Like Cork, Clare fielded an experimental side and it took all of Sexton’s experience to push his side over the line.
The Leesiders took first initiative with a fine left-footed strike by wing-forward Cian Kiely in the fifth minute to open the scoring.
And three minutes later, Clare struck back with a goal by corner-back Gordon Kelly, when his shot from distance sailed over goalkeeper Chris Kelly.
The game’s only goal pushed the hosts on to lead by 1-3 to 0-3 at the break.
Clare manager Colm Collins, though happy with the win, was not so pleased with the execution of the victory and said as much after the whistle.
“Terrible, terrible display, so it was. So many errors, so many mistakes, we have a lot to work on. I was very disappointed with our display to be honest about it.
“It was a pre-season game and there’s no question in two weeks’ time that that display won’t get you very far,” he said in reference to Clare’s first outing in Division 2 of the National League against Donegal.
Leading by three at the beginning of the second half, the home side pushed out the advantage to five through scores from Gary Brennan and Sexton by the 45th minute.
Then Cork reeled their opponents in with five unanswered points to level matters by the 51st minute. It took scores by Sexton and wing-back Dean Ryan in the end to claim a Clare victory.
On a more positive aspect of his charges’ display, Collins had this to say: “Keelan (Sexton) kicked some sweet frees and Cathal (O’Connor) kicked some nice ones in the first half. The wind was difficult enough and hard on a free-takers, so you’d have to be very happy with that aspect of our play.”
Scorers – Clare: K Sexton 0-4 (3f), G Kelly 1-0, C O’Connor (2f), G Brennan 0-2 each, D Ryan 0-1. Cork: S Sherlock (2f), M Collins, D Gore (1f) 0-2 each (1 f), E McSweeney, C Kiely, P Kelleher 0-1 each.
Clare – E Tubridy; K Harnett, C Brennan, G Kelly; D Ryan, A Fitzgerald, E Collins; D Bohannon, C O’Connor; C O’Dea, D O’Halloran, D Coughlan; G Cooney, G Brennan, K Malone. Subs: O Donoghue for O’Halloran (h-t), K Sexton for Cooney (h-t), G O’Brien for Malone (46), D Tubridy for Bohannon (56), S Collins for Coughlan (56).
Cork – C Kelly; S Ryan, P Murphy, A Browne; L O’Donovan, T Clancy, S Cronin; J Fitzpatrick, R O’Toole; J O’Rourke, E McSweeney, C Kiely; M Collins, P Kelleher, S Sherlock. Subs: D Gore for Sherlock (41), N Walsh for Ryan (51), K O’Donovan for O’Rourke (51), T Corkery for Kiely (59), B Murphy for Cronin (66).
Ref – P O’Sullivan (Kerry)