Cork: J. McDonnell; J. Davis; C. Dorman; K. Hayes-Curtin; K. Crowley (0-1); K. Fulignati (S. Ryan); K. O’Hanlon (D. Murphy); S. Kiely; M. Sugrue; B. O’Driscoll (0-2; 0-1f); A. Cadogan (K. McIntyre 0-1); D. Harrington (J. Corkery); D. McEoin (1-4; 0-2f); S. O’Mahony (1-0); C. O’Sullivan (0-2).
Clare: D. Sexton; C. Galvin; C. O’Brien (J. Sweeney); O. Vaughan; J. Colleran; S. Lineen; D. Bolton (J. Rouine); A. O’Neill; D. McDonagh; E. Cleary (0-1f); C. Cleary (0-1); A. Murrihy (J. Scanlon); M. O’Leary (0-2; C. Devit); N. Hickey (0-5; 0-4f); J. Malone (0-1; W. Flynn 0-1).
Cork underage football marches on with a unsatisfying victory over Clare. From one point of view this was a ragged and inconsistent performance from a Cork team with a lot more to come; from another point of view any underage victory against a unfancied but talented Clare is a great thing and the performance is largely irrelevent at this time of the year. Cork have much to work on – despite some good passages of play going forward, we struggled to use the height of Stephen O’Mahony at full-forward effectively, lots of the shooting was inaccurate and the balance of our half-forward line looked off, with Alan Cadogan working well and linking up well but lacking the scoring threat and killer pass one expects from a center forward. Midfield was competitive without dominating and the decision to move Stephen O’Mahony to this position in the second half didn’t particularly improve matters.
Our half-back line often struggled to impose itself on the opposition and particularly in the first half got dragged too far up the pitch putting our full-back line under pressure. Again positions seen to be a problem – Kevin Fulignati looked a very competent man marker and inside back last year, but playing 6 is something different entirely and the game largely passed him by. Inside, our full-back line struggled in the first half to deal with the movement of Clare’s forwards but in the second half things were tightened up considerably resulting in the subbing of both Clare corner-forwards. In general, Cork’s best players were Dan McEoin (despite some bad wides), Cian O’Sullivan (lots of lively movement), Mark Sugrue (very strong and solid with the ball) and Kevin Crowley (roved forward very well throughout).
Regarding Clare, they can be happy with their performance. Unlike Cork, their full-back line didn’t improve as the game went on, they conceeded a pair of poor goals and generally struggled with the movement of the Cork corner forwards. Probably the stand-out players were Darragh McDonagh (very hard working and physical), Conor Cleary (played a lot of ball at center-forward), Niall Hickey (always in front of his man and clinical from play and the deadball) and Martin O’Leary (unfairly subbed, looked a class act when on the ball). In general their performance was good, working hard all throughout but struggling in the second half to get the ball into the inside forwards and generally lacking a goal threat. All in all, its likely Clare with play Cork again in the semi-final, and this time in Clare, a worrying assignment for the Cork Minor team.