DUBLIN 4-14 CLARE 2-17
Dublin have reached the All-Ireland MHC final for the second year in-a-row when an injury-time Oisín O’Rorke goal gave the Dubs a dramatic last-gasp victory in Sunday’s semi-final at Croke Park.
Shay Boland’s side endured a nightmare opening 15 minutes at the end of which they trailed by 1-5 to 0-1 yet made a full recovery to snatch victory in the dying seconds of the game as extra-time loomed in capital letters.
Kilmacud Crokes lad O’Rorke showed great poacher’s instincts to get a hurl to Paul Winters’ long-range free and steer the sliotar to the net and set up a final date with the winners of the Tipperary v last year’s champions, Galway.
It was a highly dramatic conclusion to a pulsating affair that the Banner held the upperhand in for the majority of the game as the deadball accuracy of Bobby Duggan and the long-range striking of Jamie Shanahan had the Dubs chasing the game from the opening whistle.
Despite trailing by seven points at the end of the opening quarter Dublin kept to their task with O’Rorke’s first goal in the 15th minute following a delivery into the danger area from Conor McHugh arresting their slide and by the interval Caolan Conway’s great fetch and finish had the blues just trailing by two points at the half-time interval, 2-6 to 1-11.
Points immediately on the restart from Winters (free) and O’Rorke brought the counties level by the 32nd minute but Clare then regained supremacy with Duggan (two frees) and Niall Deacy on target and when Shane O’Donnell raised a green flag for the Banner inside the last 20 minutes the men of Munster looked the more likely winners.
However, Dublin’s never say die attitude paid dividends with the likes of Cian O’Callaghan and Colm Cronin really lifting their team for a final surge.
Cronin goaled in the 55th minute when he held his nerve to find the net after Donal Gormley mishit a point effort – but it was the bit of luck Dublin required to get themselves out of such a tight corner.
Dublin’s use of possession was good over the close of the game with likes of Cormac Costello placing McHugh for an important point coming down the home straight.
The game looked set for extra-time but Dublin were awarded a 74-metre free in the 62nd minute from which O’Rorke cleverly applied the winning touch.
SCORERS – Dublin: O O’Rorke 2-1, C Cronin 1-1, C Boland, P Winters (0-1f, 0-1 65) 0-3 each, C Conway 1-0, C McHugh 0-2, S Treacy, C Costello, S McClelland, D Gormley 0-1 each. Clare: B Duggan 0-7 (0-7f), J Shanahan 1-4 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), S O’Donnell 1-1, S Taylor 0-3, N Deacy, D Conroy 0-1 each.