Monday 22 January 2018

Tipperary v Clare: The showtime years

CLARE 2-12
Attendance: 41,557

(1993 Munster final) (1994 Munster quarter-final)(1997 Munster final)(1997 All-Ireland final)(1999 Munster semi-final)(1999 Munster semi-final Replay)(2000 Munster semi-final)(2001 Munster semi-final)

Clare had beaten Limerick and Cork and were well fancied against Tipperary, only to fold easily.

It was alleged afterwards that Tipperary mocked them as they racked up the scores, with Nicky English, who came on as a sub, the prime target for Clare's ire. They accused him of laughing at them as the rout continued.

English's version -- as recalled in his book -- was completely different, but Ger Loughnane would later use the '93 Munster final as a motivating agent.

English wrote: "The first score I got was set up by Declan Ryan. He got the ball and seemed to hold it for an age before tapping it across to me. I felt he was treating me like an old cripple by holding onto the ball so long to set me up in a scoring position so, having scored I looked across at him and grinned.

"Little did I know that the moment would burn a hole in certain Clare minds. They thought I was laughing at them, but nothing could be further from my intentions."

However innocent the English grin might have been, Loughnane was happy to exploit the incident when he was Clare manager.

"Sometimes, Nicky's too honest and too open. There is no deviousness about him. What happened in '93 was something I used subsequently to motivate Clare," wrote Loughnane.

Clare 2-11

Tipperary 0-13

Attendance: 18,215

A year after losing to Tipperary by 18 points, a small crowd turned out expecting another one-sided game but Clare, managed by Tipp's Len Gaynor, were a transformed team.

'Babs' Keating ended his eight-year managerial reign with Tipperary immediately afterwards.

Clare 1-18

Tipperary 0-18

Attendance: 43,560

Clare 0-20

Tipperary 2-13

Attendance: 65,575

Clare's best ever year against Tipperary, beating them twice in finals. Loughnane regards the Munster final win as the most precious of all.

Loughnane wrote: "The '97 Munster final is the treasure of all treasures. Everything that day was just bliss. It wasn't the All-Ireland final but the Munster final that was more important to us. That's what people don't understand.

"Munster is magic because of local rivalries. Whatever changes are made, the Munster championship must stay. You look at the Munster championship and the passion it generates.

"Croke Park is business. There's something spiritual about the Munster championship."

Clare 2-12

Tipperary 0-18

Attendance: 42,382

Clare 1-21

Tipperary 1-11

Attendance: 34,030

A Davy Fitzgerald penalty earned Clare a replay that they won easily after getting motivation from an unlikely source, as revealed by Fitzgerald in his book.

"Through the walls (in the Pairc Ui Chaoimh dressing-room) Loughnane could hear the pre-match speech Nicky English was issuing to his Tipperary players," wrote Fitzgerald.

"'Ssshh! Listen lads,' Loughnane said to us. We would hear English shouting 'What do you do with wounded animals? Kill! Kill!' We went berserk. Loughnane never had to finish his own team talk."

Tipperary 2-19

Clare 1-14

Attendance: 39,205

The changing of the guard. Tipperary gained revenge for the previous year. It was level at half-time but Clare outscored Tipp by 2-8 to 0-6 in the second half. Loughnane later resigned as Clare manager. The counties have met six times in the championship since then, with Tipp winning five to Clare's one.

Tipperary 0-15

Clare 0-14

Attendance: 42,063

The crowds were still coming in huge numbers. Tipperary, who edged home by a point leaving Clare incensed that the final whistle blew just as they were building an attack, went on to win the All-Ireland title.

Irish Independent

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