Tipperary 2-7 Clare 1-7
THE Clare footballers fell to their first league defeat of 2016 in what was their first away fixture of the new season. Played in exceptionally difficult conditions in Tipperary Town, Clare played very poorly in the first half, despite being backed by a forceful wind.
They did up their effort levels significantly in the second half but on reflection that fact that Clare’s starting forwards kicked just a single point from play between them, underlines where one of their primary issues lies.
Clare kicked 10 of their 15 wides in the first half and this profligacy helped Tipperary into a 1-4 to 0-4 half time lead. Gary Brennan put over the games first score in the opening minute but 60 seconds later, Conor Sweeney buried a Tipperary’s goal, following a Peter Acheson run and a Philip Austin shot, which hit the crossbar.
Brennan and Eoin Cleary shared Clare’s four first half points between them, with the Clare captained moved to full forward late in the half, to try to take advantage of the wind.
Clare needed to raise their game considerably on the resumption and for a while they did. David Tubridy kicked three frees into the wind, following fouls on Gary Brennan, Jamie Malone and Keelan Sexton. However Tubridy’s last point was in the seventh minute of the new half and that was the final white flag raised by Clare.
Nine minutes from time, Tipperary led 1-7 to 0-7 but this changed in an instant while Jamie Malone buried an excellent goal, following a perceptive David Tubridy cross field pass.
Now level, Clare needed to show some composure and win the resultant kick out. However inside 60 seconds the ball was in the back of Clare’s net following a Peter Acheson run, which set up Brian Fox for a simple goal. It was the games final score and although Clare pressed hard, they could not find the goal they needed.
While Clare did reasonably well in the second half, that cannot disguise the paucity of their first half display which, aside from Gary Brennan and some of the Clare defenders, lacked urgency or cohesion. Too often the Clare forwards opted to off load rather than take responsibility when a shot for a score was on.
Clare are now on two points from their first two games. They play Limerick in their next fixture in three weeks time.
Tipperary: Ciaran Kenrick; Colm O’Shaughnessy, Ciaran McDonald, Alan Campbell; Jimmy Feehan, Robbie Kiely, Donagh Leahy; Alan Maloney, Martin Dunne; Josh Keane, Peter Acheson (captain), Brian Fox; Niall O’Donovan, Conor Sweeney, Philip Austin.
Subs: John O’Callaghan for Donagh Leahy (49), Shane Leahy for Jimmy Feehan (60- BC) Kevin O’Halloran for Conor Sweeney (62), Billy Hewitt (66), David Butler for Niall O’Donovan (68).
Scorers: Brian Fox (1-1), Philip Austin (0-4, 0-2f), Conor Sweeney (1-0), Peter Acheson, Josh Keane (0-1 each).
Yellow card: Peter Acheson
Black card: Jimmy Feehan
Clare: Joe Hayes (Lissycasey); Cian O’Dea (Kilfenora), Kevin Harnett (Meelick), Martin McMahon (Kilmurry Ibrickane); Jamie Malone (Corofin); Gordon Kelly (St Joseph’s, Miltown), Pearse Lillis (Cooraclare); Gary Brennan (Clondegad-captain), Cathal O’Connor (Coolmeen); Seán Collins (Cratloe), Enda Coughlan (Kilmurry Ibrickane), Shane McGrath (Thomas Davis); Keelan Sexton (Kilmurry Ibrickane), Eoin Cleary (St Joseph’s, Miltown), David Tubridy (Doonbeg).
Scorers: Jamie Malone (1-0), David Tubridy (0-3f), Gary Brennan (0-2, Eoin Cleary (0-2, 0-1f).
Referee: Padraig O’Sullivan (Kerry).