Munster GAA Football Senior Championship

Clare 0-14 0-13 Cork

Cusack Park, Ennis
Fergal Kelly
Extra Time if Necessary
Munster SFC: Clare edge out Cork
Clare's Keelan Sexton and Eoin Cleary celebrate at Cusack Park. Photo by Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Munster SFC: Clare edge out Cork

Munster Senior Football Championship Quarter-Final

Clare 0-14 Cork 0-13

By Páraic McMahon at Cusack

Colm Collins kicked off his 10th championship campaign as Clare senior football manager in remarkable fashion with his charges producing nine of the last 14 scores to earn a sensational one point win over Cork. 

Cillian Rouine landed the winning score in the final attack, the ball was worked all the way from Stephen Ryan in goals, but was ferried over half the distance thanks to a long-busting run from wing-back Ciaran Russell with his corner back Rouine fisting over the ball to the delight of the home contingent in the attendance of 3,661. 

In total, the sides were level on seven different occasions in the contest and extra time did seem likely for large spells of the second half. 

Though it was Clare who raced into a 0-2 0-1 lead inside the first five minutes, Cork dictated matters for the opening half. Steven Sherlock a late addition to the side due to injury to Brian Hurley had all but one of their 0-6 first half tally from placed balls as Clare’s tackling technique let them down. The Rebels led 0-6 0-4 at the break but were left to rue a goal chance from Brian O’Driscoll on 20 minutes, his effort rocketing off the crossbar.

Matters settled for the Banner County with the introduction of Darren O’Neill at midfield at half-time. They kicked the first score on the restart through Emmet McMahon but then Cork rallied with 0-3 in a row, two from Sherlock and one from Sean Powter. 

Four points without reply, two from captain Eoin Cleary and one each from Keelan Sexton and McMahon had Clare on level terms with fifty three minutes played. Equalisers were proving plentiful at either end with Sherlock, Sexton and Gavin Cooney all hitting the target. 

Jamie Malone lining out at centre back but acting as a pivotal attacking influence, put Clare in front with on 61 minutes, giving them the advantage for the first time since the end of the opening quarter. 

Chief marksman Sherlock put John Cleary’s men back on level terms before Eoin Cleary converted a free on 65 minutes. 

Corner back Kevin O’Donovan appeared to have rescued a draw with three minutes of additional time played but his opposing corner back Cillian Rouine would get what proved to be the winning score and result in scenes of delight in Ennis just as the rain was beginning to fall. 

Having been relegated from Division Two of the Allianz National Football League, Clare needed a win to stay in the All-Ireland SFC. They provided a spirited performance to match that need with Ciaran Russell, Cillian Brennan, Jamie Malone, Keelan Sexton, Darren O’Neill, Eoin Cleary and Cillian Rouine to the fore. 

Cork are left waiting to see which competition they will be lining out in. The presence of Brian Hurley was missed while their middle third dominance which was key to them being ahead was diluted when O’Neill entered the fray. Rory Maguire, Steven Sherlock, Colm O’Callaghan and Ian Maguire were most influential for them. 

Scorers for Clare: Keelan Sexton and Eoin Cleary (1f) 0-4 each, Emmet McMahon 0-2, Jamie Malone, Padraic Collins, Gavin Cooney, and Cillian Rouine 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cork: Steven Sherlock 0-10 (7fs, 145), Sean Powter, Rory Maguire, and Kevin O'Donovan 0-1 each.

Clare: Stephen Ryan; Manus Doherty, Cillian Brennan, Cillian Rouine; Ciaran Russell, Jamie Malone, Daniel Walsh; Cathal O’Connor, Darragh Bohannon; Pearse Lillis, Emmet McMahon, Dermot Coughlan; Eoin Cleary, Keelan Sexton, Padraic Collins.

Subs: Darren O’Neill for O’Connor (HT), Gavin Cooney for Coughlan (50), Mark McInerney for McMahon (68), Alan Sweeney for Collins (72).

Cork: Michéal Aodh Martin; Kevin O’Donovan, Daniel O’Mahony, Tommy Walsh; Luke Fahy, Rory Maguire, Mattie Taylor; Colm O’Callaghan, Ian Maguire; Eoghan McSweeney, Ruairí Deane, Brian O’Driscoll; Sean Powter, Steven Sherlock, Chris Óg Jones. 

Subs: Killian O’Hanlon for McSweeney (48), Conor Corbett for Óg Jones (56), John O’Rourke for O’Driscoll (68), Cian Kiely for Fahy (68).

Referee: Fergal Kelly (Longford).