Cork defeated Clare by 2-14 to 0-7 in the McGrath Cup Senior Football Quarter Final on Sunday in Pairc Ui Rinn.
O’Neill’s winter warmer for Cork
Cork 2-14 Clare 0-7
By Fintan O’Toole for the Irish Examiner newspaper
TEN MONTHS after hobbling off in Pearse Stadium with a snapped cruciate ligament for the second time in his career, Colm O’Neill announced his return to the inter-county senior stage in style yesterday in Páirc Uí Rinn. The 23 year-old achieved his primary objective of emerging unscathed from the 70 minutes of action in this McGrath Cup quarter-final. And as a bonus he illuminated a humdrum clash with a 2-4 haul. His second goal in the 61st minute copper-fastened Cork’s triumph and was a signature effort. A flowing team move from deep in defence had carved open the Clare rearguard before O’Neill stepped inside the defence and thumped a fierce right-foot shot to the roof of the net.
Cork boss Conor Counihan watched on approvingly and was glad to reflect on the return of the Ballyclough attacker. “That second goal was a flash of the Colm of old. There was good teamwork involved in it and the finish then was very nice to see.” O’Neill will have more game time at the same venue on Sunday in a semi-final clash against CIT. That eagerness to impress will be shared by the bunch of new faces that populated the Cork line-up yesterday. In defence Kevin Harrington and Aidan O’Reilly competently dealt with the challenges they faced on the left flank.
In attack Liam Shorten swept over three tidy points in a busy display and Seanie Cahalane worked tirelessly at the edge of the square. Kevin O’Sullivan, back in the Cork line up for the first time since March 2009, and Graham Canty, back for the first time in a non championship setting since April 2010, were prominent figures during the second-half . The audition process continues in six days’ time. “Challenge matches are okay but whether it’s McGrath Cup or any other type of competition, it gives lads more of an incentive,” reasoned Counihan. “If we can get another couple of games in before the start of the league, that’s good for us as we need it to sharpen up. The new lads did acquit themselves well but the next game will tell us more. We’ll be double-jobbing on Sunday as we can have a look at the Cork lads in the CIT team.”
This was a stress-free afternoon for Cork and the perfect opportunity to shake off winter cobwebs. The match had slipped away from Clare early on as Cork set a fast pace and when O’Neill cleverly flicked home a ball floated in by Shorten in the 26th minute, Clare were staring at a 1-5 to 0-1 deficit. Three Banner points either side of the interval threatened to make a game of it but Cork pressed on the accelerator and took control. The fact that they outscored Clare by 1-5 to 0-1 in the closing 20 minutes neatly summarised the gulf between the two sides and leading lights like Michael Shields and Paul Kerrigan enjoyed a run out during late cameos from the bench.
For opponents Clare, defeat will see them take stock ahead of their opening league game on February 5. They foraged away in the second-half but the loss of their blue-chip attacker David Tubridy, who posted 0-7 the previous Sunday against UL, through injury hit them hard. Yet the sight of Gary Brennan arcing over three beautiful second-half points was heartening. “The most important ambition we have is the win the first game of the league against Waterford,” admitted Clare boss Micheal McDermott. “The opposition was at a different level but the most disappointing thing today was we made too many mistakes. There were very few positives to take from the game but it’s the month of January and, hopefully, we’ll learn a lot from this.”
Scorers for Cork: C O’Neill 2-4 (0-2f, 0-1 ‘45), L Shorten 0-3, F Lynch 0-2, C O’Driscoll, S Cahalane, K O’Sullivan, P O’Neill, A O’Connor 0-1 each.
Scorers for Clare: G Brennan 0-3, M O’Shea 0-2 (0-2f), D Russell, G Quinlan 0-1 each.
CORK: K O’Halloran; E Cotter, R Carey, K Harrington; C O’Driscoll, G Canty, A O’Reilly; J Fitzpatrick, A O’Connor; F Lynch, F Goold, L Shorten; C O’Neill, S Cahalane, K O’Sullivan.
Subs: P O’Neill for Fitzpatrick (38), S Kiely for Goold (51), P Kerrigan for O’Sullivan (55), M Ó Laoire for Lynch (55), M Shields for O’Connor (57).
CLARE: J Hayes; D Hickey, S McNelis, M McMahon; D Blake, G Kelly, S Tierney; G Quinlan, D Russell; D Daly, R Donnelly, A Clohessy; M O’Shea, G Brennan, E Troy.
Subs: P Collins for Blake (19), D Murphy for Daly (29), T Ryan for Troy (half-time), S O’Driscoll for Brennan (55), D O’Neill for Quinlan (56).
Referee: Maurice Condon (Waterford)
Cork (McGrath Cup v Clare) – Ken O Halloran, Eoin Cotter, Ray Carey, Kevin Harrington, Conor O Driscoll, Graham Canty, Aidan O’Reilly, James Fitzpatrick, Micheál Ó Laoire, Fiacra Lynch, Fintan Goold, Liam Shorten, Colm O’Neill, Seanie Cahalane, Kevin O Sullivan
For the Record
|2011 McGrath Cup Performance||Defeated UCC, CIT and Waterford before losing to Kerry in the Final.||Defeated WIT and Limerick before losing to Kerry in the semi-final by 2-11 to 1-11.|
|Number of McGrath Cup Senior Football titles||10||5|
|Last McGrath Cup Senior Football Title||2008||2009|
|McGrath Cup Senior Football Record since 2000||Played – 23
Won – 14
Lost – 9
Drawn – 0
|Played – 15
Won – 13
Lost – 2
Drawn – 0
McGrath Cup Senior Football 2012
Sunday January 8th
@ WIT Sportsgrounds IT Tralee 2-14 Waterford 0-14
@ Doonbeg Clare 0-18 University of Limerick 1-8
@ Clonmel Sportsfield Tipperary 2-13 Limerick Institute of Technology 3-8
Quarter-Finals (Extra time)
Sunday January 15th
@ CIT Sportsgrounds CIT v IT Tralee @ 2:00pm
@ Pairc Ui Rinn Cork v Clare @ 2:00pm
@ Clonmel Sportsfield WIT v Tipperary @ 2:00pm
@ Michael Neville Park Limerick v UCC @ 2:00pm
Semi-Finals (Extra time)
Sunday January 22nd
CIT or IT Tralee v Cork or Clare @ 2:00pm
WIT or Tipperary v Limerick or UCC @ 2:00pm
Final (Extra time)
Sunday January 29th
McGrath Cup Senior Football – Odds and Ends
Clare have contested 6 Finals since 2000, winning the title in 2000, 2002 and 2008.
Since the Third Level Colleges were allowed to take part in the McGrath Cup competition in 2005, only the Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) and UCC have qualified for the final. CIT lost the 2005 Final to Limerick by 2-10 to 1-3 while UCC lost to Kerry by 1-11 to 0-9 in the 2010 Final.
The record of the Third Level Colleges in the McGrath Cup since entering in 2005 (including the 2012 preliminary round) is Won 19, Lost 40. No College team won a game in 2011.
Waterford won the first McGrath Cup title in 1981, captained by Michael Coffey. This is their only McGrath Cup title to date.
From 2000 through 2012 to date, 87 matches were played in the McGrath Cup. Limerick have won the most games in this period, a total of 15 against 9 defeats. Clare also have 15 victories since 2000 while Cork recorded 13 victories during 5 campaigns.
Since 2000, Kerry have taken part in the McGrath Cup on 4 occasions (2005, 2006, 2010 and 2011), losing just twice in 13 matches (to Tipperary in the 2005 Quarter-Final and to Cork in the 2006 Final).
The Waterford Institute of Technology have yet to win a McGrath Cup match in their 7 years taking part in the competition. IT Tralee won their first match in 2005 and lost their next 5 before defeating Waterford in the preliminary round of the 2012 competition.
McGrath Cup Senior Football Roll Of Honour
Clare (10) – 1982, 1983, 1984, 1986, 1990, 1991, 1994, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2008
Limerick (5) – 1985, 1987, 2001, 2004, 2005
Cork (5) – 1998, 1999, 2006, 2007, 2009
Tipperary (3) – 1989, 1993, 2003
Kerry (3) – 1996, 2010, 2011
Waterford (1) – 1981
London (1) – 1988
Visit the Munster GAA web site History section to view the complete Roll of Honour since the competition began in 1981 – http://munster.gaa.ie/history/mcgrath-cup-football/
Presented by Joe McGrath on June 21st, 1981 for the promotion of Senior Football in Munster