Cork vs Clare – Munster Championship Football

Cork 1-23 Clare 0-11 – Senior

Cork: A. Quirke; R. Carey; M. Shields (0-1; P. Kissane); J. O’Sullivan; D. O’Sullivan (J.Miskella, 0-1); N. O’Leary; G. Canty; A. O’Connor (0-1); A. Walsh (0-1, N. Murphy); C. Sheehan (0-4); P. Kelly (F. Lynch); P. O’Neill (0-2); D. Goulding (0-8, 0-5f); D. O’Connor (1-4, 0-1f); D. Goold (P. Kerrigan, 0-1).

Clare: Joe Hayes; K. Hartnett; B. Duggan; L. Hardy; John Hayes; Gordon Kelly; M.McMahon; N. Browne (G. Quinlan); G. Brennan (0-2); Graham Kelly; D. Tubridy (0-3, 0-1f); C. O’Connor (S. Brennan); R. Donnelly (0-4); D. O’Neill (J. Dowling); A. Clohessy (0-2).

Cork got their championship campaign off to a decent start with an expected hammering of Clare last Sunday. Clare, even for a division four side, were pretty disapointing, as they have often given Cork football sides trouble come championship. Even though they attempted to be physical (in Graham Kelly’s case, far too much so) and were relatively fit, they were bullied in the middle third for the entire match. They had some nice forwards, particularly in the corners, but they were starved for possession for almost all of the game. Cork on the other hand were pretty ragged and only played in patches, particularly in the second half, but we are so far ahead of lesser teams right now that even when performing below par the chances of an upset are extremely unlikely.

Although its hard to analyse individual performances considering the opposition, management will be largely happy with the way their players performed. Denis O’Sullivan performed well on his championship debut and was generally good on the ball; Graham Canty understandably looked short of match fitness but performed fine, both at half back and full back while Micheal Shields led the defense well and even chipped in with a point. The midfield had a decent day, Alan O’Connor in particular putting in a considerable shift. In the half forward line Ciaran Sheehan put in a powerhouse MOTM performance, scoring four points and further suggesting that he is likely to be a star of the All-Ireland championship.  In general the middle third strangled Clare, winning much of the breaking ball. Both Donnach O’Connor had profitiful days, Goulding was again prolific from play and frees without having to break a swea while Donnacha O’Connor looked at times brilliant, showing some top class touches and finishing.

Its hard to be critical considering the end result, but a few things may worry management. Ray Carey in particular struggled badly throughout the game and both corner backs conceeded more scores then they really should have. Up front, David Goold struggled badly to become invovled, particular in a game in which one would expect a young talented player to make an impact. Similarly its disapointing to see Sean Kiely languishing with the Cork Juniors when Ger Spillane, a hard-working but limited servant for Cork football, gets a place on the bench. Regardless, it was a good win with a big scoreline, albeit against a poor Clare side.

Regarding Clare, up front at least they had a little talent. David Tubridy at center forward looked like a decent playmaker and was by far the most comfortable Clare player on the ball while both corner forwards looked like they could score when they got on the ball, athlough Rory Donnelly was particularly good. Other players to show flashes were Gary Brennan and Gordon Kelly. Evidently Clare wished to play a lot of direct ball in on top of their giant full-forward but bar a couple of long balls in the second half this never materialised and in general from beginning to end they were outclassed completely by their opponents.

Cork 2-14 Clare 0-6 – Junior

Cork: T. O’Connor; R. Buckley; E. O’Mahony; K. Harrington; S. Kiely; R. O’Sullivan (P. Gayer); B. Daly (AJ. O’Connor); A. O’Sullivan (0-1, B. Coughlan); S. O’Sullivan (0-1, T. Clancy); D. O’Donovan (0-1f, M. Dilworth); K. O’Driscoll (0-3, 0-2f); C. O’Driscoll (0-3); M. Cronin (0-3, 0-2f); A. O’Brien (0-1); C. Keane (2-1).

Clare: T. Burke; C. Marrinan; D. Hickey; D. Ryan; T. Donnellan (S. Tierney); P. O’Connor; C. O’Brien (G. Lyons); T. Ryan; S. Crotty (A. Considine); E. Lyons (P. Collins); S. Collins; P. Clancy; P. McMahon (0-1f); D. Ryan (M. Malone); M. McMarthy (0-5, 0-3f).

The Cork Juniors had another good win, although their erratic performance reflected the lack of work done collectively. Despite having an impressive looking side including Sean Kiely and Kevin O’Driscoll Cork never really clicked but nonetheless destroyed an unsuprisingly poor Clare team. Cathrach Keane took his goals well even if he was often sloppy in possession; Kiely and Richard O’Sullivan drove forward well while both O’Sullivans in midfield were dynamic and energetic. Elsewhere both O’Driscolls worked hard and played a lot of ball while Cronin looked classy in possession the few times he got the ball. For Clare, Mark McCarthy looked skillful and good with the ball – indeed he looked better then most of the Clare’s seniors forwards – and gave the Cork’s backs a tough time when he got the ball.

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