Tipp minors pay tribute to Doyle with victory
Tipperary 1-15 Clare 1-11 Munster MHC semi-final
On the day Tipperary hurling bade a fond farewell to the late Jimmy Doyle, the county's minors honoured his memory with a four-point victory over Clare in last evening's Electric Ireland Munster semi-final at his beloved Semple Stadium.
The Premier County had to work for it in front of 3,462 spectators at the Field of Dreams, as a rousing second-half fightback from Clare almost caught the hosts.
Clare, playing their first game of the campaign, emptied the bench and seemed to find their best formation and personnel as the game wore on.
But a tally of 12 wides, including eight in the first half, proved costly as the Banner boys gave themselves too much to do.
They were ten points down early in the second half, 0-4 to 1-11, but came roaring back to trail by just three before Tipp sub Mikey Connors bagged the insurance score in stoppage time.
Martin Daly's goal with ten minutes remaining provided oxygen to the Clare challenge but Ken Morrissey's team bowed out when this game would have brought them on considerably.
Tipp's win was marred by a knee injury suffered by captain and dual star Stephen Quirke, who was stretchered off in the 18th minute, but Liam Cahill's charges still did enough to set up a final clash with Limerick or Cork on July 12.
Cahill said: "Our energy levels seemed to drop again, I don't know what it is. We look like a really decent team at times and then in a ten-minute spell we seem to fall away.
"It's a concern, when it's all unfolding there in front of you it's hard to know what to do but we'll go back and see what needs to be looked at for the next day."
Tipp led 1-8 to 0-4 at the end of the first half but it was Clare who nudged in front when Colm Fitzgerald, son of Clare senior boss Davy, cut over a sideline in the second minute.
With ten minutes on the watch, the sides were deadlocked but Clare went scoreless for 20 minutes after Jack Cunningham, brother of senior star Aaron, levelled the scores at 0-2 apiece.
Tipp roared into an eight-point lead, 1-7 to 0-2, with David Gleeson showing some lovely touches at full-forward.
Alan Tynan probed from midfield and latterly centre-forward, where he moved to after Quirke's enforced substitution.
Tynan was a member of the Cistercian College (Roscrea) team that made history in March by claiming a very first Leinster schools senior cup rugby crown.
Having turned his attentions back to hurling, Tynan was solid in the quarter-final victory over Waterford and showed the benefits of work on his touch over the last number of weeks.
Tynan was one of six Tipp scorers, including free-taker Lyndon Fairbrother, on target from play in the first half.
The hosts landed 1-7 from play in the opening half, with Clare managing just one point from play, that early score from Cunningham.
Tipp's goal arrived in the 26th minute from the stick of Tommy Nolan, who ghosted in behind Declan Power to find himself unmarked on the edge of the Clare square from Tynan's delivery.
Nolan's first touch enabled him to whip home a close range goal and the lively Drom & Inch forward went close to another before half-time, denied by Jason Loughnane.
Clare finally ended their barren run on the scoreboard when Fitzgerald lofted over a free on the half hour mark and after Tynan's response, Aaron Shanagher finally opened his account with a free.
Shanagher hit 1-13 against Tipperary in last year's championship and while the Wolfe Tones man caught some good ball, he struggled to make an impact on the scoreboard before later finding his range.
But fittingly, this was Tipp's night as Cahill's young guns moved a step closer to achieving what Doyle did three times as a minor - winning an All-Ireland title in this grade.
Scorers - Tipperary: T Nolan 1-1, L Fairbrother 0-5 (4f), D Gleeson 0-4, D Carey 0-2, A Tynan, G Ryan & M Connors 0-1 each. Clare: A Shanagher 0-5 (4f, 1 65), M Daly 1-0, C Fitzgerald (1f, 1 sl), J Cunningham & A Kennedy 0-2 each.
TIPPERARY - P Hayes; E Heffernan, E Moloney, J Quigley; J Skehan, B McGrath, K Hassett; D Carey, A Tynan; L McCutcheon, S Quirke, G Ryan; T Nolan, D Gleeson, L Fairbrother. Subs: T Lowry for Quirke (inj, 18), S Neville for McCutcheon (h-t), R Mulrooney for Ryan (45), M Connors for Lowry (55), C Darcy for Carey (59).
CLARE - J Loughnane; D Power, S Phelan, R Monahan; D Chaplin, N Fox, C Noonan; C Fitzgerald, J Cunningham; J McCarthy, M O'Shea, A Shanagher; C O'Halloran, M Daly, P O'Loughlin. Subs: A Kennedy for O'Shea (half-time), P Lillis for Monahan (38), D Devanney for Chaplin (51), P McNamara for O'Halloran (58), S Kennedy for Noonan (59).
Ref - J Larkin (Cork)