Wednesday 13 December 2017

Fitzgerald 'not fooled' as Banner power past Tipp

Clare’s Alan O'Neill gets away from Paul Curran during the Waterford Crystal Cup final at Semple Stadium
Clare’s Alan O'Neill gets away from Paul Curran during the Waterford Crystal Cup final at Semple Stadium

Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald has warned his side not to get complacent ahead of the start of the Allianz Hurling League after this impressive rout of holders Tipp in Thurles.

"We were the better team tonight but I'm not fooled," said Fitzgerald.

"We meet Tipp in the league and we know what the story will be. I'm not reading anything into that whatsoever. You know there is a lot more in Tipp and I would have a lot more respect for them than that.

"Our movement and our tackling was good. We have been working on that for the last year and a half there now. It means that there are another 10 guys that will have to fight to get back into it."

The early exchanges were free-flowing, with the sides level on four occasions in the first 10 minutes; Seadna Morey was to the fore for Clare with two points from play, while Shane Bourke, Brian O'Meara and Eoin Kelly were on the mark for a lively Tipp inside attack.

Tipperary struck for goal in the 13th minute after a flowing team move, with Kelly, O'Meara and Bourke combining to set up Patrick Maher for a close-range finish.

The home side kept their noses in front through scores from Kelly and Bourke, but Clare were slowly getting on top.

Domhnall O'Donovan and Patrick Donnellan were prominent in defence for the Banner, while good points from the excellent Tony Kelly, Alan O'Neill, Enda Barrett and Fergal Lynch helped the visitors to a three-point half-time lead.

A much sharper Clare team extended their dominance in the second half and Shane O'Donnell's goal in the 52nd minute virtually ended the game as a contest.

Man-of-the-match Tony Kelly brought his tally to five points from play, while top scorer Colin Ryan was on form from placed balls, finishing with nine points.

Tipperary struggled to raise a gallop in the second half, scoring just five points, three coming from frees; they also had corner-back Conor O'Brien sent off in the 58th minute for a second bookable offence.

Tipperary manager Eamon O'Shea admitted that the defeat was disappointing but hinted that his sides preparations were focused on later in the year.

"Yep, it is disappointing when you are beaten. We never seemed to get into the game," he said.

"They had the initiative right from the start and I think it was more than a fair result.

"This is a training game before the first round of the league but having said that, they are probably more advanced than we are in terms of where their fitness levels are at.

"We are training once a week and people should know tha,t and we train the weekends. It's a long season and I think that's what these games are for," he added.

Scorers – Clare: C Ryan 0-9 (7f, 1 '65'), T Kelly 0-5, S O'Donnell 1-1, S Morey, F Lynch 0-2 each, E Barrett, A O'Neill 0-1 each. Tipperary: E Kelly 0-6 (5f), P Maher 1-0, S Bourke, S Callanan (1f) 0-2, B O'Meara, J O'Brien, N McGrath (f) 0-1 each.

Clare – P Kelly; D O'Donovan, J McInerney, D McInerney; B Bugler, P Donnellan, P O'Connor; F Lynch, S Morey; C Ryan, T Kelly, E Barrett; P Collins, A O'Neill, S O'Donnell. Subs: P Duggan for Lynch (53), J Clancy for Collins (62), D O'Halloran for O'Donnell (64), L Markham for Barrett (66), D Honan for O'Neill (70+1).

Tipperary – B Cummins; D Maher, P Curran, C O'Brien; J McLoughney, T Stapleton, S Hennessy; S McGrath, N McGrath; J Forde, E Kelly, P Maher; B O'Meara, S Bourke, S Callanan. Subs: J O'Brien for O'Meara (h-t), J Ryan for McLoughney (52), T Hammersley for Kelly (57), J Woodlock for Stapleton (62), J O'Neill for Curran (66 inj).

REF – G O'Connell (Cork).

Irish Independent

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