STEPHEN Sherlock hit an injury-time winning goal as Cork snatched a dramatic victory in the McGrath Cup final in Mallow.
The St Finbarr’s forward scored his second goal of the game in injury time, finishing from close range as Cork came from behind to defend their McGrath Cup title.
Sherlock finished with 2-3 in this six-goal thriller as a young Cork side that led 2-8 to 0-4 at one point in the first half had to dig deep to deny the Banner men.
Sherlock and Mark Collins both goaled inside the opening six minutes as Cork stretched their legs and built up a 2-2 to 0-1 lead, and with Cathal Vaughan and Michael Hurley both scoring three points each in the opening half, the Rebels led by ten approaching the break. But then Vaughan went off with a shoulder injury and Clare struck for a goal from Keelan Sexton to reduce the half-time lead, 2-8 to 1-4.
Clare dominated the opening exchanges of the second half with goals from Alan Sweeney and Gearoid O’Brien and they led 3-9 to 2-9 midway through the second half.
Cork were in trouble now and turned to the bench as John O’Rourke, Ian Maguire, Ruairi Deane and Sean Powter were all introduced – and it did help as Cork had most of the ball in the closing minutes.
Wing back Padraig Clancy saw a late thunderbolt rocket off the crossbar before a Sherlock effort was deflected wide - and then the Barr’s man got a touch to steer the ball into the net in injury-time for the winner.
Cork: Stephen Sherlock 2-3 (3f), Michael Hurley 0-4, Mark Collins 1-1, Cathal Vaughan 0-3 (1f), Daniel O’Callaghan, Cian Kiely 0-1 each.
Clare: Conor Finucane 0-5 (2f), Keelan Sexton, Gearoid O’Brien 1-1 each, Alan Sweeney 1-0, Eimhin Courtney 0-3, Cathal O’Connor, Darragh Bohannon 0-1 each.
Cork: Mark White (Clonakilty); Sam Ryan (St Finbarr’s), Conor Dorman (Bishopstown), Micheál McSweeney (Newcestown); Padraig Clancy (Fermoy), Kevin Flahive (Douglas), Cian Kiely (Ballincollig); Jamie O’Sullivan (Bishopstown), Daniel O’Callaghan (Clyda Rovers); Sean White (Clonakilty), Kevin Crowley (Millstreet), Michael Hurley (Castlehaven); Cathal Vaughan (Iveleary), Mark Collins (Castlehaven), Stephen Sherlock (St Finbarr’s).
Subs: Cian Dorgan, John O’Rourke, Ian Maguire, Sean Powter, Ruairi Deane, Dylan Quinn.
Clare: Killian Roche; Eanna O’Connor, Cillian Brennan, Gordon Kelly; Tom Hannan, Aaron Fitzgerald, Jamie Malone; Sean O’Donoghue, Cathal O’Connor, Pearse Lillis; Alan Sweeney, Kieran Malone, Eibhin Courtney; Keelan Sexton, Conor Finnucane.
Subs: Eoghan Collins, Darragh Bohannon, David Egan, Gearóid O’Brien, Martin O’Leary, Jonah Culligan.
Referee: Seamus Mulvihill (Kerry).