Next Race Newspaper
Free Bets
My Account

Saturday, 15 December, 2018

Kelly can help Clare to lift the Munster title

Clare's attacking ace Aaron Shanagher
1 of 1

Munster MHC final: Cork v Clare
RTE1 & Premier Sports, 4pm Sunday

The build-up to a Munster final can never have been so lopsided. All we have heard about is Cork's renaissance, their young stars and the dazzling displays against Tipperary and Waterford.

The hype surrounding the rejuvenated Rebels means Clare will arrive at Semple Stadium as underdogs.

That is the perfect way to be approaching a final and it seems that everyone has forgotten that the Banner boys were All-Ireland champions in 2013, beating Cork after a replay but outplaying the Rebels for most of the 140 minutes.

Since that All-Ireland final showdown four years ago, Clare and Cork have failed to hit the headlines but the Rebels have been hogging them over the last few weeks and making up for two bleak years. 

But where this game could be won and lost is the Clare attack and how Cork cope with Tony Kelly, Podge Collins, Conor McGrath, Aaron Shanagher and Shane O'Donnell. The youthful Rebels rearguard unit may struggle to keep them quiet. 

It was a pretty run-on-the-mill performance from Clare in the Munster semi-final against Limerick. They didn't catch fire at any stage, looked lethargic at times and failed to play with the same sort of fluency as in 2013, yet they still scored an impressive 3-17 and never looked in any real danger. 

To put that performance in perspective, Limerick went down by 0-20 to 0-17 to Kilkenny last weekend. They were wayward with their shooting and could have caused an upset had they been more clinical. Clare were far more impressive againt Limerick than Kilkenny were. 

Clare are threatening to deliver a massive performance and it might just come on one of the biggest stages of all. The Banner boys have not won Munster since 1998 when they beat Waterford after a replay. It is about time they were crowned provincial kingpins and this current side are good enough to end the drought.

Cork were brilliant in disposing of Munster and All-Ireland champions Tipperary and they backed up that display with an assured performance against Waterford.

Tipperary and Waterford both seemed to play below their potential against Cork. The Deise, in particular, were rusty, having not had a competitive outing since April and they appeared to be sussing out a system while the game was unfolding.

The awesome Austin Gleeson was dreadful and most of the Waterford team played well below par.

That could have been down to Cork and Mark Coleman has arguably been the best player of the championship. Their full-back line of Stephen McDonnell, Damien Cahalane and Colm Spillane have done remarkably well too but a pacy Clare attack will test them to the limit. Cork will need Patrick Horgan to have his eye in from frees. 

This Clare team has big-game experience and an attacking unit packed full of pace. That could swing this eagerly-awaited Munster final in their favour. Tony Kelly is the ace in the Clare pack and he should be backed at 8-1 for the man-of-the-match award. Kelly will be a key cog in the machine if Clare win.

Clare -1
2pts 9-5 Paddy Power
T Kelly man of the match
1pt 8-1 Coral, Ladbrokes, Paddy Power

It seems that everyone has forgotten that the Banner boys were All-Ireland champions in 2013, beating Cork after a replay
E.W. Terms
Sky bet