McGrath Cup final: Clare bridge 11-year gap

January 12, 2019

Clare's Darragh Bohannon is tackled by Sam Ryan of Cork during the McGrath Cup final in Miltown-Malbay

Clare 1-9

Cork 0-9

Gordon Kelly's 10th minute goal proved to be the difference as Clare beat Cork in Miltown-Malbay to be crowned McGrath Cup champions for the first time since 2008 and 13th title in all.

The Banner avenged last year's last-gasp final defeat to the same opponents after leading by 1-3 to 0-3 at half-time. The victory will provide them with a timely boost ahead of the visit of Ulster champions Donegal to Ennis for their Allianz League Division 2 opener in 15 days' time.

Cian Kiely had opened the scoring for Cork in the fourth minute before Kelly's speculative shot from 35 metres deceived goalkeeper Chris Kelly and ended up in the net.

Cathal O'Connor extended the Banner's lead from a 45-metre free before a brace of Stephen Sherlock frees narrowed the gap. O'Connor knocked over another free to leave Colm Collins' men three up at the break.

Clare resumed with points from Gary Brennan and Keelan Sexton to go five clear (1-5 to 0-3), but the visitors replied with five unanswered points from Damien Gore (two), Mark Collins (two) and Eoghan McSweeney to leave it all-square with 20 minutes to go.

After the Rebels had midfielder James Fitzpatrick sin-binned, Sexton and Peter Kelleher traded scores before Clare finished the stronger with points from Sexton (two) and Dean Ryan to secure some early season silverware.

Clare - E Tubridy; G Kelly (1-0), C Brennan, K Harnett; D Ryan (0-1), A Fitzgerald, E Collins; D Bohannon, C O’Connor (0-2f); C O’Dea, D O’Halloran, D Coughlan; G Cooney, G Brennan (0-2), K Malone. Subs: K Sexton (0-4, 3f) for D O’Halloran, S O’Donoghue for G Cooney, G O’Brien for K Malone, D Tubridy for D Bohannon, S Collins for D Coughlan.

Cork - C Kelly; S Ryan, P Murphy, A Browne; L O’Donovan, T Clancy, S Cronin; J Fitzpatrick, R O’Toole; J O’Rourke, E McSweeney (0-1), C Kiely (0-1); M Collins (0-2, 1f), P Kelleher (0-1), S Sherlock (0-2f). Subs: D Gore (0-2, 1f) for S Sherlock, N Walsh for S Ryan, K O’Donovan for J O’Rourke, T Corkery for C Kiely, for B Murphy for S Cronin.

Referee - P O’Sullivan.

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