TWO second-half goals helped Cork secure their second McGrath Cup win in Quilty on Sunday and a place in the final against Limerick.
Clare were undone by the clinical finishing of Steven Sherlock and Chris Óg Jones after 52 and 67 minutes respectively.
Jones crossed from the left for Sherlock to finish emphatically for a 1-8 to 0-6 lead and Jones also took his opportunity well, firing an unstoppable shot past keeper David Sexton, who had saved brilliantly from Rory Maguire just before.
Cork made five changes from the Kerry game in all lines of the team except Ian Maguire and Colm O’Callaghan, who again impressed, at midfield.
Chris Kelly took over from Micheal Aodh Martin between the posts and in front of him Tommy Walsh started instead of Kevin O’Donovan and Luke Fahy was in for Rory Maguire while up front John O’Rourke replaced Sean Powter at centre-forward and Sherlock replaced Conor Corbett.
In the first-half Cork almost snatched a goal inside 20 seconds. Jones supplied Sherlock, whose well-struck shot was parried by Sexton.
The St Finbarr’s star had a second bite only to be denied again by a fine block, but captain Brian Hurley duly popped up to land the first point.
The sides were level twice in a very low-scoring opening 18 minutes. Jamie Malone tied it up almost immediately before patient build-up play resulted in Sherlock kicking Cork’s second point after 10 minutes.
An Eoin Cleary free made it 0-2 apiece but the home side didn’t score again for 14 minutes as Cork kicked three without response, Hurley starting the sequence before Ian Maguire was instrumental in carving the chance for Jones to score Cork’s fourth point.
A Sherlock free after 26 minutes stretched the visitors’ lead as the Banner lost Malone’s services following a well-timed tackle by Cork full-back Daniel O’Mahony.
His replacement Pearse Lillis ended Clare’s barren run with a fine score half-way through the four minutes added on, but Sherlock had the final from play, leaving Cork 0-6 to 0-3 ahead on the change of ends.
Clare had reduced the margin to two points, 0-8 to 0-6, after 50 minutes, but once Sherlock pounced for the opening goal, Cork never looked in any danger, especially as Clare lost Darragh Bohannon to a black card shortly after.
S Sherlock 1-6 (0-3 f), C Óg Jones 1-1, B Hurley 0-3.
K Sexton 0-3 f, E Cleary 0-2 f, J Malone, P Lillis, P Collins 0-1 each.
C Kelly (Éire Óg); M Shanley (Clonakilty), D O’Mahony (Knocknagree), T Walsh (Kanturk); L Fahy (Ballincollig), S Meehan (Kiskeam), M Taylor (Mallow); C O’Callaghan (Éire Óg), I Maguire (St Finbarr’s); E McSweeney (Knocknagree), J O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers), B O’Driscoll (Tadhg MacCarthaigh); C Óg Jones (Iveleary), B Hurley (Castlehaven), captain, S Sherlock (St Finbarr’s).
T Clancy (Clonakilty) for O’Mahony and R Maguire (Castlehaven) for Meehan, 50, R Deane (Bantry Blues) for McSweeney 54, C Kiely (Ballincollig) for Shanley 63, K O’Hanlon (Kilshannig) for O’Rourke 64, S Merritt (Mallow) for Fahy 66, P Ring (Aghabullogue) for Walsh, 67, P Walsh (Kanturk) for Maguire, F Herlihy (Dohenys) for O’Driscoll, M Cronin (Nemo Rangers) for Jones 69.
D Sexton; D Nagle, K Brennan, R Lanigan; A Sweeney, J Malone, C O’Dea; D Bohannon, B McNamara; D Coughlan, E Cleary, captain, C Downes; A Griffin, K Sexton, D Walsh.
P Lillis for Malone injured 25, G Cooney for Walsh, D O’Neill for McNamara and P Collins for Downes, all half-time, M McInerney for Griffin 52, M Garry for Nagle 57, T McDonald for Coughlin 60, M Doherty for Sweeney, 63, T Meenehan for Sexton and F Guinnane for Lanigan, 64.
B Fleming (Kerry).