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Cork survive Clare challenge to record crucial away win

May 18th, 2024 8:46 PM

By Kieran McCarthy

Cork survive Clare challenge to record crucial away win Image
Cork's Brian O’Driscoll holds off the challenge of Emmet McMahon of Clare during the clash in Ennis. (Photo: INPHO/Laszlo Geczo)

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CLARE 1-11

CORK 1-13

JUST like when these two met in the 2023 Munster SFC, there was little to separate them on the scoreboard in Ennis. The big difference this time is that it was Cork that came out on top to get their All-Ireland SFC Group 3 campaign off to the ideal – and necessary – start.

Given that both Cork and Clare will play Donegal and Tyrone in the weeks ahead, both knew the importance of this opener: the winner in pole position to take one of the three qualification spots on offer.

This was too close for comfort in the end, but Cork survived after Clare had battled back from trailing 1-6 to 0-4 at the half time before levelling 1-8 apiece when Ciaran Downes landed a 45 with 13 minutes left.

Cork didn’t panic. Tommy Walsh nudged the visitors back in front. Sub Steven Sherlock nailed a long range effort. Cork were two ahead, 1-10 to 1-8, but this wasn’t comfortable. Clare moved to within one, again, before sub Mark Cronin landed a free, and Sherlock pushed the lead out to three, 1-12 to 1-9. The home side kept coming, but Cork survived to eke out a two-point win that will set the Rebels up for the tests ahead.

Given Cork were in control at the break, leading 1-6 to 0-4, and looked the better team, the goal coming from Sean Powter midway through the period, the Rebels will wonder how Clare managed to get a foothold in the game in the second half, but Cork dug out a very important win. Last year Cork made the trip home after a narrow loss, this time they hit the road with two huge points on the board.

Scorers - Clare: Emmet McMahon 0-5 (5f); Aaron Griffin 1-0; Ciarán Downes (1f, 1 45), Daniel Walsh 0-2 each; Jamie Stack, Dermot Coughlan 0-1 each. Cork: Brian Hurley 0-3 (1f); Sean Powter 1-0; Paul Walsh, Steven Sherlock (1f), Mark Cronin (1f) 0-2 each; Tommy Walsh, Colm O’Callaghan, Conor Corbett, Chris Óg Jones 0-1 each.

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