Munster SHC: Terrific Tipperary impress again
Munster Senior Hurling Championship
TIPPERARY 3-21 CLARE 0-17
By Cian O'Connell at Cusack Park
Statements continue to be made by Tipperary, who stormed into Ennis claiming a third Munster Championship triumph of the campaign.
Following the despair of 2018 this is sharply turning into a summer of sweet satisfaction for the blue and gold team.
Away successes over Cork and Clare sandwiched either side of a convincing home win over Waterford means serious momentum is being generated by Tipperary.
The opening period illustrated Tipperary’s cocktail of graft and craft as Liam Sheedy’s outfit thundered into a 1-14 to 0-11 interval lead.
There was so much to admire in how Tipperary delivered initially with Brendan Maher restricting Tony Kelly’s influence, Noel McGrath supplying gorgeous touches at centrefield, and inside the forward line carried a potent threat.
Before the break John McGrath had four points mined from play, while Seamus Callanan dashed about craving involvement.
For all the class on show it was Tipperary’s willingness to work which proved hugely significant as Patrick Maher occupied a central role.
Indeed it was a cute flick from Callanan which commenced the 21st minute move ultimately enabling Noel McGrath to bundle a goal.
That major edged Liam Sheedy’s charges 1-7 to 0-6 ahead injecting them with confidence as the points flowed from a variety of distances and angles.
The McGraths were splendid with a 32nd minute effort from Noel stroking Tipperary 1-13 to 0-8 clear, but Clare kept battling.
Three of the next four scores arrived courtesy of Peter Duggan frees ensuring six points divided the teams at the turnaround.
Kelly wriggled away from Maher to pinch a point, but Tipperary responded by hitting 2-2 on the spin in 10 minutes.
Callanan reacted swiftly to gather the sliotar in the 40th minute after a Jason Forde free had rebounded off the post.
Forde added a couple of frees and then the relentless Patrick Maher burst through to make the Clare net dance in the 50th minute. Suddenly Tipp were 3-16 to 0-12 in front and the margin of victory was the only issue needing to be sorted.
These are encouraging times for Tipperary.
Scorers for Tipperary: Seamus Callanan 1-3, John McGrath and Jason Forde (6fs) 0-6 each, Noel McGrath and Patrick Maher 1-2 each, Brendan Maher and John O’Dwyer 0-1 each.
Scorers for Clare: Peter Duggan 0-9 (8fs), Tony Kelly 0-3 (2fs), Diarmuid Ryan, Podge Collins, Shane Golden, Aidan McCarthy, and David Fitzgerald 0-1 each.
TIPPERARY: Brian Hogan; Alan Flynn, Barry Heffernan, Cathal Barrett; Ronan Maher, Brendan Maher, Padraic Maher; Noel McGrath, Michael Breen; Dan McCormack, John O’Dwyer, Patrick Maher; Jason Forde, Seamus Callanan, John McGrath.
Subs: Willie Connors for Breen (55), Jake Morris for O’Dwyer (61), Robert Byrne for R Maher (67), Ger Browne for McCormack (69).
CLARE: Donal Tuohy; David McInerney, Pat O’Connor, Seadna Morey; Cathal Malone, Jack Browne, David Fitzgerald; Shane Golden, Colm Galvin; Diarmuid Ryan, Tony Kelly, Peter Duggan; Shane O'Donnell, John Conlon, Podge Collins.
Subs: Conor Cleary for Morey (53), Aidan McCarthy for Duggan (56), Gary Cooney for Conlon (60), Aron Shanagher for O’Donnell (64), Ryan Taylor for Golden (68).
REFEREE: Alan Kelly (Galway).