The Clare Senior Hurlers have maintained their 100% start to their Munster Senior Hurling Championship campaign after a hard fought victory over Cork in Semple Stadium, Thurles.
Robin Mounsey got the Banner county off the mark with Clare’s first attack , which was cancelled out on the restart from Cork’s wing forward Robbie O’Flynn.
The sides then exchanged points through Shane Kingston and Peter Duggan until Clare found another gear and dominated proceedings for the remainder off the half.
Strong defensive efforts from Rory Hayes and Diarmuid Ryan along with tigerish displays in the middle of the field from David Fitzgerald and Cathal Malone who both contributed scores allowed Clare’s attack the perfect spring board to flourish as Shane O’Donnell , Ryan Taylor ,Tony Kelly and Peter Duggan kept the scoreboard firmly ticking over.
Clare went into the interval with a 17 points to 11 advantage which undoubtedly would have been a closer gap only for a brilliant Eibhear Qulligan save from a close range Patrick Horgan strike before the break.
Clare appeared to come out of the blocks the fresher of the sides in the second half with David Fitzgerald pointing from the throw in, followed by an Ian Galvin score however Galvin would be dismissed 12 minutes into the second period coinciding perfectly with an Alan Connolly goal for the Rebels.
Patrick Horgan continued to keep Cork in touch from placed balls whilst man of the match Tony Kelly ensured Clare still had breathing space with 3 second half points.
A late Darragh Fitzgibbon goal left just two points between the teams on a score line of 0-28 to 2-20 and one would be forgiven for thinking Cork might just snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
Clare held on however and Brian Lohan’s side will look forward to welcoming All Ireland Champion’s Limerick to Cusack Park on the 15th of May.
Tony Kelly has become Clare’s all-time top scorer in the championship.
The All Star landed 0-10 in the Banner’s win over Cork in Semple Stadium, with the first of those scores seeing him overtake Niall Gilligan at the top of the standings.
Kelly took his all-time tally to 9 goals and 240 points, on a day when Clare flew out of the blocks in the opening half to set down a marker against the Rebels.
It also leaves Kelly joint 12th in the national scoring charts, alongside Cork’s Joe Deane.
The Ballyea man made his championship debut for Clare against Dublin in the 2012 All Ireland qualifiers, marking his first appearance with a tally of 1-2.
The 2013 Hurler of the Year scored 0-3 in the drawn All Ireland final that year, before notching the same tally in Clare’s replay win over Cork.
The line up for the Clare Cup soccer semi finals has been completed.
Holders Newmarket Celtic will face Lifford, while Avenue United will take on Shannon Hibs.
Newmarket beat Kilkishen Celtic 4-0 to book their last four spot, while Lifford had a 2-0 win over Tulla United.
Avenue United cruised past neighbours Ennis Town 7-0, with Hibs edging their Shannon derby against Shannon Town B by 2-1 after extra time.