Rebels romp to Munster triumph with eyes on the bigger prize
Cork 3-16 – 0-13 Clare
The final margin was harsh on Clare, but Cork continue to look like the leading contenders for the All-Ireland on the back of a comfortable Munster triumph.
Ridiculous pre-game odds of 1/100 suggested that there was only likely to ever be one winner in this one and in a way, the Rebels were in a no-win situation whatever the outcome in the Gaelic Grounds.
Had they won easily, it would have been expected. Had they struggled to victory by a couple of points, their All-Ireland credentials would have been questioned. In the end, they won with plenty to spare and plenty of room for improvement and Conor Counihan will be more than happy with that.
*Cliché alert* Goals win games and with the Rebels scoring three of them in the first half, the game was as good as over at half-time. Plenty of high ball was rained in on Nicholas Murphy – not quite operating as your conventional nippy number 15 – and it paid rich dividends at times as Cork took a nine-point lead into the break.
The goals came from Fintan Goold, Aidan Walsh and a palmed (and controversial) effort from Murphy himself, but had Clare been a little more clinical down at the other end, they could have made things a little more uncomfortable for the overwhelming favourites.
That leakiness in defence and some wayward shooting will be something that Counihan will seek to address in the coming weeks, but any day you score 3-16 and are complaining afterwards is a good one and there was still a lot to like about the form of Colm O’Neill and in particular, man of the match Ciaran Sheehan.
Credit to Clare, they put up a greater fight than had been expected and in the likes of Gary Brennan and Michael O’Shea, they had players who could be more than happy with their own personal displays.
Not exactly vintage from Cork then, but not that bad either and there was nothing to suggest that they won’t be there or thereabouts come September. With victory today, Cork became the first county to taste provincial success this season and there could well be more silverware to come down the line.