one of the four frees converted by Horgan. Oisín O’Brien made way for Jason McCarthy for the break such was the difficulty he was being posed by the Douglas man.
But Anthony Nash was also prominent in Cork taking a five-point lead at half-time, 1-10 to 0-8. Harnedy scored almost directly from a Nash puck-out in the third minute and Nash was able to find Luke Meade who sent in the ball for Cadogan’s 12th minute goal when he easily rounded O’Brien before finishing low past Andrew Fahy.
Clare came back with the next three scores, all from Kelly and one of them from a penalty after he hit too high following a foul on Shane O’Donnell in the parallelogram. Kelly was enjoying plenty of space but the closest Clare came to a goal when Cathal Malone kicked the sliotar against the post in the 11th minute.
The penalty point levelled up the game but Cork sent over five points in a row, a brace of Horgan frees and scores from Conor Lehane, Darragh Fitzgibbon and Cadogan. Clare broke that spell with two points on the spin but they were cancelled out by another couple of Horgan frees before the break as Clare’s indiscipline cost them more.
P. Horgan (0-13, 10 frees); A. Cadogan (1-4); S. Harnedy, M. Coleman (1 sideline) (0-2 each); C. Lehane, D. Fitzgibbon, S. Kingston, L. Meade(0-1 each).
T. Kelly (0-10, 6 frees, 1 pen); C. McGrath (1-1); J. Conlon (0-2); S. Morey, P. Collins, A. Shanagher, D. McInerney, C. Galvin, A. Cunningham, J. McCarthy (0-1 each).
A. Nash; C. Spillane, D. Cahalane, S. McDonnell (c); C. Joyce, M. Ellis, M. Coleman; B. Cooper, D. Fitzgibbon; L. Meade, C. Lehane, S. Kingston; A. Cadogan, P. Horgan, S. Harnedy.
D. Kearney for S. Kingston (57); L. O’Farrell for D. Fitzgibbon (61); M. Cahalane for L. Meade (66)
A. Fahy; P. O’Connor (c), D. McInerney, O. O’Brien; S. Morey, C. Cleary, D. Fitzgerald; C. Galvin, T. Kelly; C. Malone, P. Collins, J. Conlon; A. Shanagher, S. O’Donnell, C. McGrath.
J. McCarthy for O. O’Brien (33); D. Reidy for P. Collins (h-t); C. Dillon for P. O’Connor (43); A, Cunningham for A. Shanagher (60); P. Duggan for C. Malone (65).
F. Horgan (Tipperary).