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Cathal McInerney celebrates after scoring a goal for Clare in the Co-op Superstores Munster Hurling League Final against Tipperary.
Cathal McInerney celebrates after scoring a goal for Clare in the Co-op Superstores Munster Hurling League Final against Tipperary.

Clare impress against Tipperary

Co-op Superstores Munster Hurling League Final


By Declan Rooney at the Gaelic Grounds

First-half goals from Tony Kelly and Cathal McInerney put Clare on the road to victory and a second-half double from Colin Guilfoyle saw them crowned Co-op Superstores Munster Hurling League winners.

In front of 4,531 spectators at the Gaelic Grounds, Tipperary seemed to be the side on song in the early stages as they raced into a four-point lead, but the two goals in four minutes kickstarted Clare’s drive to victory.

Seamus Callanan’s eight points kept Tipp in touch and substitute Dan McCormack hit the net 10 minutes from time but Clare easily held on to win their fourth title.

With a strong wind at their backs in the first-half Tipperary dominated the early exchanges and Michael Breen came close early on, only to be hooked at the last minute as he bore down on goal.

Tipp started the scoring in the third minute when Jason Forde slotted a brilliant sideline cut from the right, but Clare hit back straightaway through Colin Guilfoyle, who battled hard for possession before pointing on the turn.

Despite that score Clare hadn’t started too well in front of the posts and Tony Kelly fired their fourth wide in the eighth minute. At the other end Tipp were humming and two points from Callanan placed balls were followed by and excellent Alan Flynn point – his control on the run was perfect – and Forde’s second, which put them 0-5 to 0-1 ahead.

With the condition and their poor start Clare looked in real danger of falling well behind, but seconds after Forde’s point they hit back when Cathal McInerney crept in behind the Tipp full-back line and he hit the net.

Diarmuid Ryan followed that with a great score after he won possession from a Tipp sideline cut and then in the 21st minute Clare hit their second goal when they capitalised on a three-versus-one and Tony Kelly batted to the net for the lead score.

Clare restored their three-point lead after Tipp hit two in a row, but Sheedy’s side surged into the interval with four of the last five points including a great score from Mark Kehoe to leave it level at half-time 0-11 to 2-5.

Clare made a great start to the second-half and Shane Golden put them ahead with a good score on the turn form halfway, but they opened out a four-point advantage moments later when Guiulfoyle poked to the net in a goalmouth scramble when his initial shot was well saved by Barry Hogan, Tipp’s captain for the day.

A long range free from Callanan kept Tipp in touch, but with Tony Kelly and Deasy making inroads with their direct running, Clare surged well ahead. Kelly hit two points on the run from the left sideline either side of a Deasy free, before Clare’s fourth goal put them 4-9 to 0-12 ahead. Kelly’s long delivery caused panic and the sliotar crept over the line.

With the Clare forwards shooting with confidence, a couple of Callanan frees and a goal from McCormack gave some hope to Tipperary, but Clare battled to the end to register a memorable victory.

Scorers for Clare: Colin Guilfoyle 1-3,Tony Kelly 2-3 (1f), Cathal McInerney 1-2, Diarmuid Ryan 0-3, Niall Deasy 0-3 (2fs), Shane Golden 0-2, Ryan Taylor 0-2, Michael O’Malley 0-1.

Scorers for Tipperary: Seamus Callanan 0-8 (6fs, 1’65), Jason Forde 0-5 (1’sl), Dan McCormack 1-0, Alan Flynn 0-2, Mark Kehoe 0-2, Noel McGrath 0-1,

CLARE: Donal Tuohy; Jason McCarthy, David McInerney, Rory Hayes; Cathal Malone, Conor Cleary, Aidan McCarthy; Shane Golden, Ryan Taylor; Niall Deasy, Tony Kelly (c), Diarmuid Ryan; Colin Guilfoyle, Cathal McInerney, Michael O’Neill.

Subs: Podge Collins for O’Neill (54), David Conroy for Ryan (55), Michael O’Malley for McCarthy (58), Gary Cooney for C McInerney (65), Jack Browne for Hayes (66).

TIPPERARY: Barry Hogan (c); Cathal Barrett, Padraic Maher, Donagh Maher; Alan Flynn, Seamus Kennedy, Joe O’Dwyer; Willie Connors, Michael Breen; Jason Forde, Patrick Maher, Colin English; Jake Morris, Seamus Callanan, Mark Kehoe.

Subs: Ronan Maher for Connors (half-time), Noel McGrath for Morris (45), Dan McCormack for Kehoe (48), Killian O’Dwyer for Barrett (57), Robert Byrne for Kennedy (58).

REFEREE: Thomas Walsh (Waterford).

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