CLARE 4-19 TIPPERARY 1-18
Winning last year’s Munster League provided Limerick hurlers with a launch pad which helped them to soar all the way to Liam MacCarthy Cup glory seven months later, a flightpath Clare hope they can also follow after collecting the first silverware of the 2019 season.
Their success in the Gaelic Grounds completed an encouraging few weeks, having beaten Cork, Waterford and Tipperary to land the provincial pre-season title for the first time since 2016. It leaves them well-primed for the Allianz League, where their first outing will be another clash with Tipp under lights in Semple Stadium on Saturday week.
Having lost last year’s Munster League final, Clare were determined to start the season on a better note this year and while they took time to power into their stride, they were by far the better team in the second half.
Goals by Colin Guilfoyle (38th min) Tony Kelly (44) set them on their way to a comprehensive victory on a day when Tipperary appeared to run out of energy. Kelly gave a master class all through in a man-of-the-match performance while Clare’s newcomers did well too.
It was level at half-time (Clare 2-5 Tipperary 0-11) after a first half where two Banner goals early in the second quarter broke Tipperary’s momentum.
Tipp led by 0-5 to 0-1 after 16 minutes but Clare, whose had missed some good chances, struck back to score 2-1 in four minutes. The goals came from Cathal McInerney and Tony Kelly, the latter after a sweeping move split the Tipperary defence.
Clare extended their lead to three points in the 28th minute, but Tipp finished strongly to even it up just before the break with a Jason Forde point. It was his fifth (four from play, one line-ball) in an impressive first half.
Tipperary managed just two points in the third quarter, during which wind-assisted Clare scored 2-8 to put themselves in a comfortable position which they protected all the way to the end.
Scorers: Clare: T Kelly 2-3, C Guilfoyle 1-3, C McInerney 1-2, D Ryan, N Deasy (2f) 0-3 each, R Taylor, S Golden 0-2 each, M O’Malley 0-1.
Tipperary: S Callanan 0-8 (7f), J Forde 0-5 (1 l/b), D McCormack 1-0, A Flynn, M Kehoe 0-2 each, N McGrath 0-1
Clare: D Tuohy; J McCarthy, D McInerney, R Hayes; A McCarthy, C Cleary, C Malone; S Golden, R Taylor; D Ryan, T Kelly N Deasy;; C Guilfoyle, C McInerney, M O’Neill.
Subs: P Collins for O’Neill (53), D Conroy for Ryan (55), M O’Malley for A McCarthy (58), G Cooney for McInerney (65), J Browne for Hayes (66).
Tipperary: Barry Hogan; C Barrett, Padraic Maher, D Maher; A Flynn, S Kennedy, J O’Dwyer; W Connors, M Breen; J Forde, Patrick Maher, C English; M Kehoe, S Callanan, J Morris.
Subs: R Maher for Connors (ht), N McGrath for Morris (44), D McCormack for Kehoe (48), K O’Dwyer for Barrett (56), R Byrne for Kennedy (58).
Ref - T Walsh (Waterford)