Cork hurlers off to winning league start as Clare are seen off

Good second quarter turned the game the way of Kieran Kingston's side
Cork hurlers off to winning league start as Clare are seen off

Cork's Shane Barrett was very impressive up front in the victory over Clare at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, scoring 0-3 from play. Picture: Larry Cummins

Cork 2-30 Clare 2-21

A STRONG finish to the first half at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday evening put Cork in a commanding position and helped them to get off to a winning start in Division 1 Group of the Allianz Hurling League.

While Kieran Kingston’s side – starting with nine of the side that began last August’s All-Ireland final defeat to Limerick – didn’t lead before Tim O’Mahony’s goal in the 26th minute put them 1-10 to 1-9 ahead, they drove on from there and were 1-19 to 1-9 to the good at half-time as Clare’s good start was stopped in its tracks.

In the second period, Cork ensured that they held the whip hand and had moved 15 ahead, 1-30 to 1-15, by the 65th minute. There may be some concern about Clare outscoring them by 1-6 to 1-0 for the remainder, but Cork will move on to next week’s visit to Offaly in fairly confident mood.

It took time to get on top, though. Mark Coleman’s third point of the first half, a long-range free in the 20th minute, tied the scores at 0-9 each, with Cork not having led up to then. 

There was something of an openness to the Cork defence and that was shown again Rory Hayes found Robin Mounsey, who played a good ball Shane Meehan. After he turned Ger Millerick, a goal chance opened up for him but instead he opted to give Mark Rodgers an easier chance and he fired home from close range.

That was in the 21st minute, but Clare wouldn’t score again in the first half as Cork landed an unanswered 1-10 to move into a lead that wouldn’t be lost. Shane Barrett went close to an immediate goal response for Cork, linking well with Seán Twomey – a feature throughout – and forcing a good save from Eibhear Quilligan.

Coleman sent over the resultant 65 and from that puckout, Tim O’Mahony intercepted, allowing Conor Lehane to pick up possession. O’Mahony continued his run, allowing him to link with Shane Kingston, whom Lehane had fed, before shooting past Quilligan to give Cork the lead.

The scores flowed for Cork in the final stages of the first half as pressure high up the field yielded turnovers from Clare. Joyce and Fitzgibbon were linking very well at midfield and each finished the half with two points while Coleman continued to take his opportunities from distance. 

He had five registered by the break, as had Shane Kingston, who was on the frees in the absence of Patrick Horgan, while Alan Cadogan got off the mark just before the break after doing well to intercept a short Clare puck-out.

 Alan Cadogan, Cork, is held back by Conor Cleary, Clare. Picture: Larry Cummins.
Alan Cadogan, Cork, is held back by Conor Cleary, Clare. Picture: Larry Cummins.

Kingston and Fitzgibbon added further points on the restart as Cork opened up a 12-point lead, with Clare’s David Reidy missing two frees before their 19-minute drought was finally ended. Rodgers and Cathal Malone – so impressive when Clare were on top in the opening quarter – were also on target but a full-scale comeback was never going to materialise.

Cork’s points continued to come and a goal from sub Luke Meade in the 69th minute, set up by fellow replacement Robbie O’Flynn, made it 2-30 to 1-18, though Clare had 1-3 on the trot at the end, with sub Domhnall McMahon raising their second green flag at the death.

 Second-half substitute Pádraig Power on the attack for Cork against Clare. Picture: Larry Cummins
Second-half substitute Pádraig Power on the attack for Cork against Clare. Picture: Larry Cummins

Scorers for Cork: S Kingston 0-9 (0-5 f, 0-1 65), M Coleman 0-5 (0-3 f), D Fitzgibbon 0-4, C Joyce, S Barrett 0-3 each, L Meade, T O’Mahony 1-0 each, S Harnedy 0-2, R Downey, C Lehane, A Cadogan, P Power 0-1 each.

Scorers for Clare: M Rodgers 1-5 (0-2 f), C Malone 0-5, D Reidy 0-3 f, D McMahon 1-0, R Taylor, D Ryan, P Crotty 0-2 each, P Donnellan, S Meehan 0-1 each.

CORK: P Collins; N O’Leary, G Millerick, S O’Donoghue; T O’Mahony, M Coleman, R Downey; C Joyce, D Fitzgibbon; C Lehane, S Harnedy, S Twomey; S Kingston, A Cadogan, S Barrett.

Subs: C Cahalane for Twomey (43), J O’Connor for Lehane (52), P Power for Cadogan (56), L Meade for Harnedy (60), R O’Flynn for Barrett (65), S O’Leary Hayes for O’Leary (68, temporary).

CLARE: E Quilligan; A Fitzgerald, C Cleary, P Flanagan; D Ryan, J Browne, R Hayes; D McInerney, R Mounsey; A Shanagher, C Malone, R Taylor; M Rodgers, S Meehan, D Reidy.

Subs: P Crotty for Mounsey (40), D McMahon for Shanagher, D Fitzgerald for Reidy, P Donnellan for McInerney (all 56).
Referee: J Murphy (Limerick).

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