Towering Conlon keeps the Sparrow's Clare flying high
DEFENDING champions Clare set up a Waterford Crystal SH semi-final clash with Davy Fitzgerald's Waterford next Sunday as they clinched a deserved two-point victory over Tipperary in Borrisoleigh last night, writes Jackie Cahill.
New Clare manager Ger 'Sparrow' O'Loughlin celebrated a second win from as many outings and his side displayed real fight against last year's beaten All-Ireland finalists in bitterly cold conditions.
A bumper crowd, estimated in the region of 3,000 spectators, turned up for this floodlit clash and the home supporters left disappointed after Clare snatched the spoils.
John Conlon was a tower of strength for Clare at centre-forward and his performance went a long way towards securing a morale-boosting success. Clare led by 0-10 to 0-6 at half-time and were let off the hook 11 minutes after the restart when Eoin Kelly's penalty was saved by defender Domhnall O'Donovan on the line.
Tipperary substitute Noel McGrath did manage to score a late goal for the Munster champions, but it just wasn't enough to catch Clare, who remain on course to successfully defend their Waterford Crystal title.
Scorers -- Clare: M Flaherty 0-6 (0-6f), J Conlon 0-3, J Clancy and A Markham 0-2 each, F Lynch, M 'Ogie' Murphy, D McMahon & P Donnellan (f) 0-1 each. Tipperary: E Kelly 0-6 (5f), N McGrath 1-0, P Kerwick 0-2, G Ryan, B Dunne, P Bourke and S McGrath 0-1 each.
CLARE -- P Brennan; P Vaughan, C Dillon, A Brigdale; D O'Donovan, B O'Connell, P Donnellan; M Ogie Murphy, J Clancy; A Markham, J Conlon, F Lynch; M Flaherty, M Scanlon, A O'Brien. Subs: D McMahon for O'Brien (43), J Cusack for Scanlon (51), B Bugler for O'Connell (57).
TIPPERARY -- B Cummins; C O'Brien, D Fanning, P Curran; D Young, T Stapleton, S Maher; B Dunne, G Ryan; P Kerwick, H Maloney, P Kelly; P Bourke, J O'Brien, E Kelly. Subs: M Webster for Bourke (39), L Corbett for P Kelly (45), N McGrath for Kerwick (48), S McGrath for Ryan (56), P Maher for Dunne (60 + 2).
Ref -- D Copps (Cork).