A bizarre game went the way of Cork at Páirc Uí Rinn on Saturday night as they earned their first Allianz HL Division 1A win of the year.

The home side didn’t lead at all in the first half and were only level thanks to a lucky goal. Then, while the second half was a to-and-fro affair for much of proceedings, the Rebels scored four of the last five points to take victory, leaving them in a four-way tie for second place ahead of Sunday’s games.

Patrick Horgan scored 0-16 for John Meyler’s side, with 15 of them coming from frees as Clare committed fouls at an alarming rate, especially during the second period.

In contrast, Clare were flowing in attack for much of the game, with a sparkling Tony Kelly performance yielding six points from play while John Conlon and Ian Galvin both finished with four from play.

In the opening half, it looked like the Banner would win at their ease as they played by far the better hurling and Kelly’s second, a fine score, had them 0-06 to 0-03 ahead by the 22nd minute.

However, Cork were level when Séamus Harnedy’s goalward delivery eluded everybody and ended up in the net. Though Peter Duggan and Diarmuid Ryan had Clare in front again, Horgan’s frees helped Cork to go in tied at 1-06 to 0-09 each.

The attacker put the hosts ahead for the first time on the resumption and much of the second half followed the pattern of Clare going ahead only for Horgan to level from a free.

The teams were tied when Kelly looked to have put Clare ahead again from a tight angle but, with the flag having been raised initially, the umpired waved wide.

A pair of Horgan frees put Cork into that two-point lead and though Kelly got his sixth of the game in reply, Tim O’Mahony and Horgan’s final score made sure of the win for Cork.

Cork: Anthony Nash; Seán O’Donoghue, Damien Cahalane, Stephen McDonnell; Christopher Joyce, Tim O’Mahony (0-01), David Griffin; Cormac Murphy, Bill Cooper; Daniel Kearney (0-01), Séamus Harnedy (1-01), Conor Lehane; Jamie Coughlan (0-01), Aidan Walsh, Patrick Horgan (0-16, 0-15 frees).

Subs: Luke Meade for Murphy (49), Darren Browne for Griffin (60), Alan Cadogan for Coughlan (both 60).

Clare: Keith Hogan; Jack Browne, David McInerney, Rory Hayes; David Fitzgerald, Conor Cleary, Cathal Malone; Shane Golden, Colm Galvin; Peter Duggan (0-04, 0-03 frees, 0-01 65), Tony Kelly (0-06), Diarmuid Ryan (0-02); Ian Galvin (0-04), John Conlon (0-04), Podge Collins.

Subs: Ryan Taylor for Golden (53), Colin Guilfoyle for Duggan (61), Mikey O’Neill for Collins (63), Aidan McCarthy for FitzGerald (65).

Referee: Johnny Ryan (Tipperary).