Just how far Cork have fallen behind the other counties was painfully obvious at Cusack Park in Ennis on Sunday as Clare inflicted a second defeat on Cork in the Allianz League round 3 contest, with the home side netting twice inside the opening four minutes.
David Tubridy’s 1-7 helped Clare to a second successive Allianz League victory over Cork. The Doonbeg veteran took less than a minute to get on the scoresheet, with Jamie Malone playing a teasing ball across the Cork goalmouth which Tubridy palmed to the net. Cork responded with a point from Matthew Taylor after a mark, but great work from Clare captain Gary Brennan saw Conal O’hAinifein thunder into space and finish a brilliant shot low to the Cork net to put the Banner into the driving seat.
Cork hit back with the next two scores to leave just three between the sides, but this was as close as they would get. Tubridy notched a brace which was answered by Stephen Cronin, but another Banner double through Dale Masterson and Dean Ryan left Clare 2-4 to 0-4 clear with ten minutes to go to the break. Luke Connolly and Stephen Sherlock pointed frees for Cork, but Tubridy and Conor Finucane hit back for the home side to leave them 2-6 to 0-6 ahead at half-time.
Scores proved harder to come by in the second half, with Sean Collins and Jamie Malone pointing either side of a sole effort from Cork’s Liam O’Donovan who had come on for the injured James Loughrey. Michael Hurley brought it back to a six-point deficit soon after, but Tubridy was to the fore once more with a brace of long-range scores to keep Clare in the ascendancy.
Cork did breach Clare’s rear-guard with five minutes of normal time remaining, when Ian Maguire got a fist to a high hanging ball to leave it Clare 2-10 Cork 1-8 as the clock ticked toward full-time. Clare responded well once more with another point from Tubridy, with Matthew Taylor hitting one back for the Rebels. Conor Finucane and Tubridy were on target once more with a close range free from Luke Connolly coming in response.
The final score of the game saw St Joseph’s Milltown team-mates Cormac Murray and Kieran Malone combine, with Malone rolling the ball to the back of the Cork net to seal a huge win for Clare in what is proving to be an unpredictable Division Two campaign with Tipperary getting the better of Donegal, Fermanagh lowering the Kildare colours and Meath coming out on top against Armagh, all of which means that Cork fall further behind in the table in 8 place with just one point from their trip to Fermanagh.
Scorers for Clare:
David Tubridy 1-7 (4fs), Conal O’hAinifein 1-0, Conor Finucane 0-2, Dean Ryan, Jamie Malone, Sean Collins, Dale Masterson 0-1 each.
Scorers for Cork:
Ian Maguire 1-0, Luke Connolly 0-3 (2fs), Matthew Taylor (1f) and Stephen Sherlock (2fs) 0-2 each, Liam O’Donovan, Michael Hurley, and Stephen Cronin 0-1 each.
Pierce De Loughery;
Gary Brennan (c),
Pearse Lillis for Bohannon (HT),
Sean Collins for Sexton (HT),
Kieran Malone for Lillis (53 mins, inj),
Alan Sweeney for D Masterson (63 mins)
and Cormac Murray for Finucane (70+4 mins).
Ian Maguire (c),
Liam O’Donovan (Clonakilty) for Loughery (9 mins injd),
Aidan Browne (Newmarket) for Cronin (47 mins),
Paul Walsh (Kanturk) for O’Donovan (47 mins, inj),
Peter Kelleher (Kilmichael) for Clancy (60 mins),
Damien Gore (Kilmacbea) for Sherlock (60 mins).
REFEREE: Paddy Neilan (Roscommon)