THE GAA just can't avoid controversy these days and so it was at Cusack Park last night as Tipperary edged out Clare by a hotly disputed late point.
With the sides level (Clare 2-12, Tipp 1-15), referee John O'Mahony awarded a 20m free to the home side after Damien Browne was fouled in possession.
While Clare's Conor Tierney was lining up to take the free, the referee's attention was called by an umpire at the other end.
After consultation with the flag waver, who judged that the Clare goalkeeper was outside the square for his puck out, the ref changed his decision and awarded a mandatory '65m' free to Tipperary, which Pa Bourke duly slotted over to claim victory.
Clare had the better of the opening half exchanges against the wind and went in 2-6 to 0-7 ahead at the break.
They were quicker to settle and lead by 1-1 to no score inside five minutes thanks full-forward Caimin Morey.
When the Premier County eventually settled, they hit three scores in a row from senior star Seamus Callinan, Thomas McGrath and a Pa Bourke '65,' also after the Clare 'keeper Donal Tuohy was adjudged to have taken a puck-out from outside his square.
The Banner claimed a second goal midway through the half when Colin Ryan superbly gathered a long ball and drove it to the Tippeary net.
After the break, Tipp regrouped and after putting four good points on the board, the ever dangerous Seamus Callinan struck for goal in the 38th to level matters at 2-8 to
A Pa Bourke point gave the visitors the lead for the first time in a thrilling encounter. Clare levelled with a Damien Browne point from a free in the 57th minute and when James McInerney gave then the lead on the hour the crowd of over 11,000 were on their feet. Bourke levelled matters for Tipp and then came the dramatic finish.
SCORERS -- Tipperary: S Callinan (1-5), P Bourke (0-6, 2 65s ,1f), K Lanigan, T Stapleton, S Hennessy, T McGrath, S Bourke (0-1) each. Clare: C Morey (1-4, 0-4 fs), C Ryan (1-0), D Browne (0-3fs, J Conlon (0-2), D Honan, N O'Connell, G Arthur (0-1) each.
Tipperary -- M Ryan; M Cahill, Pádraig Maher, K Maher; K Lanigan, T Stapleton, B Maher; G Ryan, S Hennessy; Pat Maher T McGrath S Callinan; P Bourke, M O'Meara, S Bourke. Subs: M Gleeson for G Ryan (half-time), J Mc Loughney for S Bourke (46), P Ivors for Gleeson (56), J Ryan for O'Meara (63)
Clare -- D Tuohy; E Glynn, C Cooney, C O'Doherty; G O'Connell, A Quilligan, J McInerney; D Browne, N O'Connell; J Conlan, G Arthur, S Collins; D Honan, C Morey, C Ryan. Subs: C Tierney for Collins (44), P Kelly for O'Connell (47), N O'Connell for Morey (58).
Ref -- J O'Mahony (Limerick)