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Allianz FL D2: Cork earn another victory

Conor Corbett, Cork, and Manus Doherty, Clare, in Allianz Football League Division Two action. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Conor Corbett, Cork, and Manus Doherty, Clare, in Allianz Football League Division Two action. Photo by Eóin Noonan/Sportsfile

Allianz Football League Division Two

Cork 3-10 Clare 1-8

By Eoin Brennan at Cusack Park

Cork laid down a significant marker ahead of their Munster Championship Easter rematch at the same venue when brushing aside the challenge of hosts Clare in Cusack Park Ennis on Sunday afternoon.

Trailing by the minimum by half-time despite playing with the aid of the conditions, the Rebels appeared to miss their chance at redemption when Brian Hurley’s 37th minute penalty was excellently tipped away by home goalkeeper Stephen Ryan.

Undeterred, John Cleary’s side made amends through a timely Matty Taylor goal seven minutes later before Sean Powter doubled his bounty with a clinching third major entering the final ten minutes.

In all, produced a devastating 30 minute surge to outscore their hosts by 2-7 to 0-2 and put them in real relegation peril ahead of the final two outings.

It was all so different in the opening period when the Banner appeared to tee themselves up perfectly for a second half assault following three successive defeats.

Cork drew first blood in the ninth minute when Brian Hurley offloaded to Powter to slalom through Clare’s last line with pace and find the net. However, that advantage would only last a mere five minutes as a slick move involving Cian O’Dea and Ciaran Russell played in Keelan Sexton who was hauled down for a penalty. With full-back Daniel O’Mahony receiving a black card and Sexton converting the penalty to the bottom right corner, Clare were suddenly in the ascendency once more at 1-1 to 1-0.

Both sides carved out further goal chances, with a brilliant Chris Óg Jones interception for Cork somehow denied by goalkeeper Ryan while a similar occurrence at the other end saw a combination of Darragh Bohannon and Eoin Cleary have to settle for a point for the latter as Clare went into the dressing rooms 1-4 to 1-3 in front.

That was as good as it for the home side who despite Ryan’s penalty heroics failed to capitalise upon that shot-in-the-arm on the restart. Instead, Clare’s frustrations of eight second half wides were compounded by an emphatic Rebel response through seven different scorers.

Points from Eoghan McSweeney and Jones inched Cork back in front by the 41st minute but it was Taylor’s powerful back post finish two minutes later that placed the visitors firmly on the road to a much-needed victory at 2-5 to 1-4.

Clare captain Eoin Cleary stopped the rot with a brace of quickfire points but it would be a further 25 minutes before the home side’s next score, by which time Cork were out of sight.

A 1-4 burst culminated in a clinching goal for Powter following good work from Conor Corbett in the 61st minute to soar into a double scores 3-9 to 1-6 advantage.

It means that there’s no room left for error now for Colm Collins’ side if they want to stay in Division 2 for an eighth consecutive year, not to mention the reconvened provincial showdown on Easter Sunday.

Scorers for Cork: Sean Powter 2-0, Matty Taylor 1-0, Brian Hurley (3f) and Chris Óg Jones 0-3 each, Eoghan McSweeney 0-2, Ruairi Deane and John O’Rourke 0-1 each

Scorers for Clare: Eoin Cleary 0-4 (2fs), Keelan Sexton 1-1, (1-0 pen), Emmet McMahon 0-2 (1f), Darragh Bohannon 0-1.

Cork: Micheál Martin; Maurice Shanley, Daniel O’Mahony, Tommy Walsh; Luke Fahy, Rory Maguire, Matty Taylor; Colm O’Callaghan, Ian Maguire; Eoghan McSweeney, Sean Powter, Ruairi Deane; Brian Hurley, Chris Óg Jones, Conor Corbett

Subs: Sean Meehan for Shanley (57), Killian O’Hanlon for Powter (62), John O’Rourke for Hurley (65), Mark Cronin for Corbett (67), Shane Merritt for Maguire (70).

Clare: Stephen Ryan; Manus Doherty, Ronan Lanigan, Cillian Brennan; Cian O’Dea, Pearse Lillis, Alan Sweeney; Ciaran Russell, Darragh Bohannon; Dermot Coughlan, Eoin Cleary, Jamie Malone; Gavin Cooney, Keelan Sexton, Emmet McMahon

Subs: Ikem Ugwueru for Sweeney (49), Brendy Rouine for Coughlan (54), Daniel Walsh for O’Dea (58, inj), Aaron Griffin (Lfor Malone (62), Mark McInerney (Éire Óg) for Cooney (67).

Referee: Liam Devenney (Mayo).