Clare Hold Nerve to Win 13th McGrath Cup

Photo © Clare FM

McGrath Cup Senior Football Final – Saturday, 12th January 2019 

Clare 1-9 Cork 0-9 

For the first time since 2008, Clare were crowned McGrath Cup champions after a 1-9 to 0-9 victory over Cork. 


Gordon Kelly’s eighth minute goal, a speculative effort that beat keeper Chris Kelly into the top corner of the net, was the difference.  But they still had to drive on with three late points. 

Colm Collins’ side led 1-3 to 0-3 at half-time.  Cathal O’Connor sent over two frees while Gary Brennan landed a long-range effort.  Cork’s response came from Cian Kiely and two Stephen Sherlock frees. 

But Clare came out of the traps quickly after the restart as Gary Brennan from the right and substitute Keelan Sexton made it 1-5 to 0-3 on 44 minutes. 

Sexton and Sean O’Donoghue were introduced at half-time with David Tubridy also fielding for the final five minutes. 

But after struggling throughout, Cork hit a purple patch and got five points in as many minutes.  Mark Colins and Damien Gore kicked two each and Eoghan McSweeney landed the equaliser leaving it 1-5 to 0-8 on 50 minutes. 

James Fitzpatrick was sent to the sinbin for 10 minutes leaving Cork a player down.  The teams traded white flags as Sexton’s free was cancelled out by Peter Kelleher. 

But two Keelan Sexton points and one for Dean Ryan gave the Banner the victory and allowed Brennan lift the McGrath Cup. 

Scorers – Clare: Keelan Sexton 0-4 (three frees), Gordon Kelly 1-0, Gary Brennan 0-2, Cathal O’Connor 0-2 (both frees), Dean Ryan 0-1. 

Scorers – Cork: Mark Collins 0-3 (two frees), Stephen Sherlock 0-2 (both frees), Damien Gore 0-2 (one free), Eoghan McSweeney 0-1, Peter Kelleher 0-1. 

Clare: Eamonn Tubridy; Kevin Hartnett, Cillian Brennan, Gordon Kelly; Dean Ryan, Aaron Fitzgerald, Eoghan Collins; Darragh Bohannon, Cathal O’Connor; Cian O’Dea, David O’Halloran, Dermot Coughlan; Gavin Cooney, Gary Brennan, Kieran Malone. 

Subs used: Keelan Sexton for Cooney (HT), Sean O’Donoghue for O’Halloran (HT), Gearoid O’Brien for Malone (46 mins), Sean Collins for Coughlan (55 mins), David Tubridy for Bohannon (55 mins). 

Cork: Chris Kelly; Sam Ryan, Peter Murphy, Aidan Browne; Liam O’Donovan, Tom Clancy, Steven Cronin; James Fitzpatrick, Ronan O’Toole; John O’Rourke, Eoghan McSweeney, Cian Kiely; Mark Collins, Peter Kelleher, Stephen Sherlock. 

Subs used: Damien Gore for Sherlock (41 mins), Nathan Walsh for Ryan (50 mins), Kevin O’Donovan for O’Rourke (50 mins), Blake Murphy for Cronin (63 mins), Tadhg Corkerty for Kiely (60 mins). 

Referee: Padraig O’Sullivan (Kerry)