An injury-time goal from Oisin O’Rorke gave Dublin a dramatic 4-14 to 2-17 win over Clare in the All-Ireland MHC semi-final at Croke Park. The two teams were level as the final whistle loomed approached following an entertaining 60 minutes of hurling but O’Rorke had the final say when flicking a Paul Winters free to the back of the Clare net. Clare had led for most of the game and the Dubs trailed by six points with twenty minutes left on the clock but last years runners up got back on level terms by the 56th minute. The sides exchanged points before O’Rorke’s late intervention booked a final ticket for Shay Boland’s team.
Dublin opened the scoring through full-forward Cian Boland inside the opening minute but Clare settled well with points from Shane O’Donnell, Jamie Shanahan and Bobby Duggan. Duggan extended the Banner County’s early advantage to three with a second free in the 9th minute and Shanahan landed a long range placed ball three minutes later as the Munster lads made all the early running. The game’s first goal arrived in the 15th minute when Shanahan converted a penalty after Dublin ‘keeper Cian MacGabhann unceremoniously hauled Shane Taylor to the ground. The concession of the penalty seemed to spark Dublin into action as they produced the perfect response straight from the restart when O’Rorke flicked Conor McHugh’s delivery to the back of the Clare net and the scoreboard read 1-6 to 1-1 at the end of the opening quarter. Dublin made further inroads into the Clare lead courtesy of points from Sean Treacy, McHugh and Cian Boland. Wing-forward Taylor and Duggan (free) steadied the Clare ship but netminder Eibhear Quilligan came to their rescue when pulling of a fine save from Caolan Conway in the 20th minute. But that proved to be just a temporary stay of execution for the Clare net as Conway made amends in the 23rd minute when registering Dublin’s second goal to leave Clare ahead by the bare minimum, 1-8 to 2-4. To their credit, Clare refused to panic and the hugely influential Shanahan brought his personal tally to 1-4 before Duggan sent over his fourth free. Midfielder Cormac Costello pulled a point back for the team in sky blue before Duggan (free) and Paul Winters exchanged points which left Clare 1-11 to 2-6 up at the interval.
Winters started the ball rolling in the second half when pointing a free and O’Rorke brought the sides level with a point, Dublin 2-8, Clare 1-11. The reliable Duggan settled Clare nerves with two converted placed balls and Niall Deasy gave them a three point cushion with five minutes of the second half played. Dublin midfielder Colm Cronin sent over a fine point on the run in the 37th minute but Clare received a big boost in the 40th minute when Shane O’Donnell struck for their second goal to parachute them into a 2-14 to 2-9 lead. Dublin left-half back Sean McClelland sent over a point from distance in the 44th minute but the number 7 won’t care to be reminded of his missed penalty in the 49th minute. Clare defender Shane O’Brien ‘rugby tackled’ O’Rorke from behind inside the large rectangle but McClelland’s penalty was diverted out for a ’65′ by the Banner County’s left corner-back Gearoid Ryan. Winters sent over the resulting ’65′ but Shane Taylor left the scoreboard reading Clare 2-15, Dublin 2-11 with 10 minutes to go. Dublin substitute Donal Gormley traded points with Taylor and Shay Boland’s charges were thrown a lifeline in the 54th minute when midfielder Cronin goaled from close range to leave just the bare minimum between the sides, Clare 2-16, Dublin 3-12. Dublin full-forward Boland brought the sides level shortly after before Conor McHugh gave them the lead. That lead last just 20 seconds, however, as David Conroy replied for Clare. A Duggan free was waved wide by the umpires after consultation with the referee before Shanahan appeared to be harshly penalised for over-carrying. Winters took the resulting free and O’Rorke pounced to send his team into the decider.