Clare 5-16 Cork 3-16
The most exciting championship in living memory deserved a fitting final and by god did we get it. The drawn game three weeks had everything or so we taught. What was served up to us on Saturday evening was a credit to both Clare and Cork and surpassed the hopes of the neutral who had feared an also-ran replay. Those fears were quickly diminished as late replacement and soon-to-be poster boy of Clare, Shane O Donnell scored a hat trick of goals inside the first twenty minutes. Add to this a 20 metre free from Cork goalkeeper Anthony Nash that he blasted past 12 Clare players on the line which was in itself box office viewing. Clare had stretched to an eight point lead with half time fast approaching but a determined Cork importantly managed to claw into that lead before the break leaving just three points in it at the interval.
The second half began as the first finished, fast, frantic and highly intense. Cork came back in the second half with a few hammer blows and drew it level, Clare at that stage responded like a team of 27- or 28-year-olds with four All-Ireland medals in their back pocket, who knew how not to panic and knew how to close the deal. Yet that came from a bunch of young and relatively inexperienced hurlers. Continue reading