Puc Fado: Cork v Clare, Munster hurling semi-final 1995
In the year that would end up with Anthony Daly famously climbing the steps in Croke Park to claim Liam McCarthy, it was victory over Cork that set the wheels in motion.
This weekend the Munster sides will renew rivalries, a rivalry that was at its peak in the mid to late 90s when Ger Loughnane's charges enjoyed the most glorious chapter in Clare’s hurling history.
Coming into the summer of 1995, Limerick were the reigning Munster champions and most neutrals expected they would face the Rebels in the provincial decider. Loughnane and his exciting crop of hurlers had other ideas and the semi-final would turn out to be one of the games of the championship.
Cork trailed at the interval, but the second half was a real topsy-turvy affair. Jamesie O’Connor was causing havoc in the Banner forward line, while the Sparrow, Ger O’Loughlin finished the game with 1-3 and Clare looked to be on the brink of a famous victory before Cork then looked to have rescued victory from the jaws of defeat.
A dejected Alan Browne after the one point defeat
Having already raised a green flag twice, Alan Browne got Cork’s third and final goal with time almost up, but the drama was not over there. Not by half.
A Fergie Tuohy sideline cut – “Fergie never took a line ball in his whole life and he certainly never took it as good as that,” his teammate and centre-back Seanie McMahon later said – was sent into the square and towering midfielder Ollie Baker found the back of the net.
Still there was time for the Rebels to reply. They went straight down the field and an Alan Browne shot had come off the post with Clare just a point up.
The ball bounced into Kevin Murray’s hand close to the goals, but inspirational defender Frank Lohan came back and flicked the ball away before the referee blew the final whistle on the spot.
And the rest, as they say, is history. That win gave the Banner men a huge psychological lift as they went onto beat Limerick in the Munster Final and Offaly in the All-Ireland Final, their first of two wins in three years after such a long time in the hurling wilderness.
If Sunday’s game is even half as dramatic as that day in 1995 we could be in for a treat.