All-Ireland SHC final: Cork and Clare must meet again

September 08, 2013

Cork's Seamus Harnedy and Cian Dillon of Clare
©INPHO/Ryan Byrne
Clare 0-25
Cork 3-16

The All-Ireland hurling final is heading for a replay for the second year in succession after corner back Domhnall O'Donovan's late, late point saved Clare from heartbreak.

In an amazing game which Clare controlled for long periods, Cork scored three second half goals before Patrick Horgan gave them the lead for the first time in the 71st minute. But there was still enough time for the Clonlara man to fire over a last-gasp equaliser - 27 seconds after the allotted two minutes of injury-time had been played.

While Cork fans vented their fury with referee Brian Gavin after the final whistle, it seemed only fair that Clare will have a second chance after setting the pace throughout. But they couldn't put Jimmy Barry-Murphy's men away as both teams lived to fight another day with the replay expected to take place on Sunday, September 29.

Last year saw the first drawn Liam MacCarthy Cup decider since 1959. Now the GAA has had two in 12 months. Incredible stuff!

The Banner played most of the hurling in the first half, but only led by two points at the break, 0-12 to 0-10. They continued to take the game to Cork after the restart, but the Rebels refused to throw in the towel and a hat-trick of goals from Conor Lehane, Anthony Nash (free) and Pa Cronin kept them in it. For all Clare's dominance, they might well have conceded six goals but for brilliant goalkeeping from Pat Kelly and Domhnaill O'Donovan's save from a second half Nash penalty.

After a moment's silence was observed for Teresa Murphy (wife of former Cork secretary Con Murphy) and Catherine Kelly (wife of three-time All-Ireland final referee Barry Kelly), who both passed away in recent days, Darrach Honan settled Clare with an early point before Colin Ryan doubled their lead with a third-minute free from the 45-metre line.

Seamus Harnedy opened Cork's account in the sixth minute when he arrowed over a point from close to the Cusack Park sideline, only for John Conlon to reply with a long-range effort for Davy Fitzgerald's side. Patrick Horgan converted the first of his six first half frees before Tony Kelly restored Clare's two-point advantage from an acute angle.

A needless foul on Luke O'Farrell yielded Cork's third score from Horgan. In the 12th minute, the Glen Rovers sharpshooter had the sides level for the only time in the half after Pat O'Connor had fouled Seamus Harnedy.

With the Clare half back line - and Conor Ryan in particular - exerting dominance, the Banner regained the lead from Ryan's second free. Darrach Honan and his marker Shane O'Neill both picked up yellow cards following an incident in the Cork goalmouth before the Rebels were twice denied a goal by Clare 'keeper Patrick Kelly in the 17th and 18th minutes.

Kelly first pulled off a brilliant save to thwart Daniel Kearney. The ball was picked off the ground in the ensuing scramble, resulting in a 20-metre free which Cork goalkeeper Anthony Nash came forward to take. Nash had only a goal on his mind, but his opposite number threw his body at the shot and blocked with his backside. In the blink of an eye, Podge Collins split the posts at the other end - a rousing score if ever there was one.

Clare's tails were up as Ryan knocked over his third free and then Conor McGrath jinked past two defenders to give them a double-scores lead, 0-8 to 0-4, after 22 minutes. Horgan and Ryan traded frees, but in between, Nash got smartly to save Darrach Honan's daisy-cutter which had goal written all over it.

Horgan profited from a harsh free given against Clare full back David McInerney before Collins raised his second white flag to restore the Banner's four-point advantage. When Ryan made it five out of five from dead balls to leave Clare perched on a 0-11 to 0-6 lead on the half-hour mark, Cork looked to be in real trouble.

But another contentious free which Horgan converted was just the break they needed. Daniel Kearney followed up with only their second point from play, and while Tony Kelly hit an instant reply, late points from half back Brian Murphy and Horgan's seventh (a monster score) left the Rebels just two adrift at the break.

Kelly sent over his third point on the restart before Clare were rocked back on their heels in the 40th minute when Conor Lehane scored a brilliant individual goal at the Hill 16 end to leave the minimum in it, 1-10 to 0-14. Ryan and Horgan exchanged frees again before Podge Collins dropped a shot on the roof of the Cork net for a truly wonderful score.

Daniel Kearney narrowed the gap again, only for Clare to respond with three in-a-row from Conor McGrath, John Conlon and Colin Ryan (free) to establish a 0-19 to 1-12 lead after 51 minutes. Seamus Harnedy replied with his second point, but Ryan - who had earlier missed two frees - kept the Banner in the driving seat with two more minors (one free).

But Cork never know when they're beaten and, in the 57th minute, they were right back in contention when Anthony Nash blasted a 20-metre free to the roof of the Clare net. That left just two points between the sides, 2-13 to 0-21, and the Rebels were presented with a glorious chance to hit the front two minutes later when Seamus Harnedy was brought down from a penalty.

Up came Nash again, but this time he was out of luck as Domhnall O'Donovan pulled out a fantastic save to keep the Clare goal intact. The Banner got the next two scores through Colin Ryan (free) and Conor Ryan to regain a four-point lead, but a never-say-die Cork were level by the 63rd minute thanks to a Conor Lehane point and a screamer of a goal from the otherwise anonymous Pa Cronin.

Cronin's goal came after Clare sub Cathal McInerney had seen his point attempt hit the Cork crossbar (Podge Collins was unlucky not to finish the rebound to the net), and Stephen McDonnell cleared downfield to sub Stephen Moylan whose powerful run created the opening for the Cork captain to finish emphatically.

Ryan's 12th point - another free - edged Clare back in front, but it was quickly cancelled out by Patrick Horgan after Moylan was fouled. Clare then struck two wides and it looked as though they would rue those misses when Horgan collected Christopher Joyce's sideline before rounding his man and splitting the posts for the lead point in the first minute of injury-time.

When the clock ticked past 72 minutes, the Banner appeared to be facing certain defeat, but sub Nicky O'Connell worked the ball to O'Donovan who proved to be their unlikely saviour when he fired over with the last puck of the game.

Clare: P Kelly, D O'Donovan (0-01), D McInerney, C Dillon, B Bugler, P Donnellan, P O'Connor, Conor Ryan (0-01), C Galvin, J Conlon (0-02), T Kelly (0-03), Colin Ryan (0-12, 11f), P Collins (0-03), D Honan (0-01), C McGrath (0-02). Subs: C McInerney for Honan, F Lynch for Conlon, N O'Connell for McGrath.

Cork: A Nash (1-00, f), S McDonnell, S O'Neill, C O'Sullivan, B Murphy (0-01), C Joyce, W Egan, L Mc Loughlin, D Kearney (0-02), S Harnedy (0-02), P Cronin (1-00), C Lehane (1-01), L O'Farrell, P Horgan (0-10, 8f), J Coughlan. Subs: S Moylan for Coughlan, C McCarthy for McLoughlin, C Naughton for McCarthy, S White for Kearney.

Referee: B Gavin (Offaly)

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