Cork will meet Clare in round 2 of the All-Ireland SHC qualifiers next Saturday at 4.30pm in the LIT Gaelic Grounds.
The draw for the two fixtures was made on Monday's edition of Morning Ireland on RTÉ Radio 1 by GAA President Larry McCarthy. While the four counties involved – Cork, Clare, Galway and Waterford – were in the same bowl, Clare could not meet Waterford as the counties had already clashed in the Munster quarter-final. That meant that Cork couldn't be paired with Galway either, effectively making it a seeded draw.
In the event, the stipulations didn't matter as Clare were drawn first, followed by Cork. The fixture is a repeat of the 2013 All-Ireland final, when current Cork manager Kieran Kingston was a member of Jimmy Barry-Murphy's backroom team. Clare won that after a replay but the Rebels triumphed in the Munster finals of 2017 and 2018.
The counties’ last championship meeting came in 2019, when Clare triumphed in a Munster SHC round-robin clash at Cusack Park in Ennis, a result that denied Cork a place in a third straight Munster final but which was not enough for the Banner to progress to the latter stages of the All-Ireland series.
Prior to that, Cork had won all of the meetings since the 2013 decider – a Munster semi-final in 2014, an All-Ireland qualifier in 2015, the two aforementioned provincial finals and the counties’ first round-robin meeting, a clash in Páirc Uí Chaoimh in 2017.
Clare advanced to the second round of the qualifiers with a three-point win over Wexford in Thurles last Saturday. While Brian Lohan’s side seared into an early 1-12 to 0-4 lead in the first half, they were almost reeled in by the Model County.
With Cork clashing with Clare, it means that the other tie is a repeat of the 2017 All-Ireland hurling final between Galway and Waterford. If Galway were to win that, then a Cork victory against Clare would guarantee an All-Ireland quarter-final meeting with Dublin. Mattie Kenny’s side, who lost to Kilkenny in Saturday’s Leinster final, have already played Galway and so the counties would be kept apart in the last six.
Meanwhile, the Cork team for Tuesday’s Bord Gáis Energy Munster U20HC semi-final against Tipperary in Semple Stadium (7.30pm) features seven survivors from last Saturday week’s 2020 All-Ireland final.
Full-back Dáire O’Leary, centre-back Ciarán Joyce, right half-forward Darragh Flynn and full-forward Pádraig Power all started in the win over Dublin in UPMC Nowlan Park ten days ago, while captain Cormac O’Brien, who is selected at number 4, and dual stars Brian Hayes and Jack Cahalane – left half-forward and left corner-forward respectively – all came off the bench in that clash. Midfielders Sam Quirke and Brian O’Sullivan were also part of the matchday squad for the decider.
Unfortunately for Cork, two of the All-Ireland-winning stars – Alan Connolly and Shane Barrett – are U20 this year but are unable to feature until Cork exit the senior championship, having come on as subs in the Munster quarter-final loss to Limerick earlier this month.
Among the newcomers to the team, goalkeeper Cathal Wilson played senior A championship for Newcestown last year while Eoin Downey is the younger brother of senior star Robert and Robbie Cotter scored 2-2 off the bench in the county final win over Glen Rovers.
Also on the panel but not in the matchday 24 are Cathal McCarthy (Sarsfields), Pádraic Cullinane (Ballinascarthy), Cathal Hickey (Lisgoold), Paddy O’Flynn (Bride Rovers), Colm McCarthy (Sarsfields), Conor Griffin (Newtownshandrum), Seán Walsh (Carrigtwhohill) and Brian Keating (Ballincollig).
Hayes and Cahalane are set to be involved again on Thursday night as Cork’s U20 footballers take on Tipperary in the Munster final, also in Thurles. Then, at the same venue next Tuesday, Cork’s minor hurlers meet Limerick in a Munster semi-final, seeking to build on last week’s outstanding 40-point win over Clare in their quarter-final.
CORK (U20H v Tipperary): C Wilson (Newcestown); E Downey (Glen Rovers), D O’Leary (Watergrasshill), C O’Brien (Newtownshandrum); E Twomey (St Finbarr’s), C Joyce (Castlemartyr), K Moynihan (Na Piarsaigh); S Quirke (Midleton), B O’Sullivan (Kanturk); D Flynn (Ballygiblin), D Hogan (Sarsfields), B Hayes (St Finbarr’s); R Cotter (Blackrock), P Power (Blarney), J Cahalane (St Finbarr’s). Subs: C Long (Glen Rovers), C O’Donovan (Douglas), C O’Leary (Ballincollig), P O’Halloran (Ballygarvan), D Kearney (Cobh), M Mullins (Whitechurch), L Horgan (Glen Rovers), B Cunningham (St Finbarr’s), S Desmond (Watergrasshill).