Cork lose opening Hurling League game


Allianz Hurling League Division One Group A

Clare 1-25 Cork 2-19

By Eoin Brennan at Cusack Park

Clare maintained their Cusack Park hold over Pat Ryan’s Cork when impressively defying the conditions with a powerful second half display in front of 7,380 in Ennis.

Having shared the spoils in last year’s equivalent before Clare dramatically edged matters by the minimum at the same venue last May in the Munster Championship, not even a recent Munster Hurling League reverse in Páirc Uí Rinn could provide any solace when it mattered most as Seadna Morey’s late goal finally sealed a positive start to the new Allianz Hurling League campaign for the Banner.

Despite controlling matters in the opening quarter, with the aid of a strong wind, to power 0-9 to 0-3 clear, the home side would be floored by a brace of goals in the space of nine minutes as Patrick Horgan and Tommy O’Connell regained full parity nearing the half hour mark at 0-11 to 2-5.

Clare, aided by late points for Robin Mounsey (2) and the ever-impressive Mark Rodgers, did salvage a one point advantage by the break at 0-14 to 2-7 but with a gale to come, the pendulum appeared to switch to the Rebels for the new half.

A spirited Clare refused to adhere to that script, however, as Rodgers converted four successive points to initiate a defiant third quarter blitz that saw David Reidy and David Fitzgerald contribute to seven of the first eight points at 0-21 to 2-8.

A shellshocked Cork did bounce back off the ropes with five different scorers including the inspirational Ciaran Joyce slashing the deficit to just two by the 64th minute at 0-22 to 2-14.

However, having done the hard work, Clare were not about to let this glorious opportunity slip as David Fitzgerald’s pinpoint delivery from the left wing was excellently fielded and batted to the net by substitute Morey to restore a five point cushion.

That goal would remain the difference in the end as Cork were kept at arm’s length by an obstinate Banner side that deservedly prevailed ahead of an early top-of-the-table clash against Davy Fitzgerald’s Waterford on away soil next Sunday.

Meanwhile Pat Ryan and Co. will have to wait until their Munster Championship rematch on Sunday, April 28th to redress the balance and finally end his big game Banner hoodoo.

**Scorers for Clare: **Mark Rodgers 0-13 (10fs, 1’65), Seadna Morey (1-1 Cathal Malone, Robin Mounsey, David Reidy, David Fitzgerald 0-2 each, David McInerney, Gearoid Sheedy, Shane Meehan 0-1 each.

**Scorers for Cork: **Patrick Horgan 1-7 (7fs), Shane Kingston 0-3, Tommy O’Connell 1-0, Conor Lehane, Shane Barrett 0-2 each ,Cormac O’Brien, Robbie O’Flynn, Sean O’Donoghue, Ciaran Joyce, Sean Twomey 0-1 each.

Clare: Eibhear Quilligan; Conor Cleary, Paul Flanagan, Adam Hogan; Diarmuid Ryan, David McInerney, Darragh Lohan; Cathal Malone, Sean Rynne; David Fitzgerald, Robin Mounsey, Gearoid Sheedy; Mark Rodgers, Aidan McCarthy, David Reidy.

**Subs: **Seadna Morey for Rynne (HT), Peter Duggan for Sheedy (49), Shane Meehan for McCarthy (53), Patrick Crotty for Mounsey (66), Keith Smyth for Reidy (68).

Cork: Patrick Collins; Niall O’Leary, Eoin Roche, Sean O’Donoghue; Tommy O’Connell, Ciaran Joyce, Cormac O’Brien; Brian Roche, Eoin Carey; Shane Kingston, Conor Lehane, Sean Twomey; Robbie O’Flynn, Patrick Horgan, Brian Hayes.

Subs: Luke Meade for B. Roche (47), Shane Barrett for Hayes (54), Micheál Mullins for Carey (61), Robbie Cotter for O’Flynn (67), Jack O Connor for Lehane (68).

**Referee: **Michael Kennedy