Watch the Full-Time Highlights of Clare v Cork in the Munster Senior Hurling Championship here on #GAANOW pic.twitter.com/jJht46VZHW— The GAA (@officialgaa) May 21, 2023
Clare secured a spot in their second consecutive Munster Senior Hurling Final with a hard-fought victory over Cork in Cusack Park, Ennis. The match showcased Clare’s determination and resilience as they narrowly held off a relentless Cork side.
Clare’s Dominance In front of a packed crowd of 18,659 spectators, Clare displayed their superiority, taking an eight-point lead early in the second half. Tony Kelly’s goal on either side of the break contributed to their 2-13 to 1-8 advantage. It seemed like a comfortable home win was on the cards for Clare.
Cork’s Fightback However, Cork refused to give up and managed to stay in the game. A penalty rebound converted by Declan Dalton and a 64th-minute equalizing goal from Patrick Horgan set the stage for a thrilling finish.
Defense Saves the Day With three different free-takers missing crucial opportunities, it was Clare’s defense that ultimately guided them to victory. Wing-backs Diarmuid Ryan and David McInerney stepped up, contributing five of Clare’s last seven points to secure the win.
Early Goal Attempts Cork’s offense started strong, with Conor Cahalane scoring a bullet goal in the eighth minute. However, Patrick Horgan’s early goal was ruled out, and Conor Lehane’s shot was excellently saved by Clare goalkeeper Eibhear Quilligan.
Clare’s Response Trailing by four points in the opening quarter, Clare found their rhythm and embarked on a five-point unanswered rally. Aidan McCarthy’s frees bookended the rally, giving Clare a narrow 0-10 to 1-6 lead by the 23rd minute.
Watch the Full-Time Highlights of Clare v Cork in the Munster Senior Hurling Championship here on #GAANOW pic.twitter.com/jJht46VZHW
— The GAA (@officialgaa) May 21, 2023
Crucial Goal Before Halftime In the 29th minute, Peter Duggan broke a long delivery into the path of Tony Kelly, who volleyed it into the net. Kelly, along with substitutes Seadna Morey and David Fitzgerald, helped Clare secure a 1-13 to 1-8 lead at halftime.
Clare’s Domination Continues At the start of the second half, Tony Kelly converted a penalty, extending Clare’s lead to eight points. It seemed like Clare had the game in the bag.
Cork’s Resurgence Cork found inspiration from their bench when Shane Kingston was held, resulting in a penalty eight minutes later. Although initially saved by Quilligan, Dalton reacted swiftly and found the net, bringing the score to 2-14 to 2-10.
Late Drama In the 64th minute, Niall O’Leary delivered a teasing cross-field ball to Horgan, who turned and finished it, narrowing the gap to 2-17 to 3-14. Clare was now vulnerable to a third sucker-punch.
Clare’s Victory However, Clare remained composed and relied on their strong defensive play to secure the win. Diarmuid Ryan’s booming 80-meter point in injury time sealed the victory and propelled Clare into the final.
Clare’s hard-fought victory over Cork showcased their determination and defensive strength. The win earned them a place in the Munster Senior Hurling Final, while Cork would need to defeat defending champions Limerick to keep their hopes alive.