This weekend’s Munster final between Cork and Clare almost seems destined for drama, if recent matches are anything to go by.
While we all know that Tipperary-Kilkenny has been the rivalry of the past decade, Cork and Clare would probably claim the runners-up medal.
The counties have engaged in several tight affairs over the past five years in particular. In 2013, they met a staggering six times in one season.
Here we take a look at the top five moments from the clashes between the sides in the last ten years.
5. Seamus Harnedy’s Man Of The Match Performance On His Debut
Everybody loves a good underdog story, and in many ways this theme dominates our list. Back in 2013, the name Harnedy was largely unknown bar those in the know on the third level hurling scene.
Having never played minor or under-21 for Cork, his rise to prominence was a shock. When he was handed his debut by Jimmy Barry-Murphy, few would have predicted how things would go for Harnedy. The former UCC student struck three points as Cork unexpectedly breezed past the Banner.
Harnedy would go on to be awarded Man of the Match on his debut. Even more impressive was the fact that he would replicate this form in each game throughout the year. An All-Star awaited the half-forward at the end of 2013.
This was a different time in the Cork-Clare rivalry. At this point, the Rebels were in all honesty far superior to Clare and faced little competition.
However, what this 2007 Munster Championship first round will be remembered for is not the dull game of hurling played. Prior to the game, in an unusual event, both sides attempted to take to the field at the same time. In typical GAA fashion, this of course meant a row had to break out.
The row would see seven players in total suspended, while John Gardiner escaped on an appeal. This would cost Gerald McCarthy three of his key players in the subsequent Munster semi-final. Cork actually won the game on a scoreline of 1-18 to 1-11.
3. The ‘Nash’ Affair
Every so often in sport, innovative minds will find loopholes in rules to benefit themselves. Anthony Nash most certainly took advantage of a flaw in the hurling rulebook prior to its change. So famous were his penalties that the eventual rule change would come to be known as the ‘Nash’ rule.
Back in 2013 in any case, these penalties of Nash’s were perfectly legal, and he took full advantage. In the 2013 All-Ireland final replay, we witnessed a spectacular moment in hurling. As the 32-year-old prepared to strike a 21-yard free, an astonishing 13 players took to the line in an attempt to stop the shot.
Unfazed by this, Nash proceeded to advance to the 13-metre line as he always did, and buried it to the roof of the net. This would be the last time we would witness the Kanturk man convert one of his famed close range frees in senior inter-county hurling.
2. The Unlikely Hero
As the seconds ticked down, every Cork fan in the packed Croke Park was certain of Liam McCarthy returning to Leeside. Brian Gavin allowed play to continue, however, and the course of history changed.
After Patrick Horgan had converted what everybody had thought was the winning point of the 2013 All-Ireland final, nobody could have predicted what would follow. With just seconds left to play, a well-worked Clare attack saw Domhnall O’Donovan at the end of it.
When Clare faced Laois earlier that summer, O’Donovan was the only outfield player not to score. This didn’t affect the corner-back’s confidence, however, and just as his brother Cormac did in the 2009 All-Ireland under-21 final, Domhnall kept his cool under pressure. Clare’s unlikeliest of heroes had struck the point to keep their All-Ireland dreams alive for another day.
1. Teenage O’Donnell Strikes First Half Hat-Trick
When Davy Fitzgerald named his side for the All-Ireland final replay in 2013, Shane O’Donnell wasn’t even in the side. The 19-year-old hadn’t featured at all in the drawn final.
But the entire county of Clare knew that if the Éire Óg teenager was given a sniff of a goal chance, he’d convert. With O’Donnell planted at the edge of the square, the Banner knew they possessed a goal threat they lacked in the previous meeting of the sides.
And O’Donnell did not disappoint. A student at UCC at the time, the 19-year-old had buried a hat-trick within 20 minutes of the first half of the match. The game would launch the teenager into the limelight for the rest of his days and his hat-trick will be remembered forevermore as one of the great All-Ireland final performances.
Kevin Daly, Pundit Arena
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