HurlingSports

Premier remain on course for two in a row

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Tipperary 0-28 Clare 3-16

Tipperary remain on course for two in a row after a three point over Clare at Pairc Ui Chaoimh on Saturday evening. It was Clare that finished the game better hitting five scores in succession to leave just one between the sides coming down the home straight. However, it was the experience that told in the end as John O’Dwyer, Brendan Maher, John McGrath, Jason Forde and Steven O’Brien reeled off points. Tipperary will now look forward to an All-Ireland Final meeting with either Cork or Galway next month.

Tipperary were ahead after 10 minutes of play, 0-05 to 0-02. John McGrath, Callanan and O’Dwyer all on target for the reigning All-Ireland champions. Conor McGrath scored a goal on nine minutes only for it to be brought back for a free as he over carried. Seamus Callanan then tapped over two points both coming from frees before Loughmore-Castleiney club man Noel McGrath pointed minutes later. Seamus Callanan then raised a white flag once more as he stretched the Premier’s lead to six points after 18 minutes. It was 0-09 to 0-03. However, Clare were back on level terms in the matter of minutes as two goals from Aaron Cunningham turned the game on its head. Cunningham’s first goal came from a pass from McGrath and his second goal came from an assist by the impressive Shane O’Donnell.

Michael Breen popped up to restore the lead for Tipperary on 25 minutes and Patrick Maher and Callanan also registered points. Jamie Shanahan scored an inspiring point from wing back for the Banner minutes later before Conor McGrath followed it up with a score of his own. Clare were wasteful throughout though and they made some poor mistakes, Andrew Fahy’s puckout was intercepted and Callanan fired over. John O’Dwyer, wing back Seamus Kennedy and John McGrath then raised white flags as the Premier led by five at the break.

Shane O’Donnell got the first score of the half after Kelly missed a free, before O’Dwyer fired over after some terrible defending by Clare. Seamus Callanan had a goal chance but his shot rose high and over the bar, before Tony Kelly hit two frees between the posts to narrow the gap to four after 46 minutes. The score was now 0-18 to 2-08. The McGrath brother then pointed a score each, before Kelly did likewise for Clare. Clare were beginning to rack up the wides and Tony Kelly and Peter Cunningham were guilty, before the Loughmore-Castleiney brothers again registered two points between them. There was now seven between the sides with just 17 minutes left, 0-22 to 2-09.

David Reidy pointed to narrow the gap the five, while Kelly and Duggan got back on track with some nice scores. However, there shooting was letting them down. In fact with 10 minutes to go the Banner had notched up 15 wides. However, midfielder Colm Galvin got them back on the scoreboard to leave just four between the sides 0-24 to 2-13. Reidy and McInerney pointed to narrow the gap further and with less than five minutes to go the gap was down to one as Conor McGrath scored a fine point. It was then Tipperary’s turn to hit wides as Dan McCormack and Jason Forde blazed wide. However, John O’Dwyer stepped up to the plate to fire over a 68 minute free. Brendan Maher landed a monstrous free from inside his own half with injury time approaching and the gap was out to three. John McGrath sealed the deal then minutes later with his sixth point from play on 71 minutes, before Steven O’Brien pointed to add to the winner’s massive point haul at the Cork venue. Jason Forde finished the Tipp scoring, before Shane O’Donnell got a late consolation goal for Clare that was the final score of the game in the last minute of injury time.

Player of the Match: John McGrath

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