The new formatted minor hurling championship with even a new age level was welcomed to Munster as Limerick shocked Tipperary and Clare were next up against Cork at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.
It had been hoped that Clare would perform well in this year’s minor championship but ultimately Cork would possess more in the final run in. Honest efforts in challenge games suggested Clare could win at least one game in the championship and this still holds but this result was disappointing with Clare holding the lead for most of the game.
Munster Minor Hurling Round 1 Cork 0-26 Clare 3-13
A well taken 3rd-minute goal by Scariff’s Mark Rodgers was the key moment of the opening ten minutes and amazingly the talented17-year-old added a second three minutes later with a stunning low strike after being set up by Gearoid O’Grady. Evan Murphy opened the scoring for the Rebels before Rodgers struck for goal number one. Cork rallied courtesy of scores from Shane Barrett and Evan Murphy before Rodgers goal number two materialised. Evan Murphy and Tulla’s William Halpin exchanged successful efforts before Cillian O’Donovan and Evan Murphy narrowed the Clare lead to the minimum.
Clare wing back Darragh Healy scored a brilliant effort but none the less Cork were not going away as Clare struggled with Shane Barrett and Evan Murphy. Cillian O’Brien was on hand with a smart block from the well struck Evan Murphy effort. Straight from this let off Mark Rodgers increased the visitor’s score before Shane Barrett and Kevin Moynihan responded for Cork. Dual star Shane Meehan and Cork corner forward Padraig Power kept the scoreboard ticking over to level matters. Goals came the way of Clare once more as Gearoid O’Grady created a chance and was at the end of a rebound to blast past Cian Long in the Cork goal. Inagh/Kilnamona Keelan Guyler added to the confidence of the Clare side with two points in as many minutes to open up a four-point lead. Shane Barrett kept Cork in the contest with his fourth of the afternoon before Halpin with his second score negated the Cork effort. Olan Broderick and Evan Murphy ensured that Cork finished the stronger to leave Clare nervous (3-7) to (0-14) interval leaders.
Three points were shared by the sides in the first five minutes of the new half but it was all Cork in terms of possession and aggression. Alan Connolly and Evan Murphy for Cork and Keelan Guyler were the sharpshooters as Clare were let off the hook with inaccurate Cork freetaking. Eventually, the pressure told on Clare as Shane Barrett equalised and Tony Butler was sent off for a second bookable offence. The sending off seemed to energise Clare who hit scores from O’Grady and Rodgers to open up a short-lived four-point advantage. Cork, once again took hold of the game with further scores from Connolly and Luke Horgan as Aidan Moriarty hit back for Clare. Luke Horgan, Keelan Guyler and Paul Cooney added to the tallies by the 53rd minute as Clare held onto a two-point lead.
This was surrendered with less than four minutes on the clock and from then on there was no doubting the better side as Clare conceded the last six scores of the game to come away from Pairc Ui Chaoimh with a good performance but little else. Clare were outscored 12points to 6 in the second half. The overall strength of the Clare bench may also concern the Clare management for the duration of the championship as Waterford next Sunday will decide the Clare minor campaign and where they are going championship wise.
Best for Clare were Adam Mungovan, Darragh Healy, Gearoid O’Grady, Mark Rodgers, William Halpin in the first half, Keelan Guyler and Mike Gough. Cork had good performances from Shane Barrett, Evan Murphy in the first half, Luke Horgan, Paul Cooney, Paddy O’Flynn, Padraic Cullinane and Daniel Hogan.