Cork secured their first points in the new-look Munster SHC with a strong final push in injury-time against Clare at Páirc Uí Chaoimh.
The Rebels found themselves level with their visitors when Colm Galvin pointed to make it 1-18 each in the 71st minute but 11 extra minutes had been allowed following a hold-up as Cork’s Robbie O’Flynn was treated for a suspected concussion and Cork had the better of the play in that additional period.
After Dean Brosnan and Kelly exchanged scores, points from Patrick Horgan – who finished with ten – Séamus Harnedy and Conor Lehane put them 1-22 to 0-19 in front and though Clare twice came back to within two points, Harnedy was on hand to score a clinching goal at the death coming in from the left to fire home after winning an Anthony Nash puckout.
A second goal for Cork! Seamus Harnedy with a perfect connection! pic.twitter.com/hAbQrYVJgw— The GAA (@officialgaa) 20 May 2018
It was a game which ebbed and flowed, with Cork slightly the better once they had weathered an early Clare storm which saw the first three scores of the game go to John Conlon, Galvin and Peter Duggan.
Once Cork tied matters through Horgan (two) and Mark Coleman, they began to assert themselves, though on more than occasion good defending was required, with Damien Cahalane and debutant Seán O’Donoghue both getting in good blocks to prevent Clare goal opportunities materialising.
Cork led by 0-11 to 0-10 at half-time and they were still a point in front, 0-14 to 0-13, when O’Flynn, another debutant, was involved in a nasty collision with team-mate Lehane and Clare’s David McInerney. Play was held up for nine minutes as he was treated but the lay-off didn’t affect Cork, who moved four in front.
Goal for Cork! Conor Lehane’s one-handed flick sends the sliotar into the Clare net. pic.twitter.com/2reghrz4Hv— The GAA (@officialgaa) 20 May 2018
Shane Kingston, O’Flynn’s replacement, had a point attempt which looked to be heading wide but Horgan kept the ball alive and the onrushing Lehane was able to divert it to the net.
Horgan made it a five-point game but just as quickly Clare were level again, David Reidy and John Conlon pointing before Tony Kelly profited from Shane O’Donnell’s nice pass to send the ball past Nash.
That was in the 62nd minute but there was still plenty of time left.
The sides traded points for the remainder of normal time before Cork finally established daylight to leave them sitting on top of the table with Limerick ahead of next Sunday’s trip to Thurles.
CORK: Anthony Nash (Kanturk); Seán O’Donoghue (Inniscarra), Damien Cahalane (St Finbarr’s), Colm Spillane (Castlelyons); Mark Ellis (Millstreet) (0-02), Christopher Joyce (Na Piarsaigh), Mark Coleman (Blarney) (0-01); Darragh Fitzgibbon (Charleville) (0-03), Bill Cooper (Youghal) (0-01); Séamus Harnedy (St Ita’s) (1-02), Conor Lehane (Midleton) (1-02), Daniel Kearney (Sarsfields); Robbie O’Flynn (Erin’s Own) (0-01), Patrick Horgan (Glen Rovers) (0-10, 6f), Luke Meade (Newcestown).
Subs: Brian Lawton (Castlemartyr) for Kearney (34-half-time, blood), Shane Kingston (Douglas) for Meade (43), Tim O’Mahony (Newtownshandrum) for O’Flynn (54), Dean Brosnan (Glen Rovers) (0-01) for Kearney (68).
CLARE: Donal Tuohy (Crusheen); David McInerney (Tulla), Jack Browne (Ballyea), Séadna Morey (Sixmilebridge); Patrick O’Connor (Tubber), Conor Cleary (St Patrick’s Miltown Malbay), David FitzGerald (Inagh/Kilnamona); Colm Galvin (Clonlara) (0-03), Tony Kelly (Ballyea) (1-03, 1f); Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge), Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin) (0-04f), David Reidy (Éire Óg) (0-03, 2f); Conor McGrath (Cratloe) (0-01), John Conlon (Clonlara) (0-05), Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg) (0-02).
Subs: Cian Dillon (Crusheen) for Browne (17-20, blood), Darragh Corry (Tulla) for Duggan (57), Michael O’Malley (Kilmaley) for O’Connor (70), Ian Galvin (Clonlara) for Reidy (70), Jamie Shanahan (Sixmilebridge) for Colm Galvin (70).
Referee: Seán Cleere (Kilkenny)