15:43, 08 Jul 2012
Cork 3-16 Clare 0-13
Conor Counihan's Cork romped to a 37th Munster senior football championship success - and first since 2009 - at the Gaelic Grounds this afternoon.
The National League Division 1 champions were too powerful for a Clare side appearing in a first senior provincial decider since 2000.
A devastating goal blitz in the first half stunned Michael McDermott's plucky Clare outfit - who matched Cork point for point for most of the second half.
Fintan Goold scored Cork's opening goal in the 14th minute before Aidan Walsh bombed through from midfield to score a second for the Rebels seven minutes later.
And it was game over three minutes before half-time when Nicholas Murphy fisted home a Paul Kerrigan handpass in the nick of time.
Murphy was on the Clare goalline when he made contact and if Kerrigan's pass had travelled all the way into the net, it would have been disallowed.
But Murphy, who has made a big impact in his new full-forward role, made sure to help Cork lead by nine points at half-time - 3-9 to 0-9.
All six of Cork's starting forwards were on target and the Rebels scored everything from play as Clare were simply outclassed in a disappointing encounter.
Some 9,139 spectators were present to watch the first Munster SFC final meeting between Cork and Clare since 1949.
But on the 20th anniversary of the Banner County's shock provincial final victory over Kerry, there would be no repeat as a slick Cork outfit advanced to the All-Ireland SFC quarter-finals.
Cork's physical superiority all around the field proved crucial to this win but Clare's inside forwards looked dangerous whenever they gained possession.
Michael O'Shea scored four points from play while Rory Donnelly added 0-3 as Clare refused to wave the white flag of surrender.
Better decision making in front of goal could have seen Clare score a goal or two as Gary Brennan drove his team forward from midfield.
And Cork had goalkeeper Alan Quirke to thank for a 'clean sheet' as the Valley Rovers netminder kept out Clare sub Niall Browne with a point blank save in the closing minutes.
Cork's starting line-up showed two late changes as Graham Canty and Patrick Kelly were replaced by Eoin Cotter and Goold.
But the reshuffle proved seamless and Counihan has an embarrassment of riches to choose from - with many pundits having installed Cork as favourites for this year's All-Ireland title.
They'll receive much stiffer tests than this but the worry from Cork's perspective is that they'll have to wait a month for an All-Ireland quarter-final - and that's the stage where Cork were shocked by Mayo last year.
Scorers for Cork: A Walsh 1-1, C Sheehan & C O'Neill 0-4 each, N Murphy & F Goold 1-0 each, P Kerrigan, D O'Connor & D Goulding 0-2 each, B O'Driscoll 0-1.
Scorers for Clare: M O'Shea 0-4, R Donnelly & D Tubridy (2f) 0-3 each, G Brennan 0-2, Gordan Kelly 0-1.
CORK: A Quirke; R Carey, M Shields, E Cadogan; E Cotter, N O'Leary, P Kissane; A O'Connor, A Walsh; F Goold, C Sheehan, P Kerrigan; C O'Neill, N Murphy, D O'Connor.
Subs: D Goulding for D O'Connor (51), D O'Sullivan for Kissane (55), J Fitzpatrick for A O'Connor (56), B O'Driscoll for Sheehan (66), M Collins for Goold (66).
CLARE: J Hayes; K Harnett, B Duggan, L Healy; C Coughlan, Gordan Kelly, J Hayes; G Brennan, G Quinlan; S Brennan, S McGrath, A Clohessy; R Donnelly, D Tubridy, M O'Shea.
Subs: Graham Kelly for Coughlan (h.t.), N Browne for Quinlan (h.t.), D Russell for Clohessy (59), S McNeilis for Duggan (68), C Talty for Brennan (70+1).
Referee: E Kinsella (Laois).