Clare footballers beat Cork for the first time in 23 years after they mounted a superb second half display to secure victory in this Division 2 game after the sides were dead-locked at half-time.

Clare 2-11 Cork 0-09 National Football League Div 2 Round 4

It was one of Clare’s best league wins of recent years in front of an official attendance of 985 hardy souls. Cork’s Aidan Walsh had the first score from 40 metres and Luke Connolly floated over an 8th minute. Keelan Sexton and Tom Clancy were booked in the 14th minute, a harsh call for Sexton. Cathal O’Connor won a 45 when his huge long delivery was tipped out by Ken O’Halloran after 18 minutes. Eoin Cleary sent the 45 wide as Clare were still in search of their opening score.

Clare conceded possession too easily while Cork had James Loughrey kicking his side’s third score after 21 minutes. Goalkeeper Joe Hayes had to be alert to deny Paul Kerrigan when his shot in the 24th minute was heading for the net. Amazingly Clare got back on level terms after hard work by Keelan Sexton to set up Cian O’Dea to toe-poke to the net.

Clare took the lead for the first time in the 31st minute from an Eoin Cleary 45 that was hard won by David Tubridy. It was all square three minutes later when Tomas Clancy curled over a right footed effort only for Eoin Cleary to do likewise. Clare regained the lead only for Niall Coakley to kick an injury time equaliser.

At half time it was all square, Clare 1-2, Cork 0-5. The teams emerged to driving wind and rain with Clare now facing into the elements the odds of a result appeared to be going against Colm Collins’s men. Shane Brennan had the first score of the new half before Eoin Cleary had a terrific shot saved brilliantly by Ken O’Halloran. David Tubridy sent over a free in the 41st minute prior to a fantastic five-man movement that finished with Cathal O’Connor floating over a sublime point putting Clare three points clear only for Niall Coakley’s free to narrow the gap.

After 10 minutes of supremacy Clare were forced to defend before breaking on the counter-attack to have David Tubridy kick them three clear once more in the 47th minute. Colm O’Neill reduced the Cork deficit to two but them Jamie Malone’s solo effort was tipped over the bar by goalkeeper Ken O’Halloran. Ciaran Russell punched the ball over the Cork crossbar to put the home side four clear. Keelan Sexton won a free that Tubridy sent over the bar so that the home side led by 1-9 to 0-7. Paul Kerrigan reacted with a point from play as the game entered the last ten minutes.

The intense rain returned and ball handling was now proving difficult. Clare got a lucky break when Donal Óg Hodnett’s shot crossed the goal line but the effort was ruled out by the match officials. When Clare’s foremost attacking player Jamie Malone scored Clare’s second goal, the home side had secured another two league points. Should fifth round results go their way, league safety will be assured and Colm Collin’s charges way yet get a tilt at a knockout place. Clare’s defence were impressive while Keelan Sexton, Eoin Cleary, man of the hour Jamie Malone, David Tubridy and Ciaran Russell all did well.

CLARE: Joe Hayes, Martin McMahon, Kevin Hartnett, John Hayes, Liam Markham, Gordon Kelly, Dean Ryan, Cathal O’Connor (0-1), Ciaran Russell (0-1), Cian O’Dea (1-0), Keelan Sexton, Shane Brennan (0-1), Eoin Cleary (0-3), David Tubridy (0-4), Jamie Malone (1-1). Subs: David Egan for O’Dea.
CORK: Ken O’Halloran, Michael Shields (0-1), Tom Clancy, Kevin Crowley, Tomas Clancy (0-1), James Loughrey, Stephen Cronin, Aidan Walsh (0-1), Ruairi Deane, Brian O’Driscoll, Luke Connolly (0-1), John O’Rourke, Niall Coakley (0-2), Donnacha O’Connor, Paul Kerrigan (0-1). Subs: Colm O’Neill (0-1) for O’Connor, Mark Collins for O’Driscoll, Donal Og Hodnett for Connolly, Ian Maguire for O’Rourke, Colm O’Driscoll for Crowley, Kevin Davis for Coakley. Referee: Niall Ward (Westmeath).