Cork edge thriller but miss out on promotion play-off on scoring difference

Rebels just came up short despite a one-point victory, when they needed to win by four to be guaranteed a crack off top tier action
Cork edge thriller but miss out on promotion play-off on scoring difference

Ian Maguire rises above a crowd of Clare players to secure a kick-out. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Cork 0-22 Clare 1-18 

CORK just missed out on a promotion play-off in division 2 despite this narrow victory over Clare at Cusack Park, Ennis, on Sunday.

They needed to win by four points to be guaranteed of having a crack off top tier football in 2022, but now meet Westmeath in the relegation decider instead in a fortnight.

Cork's cause wasn't helped by the dismissal of substitute Brian Hurley for a couple of yellow cards in quick succession coming down the stretch.

It was still a commendable performance by the Rebels, but Kildare's runaway victory over Laois meant they finished third in the south section as Clare and Kildare progressed.

The rivals were level 10 times in all in a rip-roaring game as Clare's experience and composure shone through in a hectic climax.

Cork edged two clear with a Cathail O'Mahony '45 only for the Banner to rely with an Eoin Cleary free and the equalising point from substitute Aaron Griffin as the clock ticked into four minutes' injury-time.

And while John O'Rourke edged Cork in front once more they couldn't generate a goal-scoring opportunity, which might have changed their fortunes.

Clare’s Dean Ryan and John O’Rourke of Cork in action. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Clare’s Dean Ryan and John O’Rourke of Cork in action. Picture: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

Cork led by 0-12 to 1-8 at the end of an exciting first-half after Clare pegged back their promising start with a David Tubridy goal from a penalty in the eighth minute.

A long ball into the danger zone was flicked on by Gavin Cooney in Tubridy's direction before he was brought down by Daniel O'Mahony, who collected yellow for his trouble.

Tubridy picked himself up to beat keeper Micheál Aodh Martin with a well-struck low drive to the corner of the net.

Tubridy helped Clare jump 1-5 to 0-5 in front by the first water break, but Cork took over on the resumption with six unanswered points in as many minutes.

The enforced introduction of Cathail O'Mahony for the injured Ciaran Sheehan paid immediate dividends as he kicked three superb points with Luke Connolly and Sean White following for a 0-11 to 1-5 lead on the half-hour.

The sides were tied again at the second water-break, 0-16 to 1-13 with a Tubridy free from way out on the left bringing them level for the eighth time in all.

Cork's injuries continued to mount as Sean Powter became the latest victim, replaced by Paul Ring, who was making his first appearance in the league.

Scorers for Cork: C O'Mahony 0-5 (0-1 45), L Connolly 0-4 (0-3 f), J O'Rourke 0-4, T Corkery, B Hurley 0-2 each, M Taylor, I Maguire, P Walsh, S White, K O'Driscoll 0-1 each. 

Clare: D Tubridy 1-8 (1-0 pen, 0-6 f), E Cleary 0-4 (0-3 f), D O'Neill, C O'Connor, P Lillis, D Bohannon, G Cooney, A Griffin 0-1 each. 

CORK: MA Martin (Nemo Rangers); S Powter (Douglas), D O'Mahony (Knocknagree), K Flahive (Douglas); T Corkery (Cill na Martra), S Meehan (Kiskeam), M Taylor (Mallow); I Maguire (St Finbarr's), captain, P Walsh (Kanturk); S White (Clonakilty), R Deane (Bantry Blues), K O'Drisoll (Tadhg MacCarthaighs); J O'Rourke (Carbery Rangers), C Sheehan (Eire Og), L Connolly (Nemo Rangers). 

Subs: C Kiely (Ballincollig) for O'Mahony (injured 10), C O'Mahony (Mitchelstown) for Sheehan (injured 21), M Collins (Castlehaven) for Walsh and B Hurley (do) for White (43), P Ring (Aghabullogue) for Powter (injured 48), K O'Donovan (Nemo Rangers) for Corkery (48), D Gore (Kilmacabea) for Connolly (64).

CLARE: S Ryan; C Russell, C Brennan, K Hartnett; C O'Dea, S Collins, D Walsh; D O'Neill, C O'Connor; P Lillis, E Cleary, D Bohannon; G Cooney, D Tubridy, J McGann. 

Subs: D Ryan for Hartnett (injured 21), C Ó hAinifin for Ryan (half-time), K Sexton for Cooney and A Griffin for McGann (62), E McMahon for O'Connor (66).

 Referee: D O'Mahoney (Tipperary).

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