Cork 0-24 Clare 0-15
Cork qualified for the Bord Gáis Energy Munster U20 Hurling Championship final following an nine-point victory over Clare at Páirc Uí Rinn this evening.
An attendance of 2,965 was treated to a hard-fought Munster clash in which Cork's clinical finishing earned the Rebels a provincial final berth. Brian Turnbull, Tommy O’Connell and Robert Downey starred for a Cork team that was pushed all the way by Clare.
The Banner included three players with senior championship experience in their starting fifteen. Centre-forward Diarmuid Ryan, midfielder Aidan McCarthy and full-forward Gary Cooney formed the spine of Clare’s side while Cork made two changes from their quarter-final win over Limerick, starting Ger Millerick and Sean Twomey.
A bright opening period produced plenty of attractive hurling where Brian Roche, Craig Hanifin and Sean Twomey efforts were matched by Mark Rodgers, Aidan McCarthy and Diarmuid Ryan points for the Banner.
Mark Turnbull split the posts prior to Craig Hanifin landing a free to edge Cork two points clear at the conclusion of an entertaining first quarter. The remainder of the half was evenly balanced as Aidan McCarthy's accuracy kept Clare in touch while their opponents picked off some superb scores - including a marvellous Brian Turnbull effort - to lead by four (0-12 to 0-8) at the break.
The Banner noticeably upped the tempo in the second half and moved within two points of their opponents thanks to Killian McDermott, Rian Considine and Aidan Moriarty efforts.
Cork responded positively however and took control of the game with Brian Turnbull, Tommy O’Connell and Daire Connery finding their range to help edge their side six clear (0-18 to 0-12) with 10 minutes to go.
Both managers introduced replacements from their respective benches during a scrappy spell prior to Shane O’Regan bringing the Cork fans to their feet with a cracking point from wide out on the right wing.
Following that, although guilty of wasting additional opportunities, the home side comfortably saw out the remaining time, much to the delight of their supporters.
Next up for the Rebels is a Munster final clash with reigning All-Ireland champions Tipperary who breezed past Waterford 3-23 to 0-10 earlier in the week.
Cork: Ger Collins; Conor O’Callaghan, James Keating (captain), Eoin Roche; Ger Millerick, Sean O’Leary Hayes, Robert Downey; Tommy O’Connell (0-5), Brian Roche (0-1); Sean Twomey (0-3), Craig Hanifin (0-5, 4 frees), Daire Connery (0-1); Brian Turnbull (0-4), Shane O’Regan (0-5), Evan Sheehan.
Subs used: Liam O’Shea for Sheehan (42), Ryan Walsh for Roche (45), Simon Kennefick for Hanifin (49), Declan Hanlon for Connery (61).
Clare: Eamonn Foudy; Keith White, Aron Moloney, Peter Casey; Darragh Lohan, Ross Hayes, Dylan McMahon; Aidan McCarthy (0-5, 3 frees), Killian McDermott (0-1); Aidan Moriarty (0-1), Diarmuid Ryan (0-4, 1 free), Rian Considine (0-2, 1 sideline); Mark Rodgers (0-2), Gary Cooney (captain), Breffni Horner.
Subs used: Cathal Darcy for Lohan (ht), Tiernan Agnew (0-1) for Horner (40), Paddy Donnellan for Casey (44), Darren Cullinan for McDermott (53), William Halpin for Moriarty (65).
Referee: K Jordan (Tipperary).