herald

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Banner case more compelling in heavyweight clash

YOU'D have to question Liam Dunne's decision to leave the toss of the coin to his players.

Wexford won it and elected to play against the wind against Cork last weekend in Wexford Park.

Half-time, Wexford trailed by 14 points.

Game over.

Partly, Cork's excellence was wind-propelled but partly too that Jimmy Barry-Murphy's changes worked a treat.

Seamus Harnedy and Conor Lehane filled their boots as a two-man inside line breaking out to the wings.

That allowed Brian Lawton to fall back into midfield and left Mark Ellis sitting on the Cork 'D,' mopping up loose ball.

And thus, Cork strolled home in a game many thought they might struggle in.

Tinkering was the order of the day for Davy Fitzgerald against Offaly too.

strength

Tony Kelly, who was quiet to the point of irrelevance against Limerick from centre-forward, played at midfield and scored six points from play. The return of Conor McGrath (1-4) provided Clare with a greater edge to their attack and that of Brendan Bugler, plenty of experience and strength to their defence.

There was also a cameo from the repatriated Colm Galvin, though quite how sharp or match fit he is just yet was difficult to fully ascertain by what we saw against an Offaly team who had long since made peace with their Championship exit by half-time in Cusack Park.

As indicated by their two-game classic in the 2013 All-Ireland final and not satisfactorily remedied since, both teams are leaky in defence.

Clare ust have that little bit more potential to explode.

ODDS: Cork 6/5, Draw 8/1, Clare 10/11

VERDICT: Clare

all-ireland shc qualifier: cork v clare, thurles, today, 7.0 (live sky sports)

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