Reigning All-Ireland champions Cork opened their Munster U20FC title defence with a hard-worked win over Clare in Miltown-Malbay this evening.
Blake Murphy's ten-point haul proved crucial for Keith Ricken's men in the end at Hennessy Park where a potential upset looked on the cards at one stage when Clare came from five down to lead by 2-2 to 1-4 at half-time.
Jack Murphy scored Cork's goal in the 10th minute to propel them into an early 1-2 to 0-0 lead but the hosts showed they weren't going to lie down and responded with a brace of majors from Emmet McMahon and Mark McInerney.
The Rebels had the luxury of bringing 2019 Minor Player of the Year Conor Corbett off the bench for the second period as they reeled off six unanswered points from joint-captains Murphy and Mark Cronin to regain control of the contest.
It took Clare 22 minutes to open their second half account and they produced a spirited comeback to make it a three point game in injury-time while keeping their opponents scoreless for the final ten. However, Cork hung on.
They will now renew acquaintances with Kerry in next Wednesday's provincial decider at Austin Stack Park after the Kingdom defeated Limerick in the other semi-final at Rathkeale.
Cork - J O’Keeffe; C O'Shea, D O’Mahony, D Phelan; D Buckley, B Foley, B Lynch; J Lawton, D O’Connell; J Murphy (1-0), A O Luasa, B Hayes; M Cronin (0-1), F Herlihy (0-1), B Murphy (0-10, 8f, 1'45, 1m). Subs: E O’Hanlon for B Foley, E Lehane for B Lynch, C Corbett for B Hayes, S Desmond for D Phelan, J Kelleher for C Corbett.
Clare - T O’Brien; M Doherty, M Murray, C McMahon; D Walsh, C Rouine, S Conway; O Looney, E Rouine (0-1); J Murphy, E McMahon (1-1), T Clancy; D O’Donnell, S Meehan (0-1f), M McInerney (1-4, 0-3f). Subs: M Garry for D O’Donnell, G D’Auria for M Murray, E Thynne for T Clancy, C McDonough for S Conway.
Referee - B Griffin.Tweet