Tipperary in devastating form to banish Banner as Munster final looms
Tipperary 3-21 Clare 0-17
Tipperary maintained their devastating start to this Championship by blitzing Clare in Ennis to effectively storm into the Munster final with a game to spare.
It was another spectacular showing from Liam Sheedy's men, completely over-powering a home team that could never really come to terms with Tipp's attacking venom.
Second-half goals from Seamus Callanan and Patrick 'Bonner' Maher effectively killed the game, Clare failing to get a single score from stalwart forwards, Shane O'Donnell and John Conlon.
It means Tipp now have the luxury of going into their final game, at home to All-Ireland champions, Limerick, knowing they are already in the provincial final, barring some bizarre mathematical swing on the final weekend.
The wind, snapping with gusts that reached 40 kilometres per hour, was always going to play a significant role, so Sheedy probably had mixed feelings over Tipp's half-time lead of six points.
Some of their play was exhilarating, Noel McGrath playing sublimely at midfield and the attack looking razor sharp, particularly through John McGrath, 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer and Seamus Callanan, the latter having an epic battle inside with Clare captain, Patrick O'Connor.
Tipp goalkeeper, Brian Hogan's, quick puck-outs constantly had Clare scrambling, the sliotar dropping towards their 'square' literally within a couple of seconds of any ball going dead at the town-end.
The home team were also struggling to get Tony Kelly into the game, the 2013 Hurler of the Year finding himself brilliantly marshalled by Brendan Maher.
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After a relatively even opening, Tipp led 0-7 to 0-6 when Noel McGrath forced home a 21st minute goal after brilliant improvisation from O'Dwyer in the build-up, the score kick-starting a spectacular shell-burst of scores from the Premier county that enabled them build up an eight points lead over the next eleven minutes.
Their score-taking was impeccable through that period, particularly through the McGrath brothers, Tipp's attack revolving constantly under the familarly imaginative baton of Eamonn O'Shea.
That said, Peter Duggan's free-taking was largely flawless at the far-end too and it seemed a rational decision when the big Clooney/Quin man opted to take a point with a 20-metre free on the stroke of half-time, leaving Tipp 1-14 to 0-11 ahead.
A Kelly point just after the resumption raised 'Banner' roars, but they proved short-lived - Callanan finding the net after a 40th minute Jason Forde free came back off a post. And the game was effectively over ten minutes later when the in-form 'Bonner' Maher torqued inside the Clare cover to fire home Tipp's third goal in a devastating display.
SCORERS: Tipperary - J McGrath 0-6, J Forde 0-6 frees, S Callanan 1-3, N McGrath and Patrick Maher 1-2 each, B Maher and J O'Dwyer 0-1 each. Clare - P Duggan 0-9 (0-8 frees), T Kelly 0-3 (0-2 frees), D Fitzgerald, D Ryan, P Collins, S Golden and D Ryan 0-1 each.
Tipperary: B Hogan, C Barrett, B Heffernan, R Maher, B Maher, Padraic Maher, A Flynn, N McGrath, M Breen, J Forde, D McCormack, Patrick Maher,J McGrath, S Callanan, J O'Dwyer. Subs - W Connors for Breen (55 mins), J Morris for O'Dwyer (61 mins), R Byrne for R Maher (67 mins), G Browne for McCormack (68 mins).
Clare: D Tuohy, P O'Connor, D McInerney, S Morey, C Malone, J Browne, D Fitzgerald, S Golden, C Galvin, P Duggan, T Kelly, D Ryan, S O'Donnell, J Conlon, P Collins. C Cleary for Morey (52 mins), A McCarthy for Duggan (57 mins), G Cooney for Conlon (59 mins), A Shanagher for O'Donnell (66 mins), R Taylkor for Golden (67 mins).
Referee - A Kelly (Galway).