Clare v Cork: Rebels' 'poor record in Ennis' doesn't stand up to scrutiny

Examining Cork's results at Cusack Park reveals shows that the overall picture isn't as bad as is portrayed
Clare v Cork: Rebels' 'poor record in Ennis' doesn't stand up to scrutiny

The Cork team before their Allianz HL Division 1 game against Clare at Cusack Park in 2009. Picture: Pat Murphy/Sportsfile

With all of the world’s information at our fingertips, it should be easier for the truth to pervade.

However, as we have seen with the rise of the phrase ‘fake news’ over the past decade, it seems that the opposite is the case – if you disseminate something widely enough and with sufficient authority, people will swallow it rather than verify it.

A few years ago, a statistic did the rounds that legendary pair Franco Baresi and Paolo Maldini had played 196 Serie A games together for Milan, with just 29 goals conceded in them.

Now, Milan were good for much of that time but they weren’t so good that they conceded only five or six goals a season. The duo had actually played 297 games together, conceding 221 times.

What had happened was that a tweet from the official Serie A account was mistranslated – Baresi and Maldini had scored 29 goals between them – but, then, rather than any critical thinking being applied, various ‘banter’ accounts got in on the act and the false information was spread far and wide.

It probably isn’t one that has gained as much traction but, in discussions around tomorrow’s Munster SHC game in Cusack Park between Clare and Cork (2pm), it’s an even-money chance that you’ll have heard that “Cork don’t have a great record in Ennis.”

On the one hand, it’s absolutely irrefutable – the Rebels have a zero percent win rate at the venue. On the other, there has just been a sole meeting at Cusack Park, in the 2019 round-robin. Cork were all but assured of qualification for the knockout stage anyway – which doesn’t excuse the loss as a win would have put them in the Munster final – but it’s not a massive sample size, as they say.

Spreading the net to take in national league results doesn’t do much to paint Ennis as an especially unhappy hunting ground, either. There was a draw this year in the final round – Cork had secured a semi-final spot regardless – and the previous meeting at Cusack Park before that was a 0-23 to 0-19 win for Clare in 2018, while the time before that was 2009, the famous game where the striking Cork players returned with a 2-14 to 0-16 win.

Cork's Mark Coleman is challenged by Shane O'Donnell of Clare in the Munster SHC game at Cusack Park in 2019 - the counties' only championship meeting at the venue. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile
Cork's Mark Coleman is challenged by Shane O'Donnell of Clare in the Munster SHC game at Cusack Park in 2019 - the counties' only championship meeting at the venue. Picture: Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Cork also won there in 2007 and 2003, losing in 2005, and, amazingly, you have to have to go back to 1991 for the last Clare-Cork game in Ennis before that. Even more surprisingly, there were two meetings there that year – a draw in the 1990-91 league in February and a 1-12 to 1-8 win for Clare that November.

In November 1988, six months after the birth of Patrick Horgan, the oldest player on the Cork panel, the Rebels had triumphed by 4-9 to 2-7 at Cusack Park. So, in the lifetime of any current player, the league breakdown is four Cork wins, three Clare wins and two draws.

If the proverbial bad record in Ennis continues and Clare win, Brian Lohan’s side will be in the Munster final while Cork would need something from their final game, away to Limerick tomorrow week.


On the other hand, a Cork victory would guarantee a place in the All-Ireland series at worst while it would make Limerick’s task harder. In such a scenario, Clare would finish on four points but, as one win was against Limerick, John Kiely’s team would need three or more points in their matches against Tipperary (4pm tomorrow) and Cork, assuming that Tipp beat the already-eliminated Waterford.

Also in action this weekend are the Cork minor hurlers, who take on Galway in the All-Ireland semi-final at FBD Semple Stadium today (3pm).

Having lost to Clare in the Munster final last Tuesday week, Kieran Murphy’s side will be looking for a strong response, though Galway were very impressive in beating Kilkenny in the Leinster decider – the first year that the Tribesboys have been permitted to take part in the provincial competition.

Goalkeeper Oisín Walsh and centre-back and vice-captain Ben Walsh were unable to start against Clare and their availability would be welcomed. In attack, Barry Walsh and Barry O’Flynn are likely to lead the challenge.

The game in Thurles is preceded by the Clare-Kilkenny semi-final at 1pm.

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