Post-Munster Final Raiméis
|Post match celebrations in Thurles (Photo: Captain Krangle)|
It has been very dry over the last few weeks and things are tough all over the country but did you hear about how bad the drought is up in Clare? They haven’t won a Munster title now in 20 years.
The water restrictions doesn’t include tears. Water butts in Clare might be in order though - after really pumping themselves up for victory, Banner fans were seen whinging all over Thurles after Cork blew their team away in the second half.
Town End Terror
Cork hurling fans have been buzzing all week since the game and they played their part too. Analysts after Sunday’s game found it difficult to explain Clare’s second half impotency in front of goal: Podge Collins missed a 20 yard sitter, Duggan mangled a free from a similar distance and Shane O’Donnell (our tormentor from 2013) failed to convert when he intercepted a Nash puckout right in front of the Cork goal.
Perhaps some of the credit is due to wall of roaring, red Rebels behind the Town End goal that terrorised the Clare forwards in the second half. The intimidating sight and sound of Cork’s passionate hurling fans played a part in the Banner mens’ sudden inability to hit scores.
Undisputed Kings of Munster
Being the first to win the Munster championship under the new structure has shown that no matter what way you try to rig the Munster championship against us, the cream still rises to the top. Last year it was knock out – we won that. This year it was a round robin – we won that too.
All eyes are now on the All-Ireland series and it’s a month to the semi-final but it’s nice to know that 2019 will offer the prospect of a Munster three-in-a-row for Cork.
Both himself and his injured brother have been watching patiently from the sidelines as Cork have steamed through this year’s Munster championship and with Mark Ellis out of action the elder Douglas man was called in to shore up the half back line. Concerns over whether Cads Senior still ‘had it’ have been dispelled – he showed he is a serious option if Coleman, Joyce or Ellis are not at full tilt. Nice wan.
The Gospel According To Luke
Thirty minutes gone, eight points down with a defence looking as shakey as Daly’s Bridge and Cork fans could have been forgiven for thinking this was going to be another soul-crushing defeat to add to the pain of the Munster football final the previous weekend.
Then Seamus Harnedy’s lámh came to the rescue as he plucked the sliotar from a Nash puckout and lobbed it out to Luke Meade who rattled the back of the Clare net. The Town End terrace went ballistic.
Stepping Up to the Mark
The next score after a goal is as big a psychological boost for the team that gets it as the goal itself and a young Blarney man stepped up. Mark Coleman’s sublime side line cut halved Clare’s lead to four points at the break and kept the Rebel fire roaring. After fearing a white wash, there was hope at half time.
Birthday Boy’s Con Job
When John Conlon wreaked havoc on the Cork defence in the first half, John Meyler and his team had the tactical awareness to send Colm Spillane to mark him after the break. The Castlelyons defender turned 24 on Sunday but there was no way he was letting the Clare ace give him the birthday bumps. He harassed his marker into submission, stifling his influence and mopped up ball after ball sent into the Clare man. Fans were delighted to see the team’s bainisteoir make a simple but effective call like that. Delighted too that we have an assassin like Spillane in our arsenal.
Winning the Munster final has traditionally been seen as a bad omen for teams. It certainly was no help to Cork in the All-Ireland semi-final against Waterford last year. Unlike a lot of professional sports where winning consistently leads to ultimate glory, most All-Ireland hurling champions curiously seem to have a need to be ‘written off’ at least once during the season to provide enough incentive to lift Liam McCarthy.
For fifteen years of the 21st century only one Munster final winner went on to win the All-Ireland (Cork in 2005) until Tipperary did it in 2016. Interestingly, they only did so, only after achieving a Munster two-in-a-row. Just like Cork have now…
A nil-all borefest between two mid-table hoof merchants or a nail biting, do-or-die grudge match between arch-rivals vying for a top half finish?
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