At 5pm last Sunday in Croke Park, ‘fat lady’ could be heard clearing her throat when Pa Horgan’s point put Cork ahead in 71st minute. But when Clare corner back Domhnall Donovan converted a last gasp equaliser, overweight soprano was whisked away with a promise that she could definitely sing for us in three weeks’ time. And so after an incident packed All Ireland hurling final, Clare and Cork will have to do it all again on Saturday 28th September.
If this year’s GAA championship was a NASDAQ stock listing it would be soaring into double digit growth with analysts and stockbrokers gushing about its performance. For excitement, intensity and absolute skill levels, GAA has outperformed all other sports this summer. Not for first time this year, a full house of 82,000 supporters were treated to a wonderful sporting encounter that will live long in memories as one of greatest finals of all time.
It would have been devastatingly unjust had Clare lost this game. They out hurled Cork for most of game and displayed wonderful skill and confidence in all areas of park. In particular, their half back line dominated most of game and provided platform to attack Cork. Great half back lines are a key indicator of champions and man for man, Clare proved yesterday to be superior in this area. In fairness to Cork, they hung in there and because they had to chase game, they had to go for goals. They’ll still be scratching their heads and wondering how they managed to score three goals but failed to win game.
The replay in three weeks will be another fascinating encounter and irrespective of which team may benefit more from drawn game, I still think Clare are a better hurling team and I still fancy them to edge it.
Next week, I’ll preview All-Ireland football final between Dublin and Mayo.