Clare and Tipperary share Munster U20 Hurling Championship opening round spoils

Clare 0-20 Tipperary 0-20

Patrick Crotty scored a late point for Clare

A last-gasp equaliser from Patrick Crotty finally split the opening points of the Munster Under-20 Hurling Championship in an entertaining derby showdown in front of 1,842 in Cusack Park Ennis on Saturday afternoon.

With the sides deadlocked on eight occasions, a draw was the fairest outcome.

However, considering that both sides were in the ascendency in injury-time, it was an anxious finale that first saw Eddie Ryan appear to be the hero before a patient Clare worked the ball back to senior panelist Crotty for a 65th minute leveller.

The home side had started sharply, with five different scorers including a trio of Keith Smyth points powering the Banner to an 0-8 to 0-2 advantage by the eleventh minute.

Remarkably, Tipperary would wipe out that cushion over the next ten minutes as Clare’s indiscipline coughed up five frees for Stephen Ferncombe to unerringly convert.

Not content with that, the Clonoulty Rossmore marksman subsequently took his first half tally to eight with a further brace of placed balls on his side’s way to a 0-12 to 0-11 half-time edge.

Clare regained full parity by the 34th minute thanks to Smyth and Niall O’Farrell but the emergence of Eddie Ryan added a new gear for Tipperary to inch 0-17 to 0-15 in front by the turn of the final quarter.

The sides would be locked together three more times before Ryan emerged out of a huddle to fire over what initially appeared the winning point. Having been pipped at the post in their two outings in 2022 though, Clare refused to yield this time around, with Crotty starting and finishing the move to share the derby spoils.

Scorers - Clare: K Smyth 0-5 (4f); N O’Farrell, P Crotty 0-4 each; C Whelan 0-2 (1f); S Rynne, D Kennedy, D Lohan, J Collins, O O’Donnell 0-1 each. Tipperary: S Ferncombe (0-10, 9f); E Ryan (0-3); S Kenneally, L Shanahan, C McCormack, D Stakelum, P McGarry, D McCarthy, J Leamy (0-1 each)

Clare: A Shanahan; J Conneally, A Hogan, I McNamara; R O’Connor, O Cahill, D Lohan; S Rynne, C Whelan; O O’Donnell, P Crotty, N O’Farrell; J O’Neill, K Smyth, D Kennedy. Subs: J Collins for O’Connor (HT), K Hartigan for Whelan (44), C Cleary (O’Callaghan’s Mills) for O’Donnell (55).

Tipperary: E Horgan; D Slattery, R Doyle, L Shanahan; M Corcoran, C Quinn, J Morris; D Stakelum, P McGarry; J Caesar, E Ryan, S Kenneally; S Ferncombe, C McCormack, J Leamy. Subs: P McCormack for C. McCormack (46), M Fitzpatrick for Corcoran (50), D McCarthy for Ferncombe (55), C O’Brien for Caesar (58), J Fogarty for Kenneally (60).

Referee: E Stapleton (Limerick).