Ultimately, this laid the foundation for everything that followed and what will be most disappointing for team, management and supporters is that there wasn’t a stronger reaction to the Limerick game a fortnight ago.
Though Robyn Mounsey’s opener for Clare was followed by points for Robbie O’Flynn and Shane Kingston, Cork wouldn’t lead again and conceded five more points before their third arrived. While the deficit was back to a manageable six points by half-time, Clare could have been further in front, having had nine first-half wides to Cork’s three.
This was Cork’s fourth loss in five games and, while the defeat to Wexford in the final regular league match be discounted, since beating Kilkenny in the league semi-final, they have come up short against Waterford in the final and now Limerick and Clare in the championship.
Whereas Cork’s form in the early part of the league was ebullient, now things aren’t coming off as easily and it can be hard to persevere. In contrast, Clare came into this on the back of a win over Tipperary and built on it.
When Ian Galvin was red-carded after a kerfuffle in which’s Cork Robert Downey was booked, the scoreboard read 0-22 to 1-15 in Clare’s favour. Cork initially went with Ciarán Joyce as the spare man before Mark Coleman took over but that was of little import in overall terms as Clare sent over three unanswered points to give themselves a considerable cushion again.