Cork v Clare: Modern rivals collide in critical Division 2 clash

Banner have played very well this spring without getting the results they should have
Cork v Clare: Modern rivals collide in critical Division 2 clash

Cork's Chris Óg Jones and Clare's Cillian Brennan in action in January. Picture: Eamon Ward

SUNDAY: Division 2: Clare v Cork, Cusack Park, Ennis, 2pm.

PART two of the trilogy between the counties follows on from a McGrath Cup meeting at the start of the year and is sandwiched in between next month’s critical Munster championship quarter-final at the same venue.

Cork were afforded the luxury of experiencing the wilds of the Atlantic coastline for their Quilty date with the Banner in the pre-season warm-up competition but now it’s a return to more familiar terrain in a game of major significance for the rivals.

John Cleary’s side are currently third in the standings, four points behind unbeaten Derry and Dublin who collide up north tomorrow, and only ahead of Louth and Meath on scoring difference while Clare are closer to the relegation zone.

Cork’s Brian Hurley with Gordon Brown of Limerick. Picture: INPHO/Evan Treacy
Cork’s Brian Hurley with Gordon Brown of Limerick. Picture: INPHO/Evan Treacy

Such is the precarious nature of the league that one or two results can impact significantly and yet Cork know that victory here would cement their division 2 status for next season while also remaining in close enough proximity to the leading duo to make it interesting on the run-in to the closing games away to Louth and home to Derry.

It’s a must-win encounter for the home side, however, particularly as they make the long journey north at the next time of asking so the pressure is definitely on Colm Collins’s charges.


That’s due in the main to their inability to see out games, frustratingly blowing big leads against Dublin at Croke Park last weekend and Kildare on their own patch the previous week.

Clare led the Dubs by six points with 12 minutes remaining only to cough up the next seven points in a galling 0-16 to 1-12 loss, the winning score coming deep into stoppage time.

Against the Lillywhites, Clare were almost in an identical situation, six points to the good with 14 minutes left and Kildare operating with 14 players but they managed to kick eight of the closing nine scores for a 0-16 to 0-15 triumph.

Clare had opened by coming out the right side of a one-point game, defeating newly promoted Louth by 0-13 to 1-9, but, like Cork, leaked goals next time against Meath, who won by 4-8 to 0-16.

While Cork claimed the spoils by 2-10 to 0-8 in the McGrath Cup, Clare know what it’s like to get the upper hand on the Rebels like in 2018, when winning by 0-14 to 0-12 at Pairc Ui Rinn and then backing it up the following year in an emphatic 3-13 to 1-10 success in Ennis.

Last year the sides drew 1-13 apiece at Pairc Ui Chaoimh with Cork skipper Brian Hurley scoring 1-4 and the most recent trip to the mid-west in the league yielded a thrilling Cork victory by 0-22 to 1-18 on a roasting hot Sunday afternoon during Covid.

It was a Division 2 South tie with the sides level 10 times before John O’Rourke got Cork over the line with a late winner.

Cork travel with a lot of confidence from compiling 6-18 last weekend against Limerick, shutting out opponents for the third successive game in the process, but this is a completely different challenge.

Limerick found Cork’s pace too hot to handle, finding the step-up from Division 3 a touch overpowering, but Clare will have no such issues.

They’ll believe they’re due a break after the heartache of the last two outings and in captain Eoin Cleary, Gavin Cooney and Sigerson Cup player Emmett McMahon, who played for UL against UCC in the final, Cork will have to be on their guard.

Still, it’s at the other end that Cork should prosper and give the home defence plenty to ponder.

More in this section

Sponsored Content

Echo 130Echo 130


Read all about the monthly winner’s and more.
Click Here


Podcast: 1000 Cork songs 
Singer/songwriter Jimmy Crowley talks to John Dolan

Listen Here

Add to your home screen - easy access to Cork news, views, sport and more