Munster Senior Hurling Championship Semi-Final
Tipperary 3-23 Clare 2-22
CLARE’S Munster Final hopes were frustratingly dealt a detrimental blow following a controversial refereeing decision which handed Tipperary a pivotal initiative in the LIT Gaelic Grounds, Limerick this afternoon, reports Eoin Brennan.
Clare had rolled with the punches in a seesaw first half, with goals from Ian Galvin and Tony Kelly sandwiching two brilliant saves from Eibhear Quilligan to nudge Clare the minimum in front by the break.
However, the match would hinge on a mistimed challenge by Aidan McCarthy on Jake Morris just inside the 20 metre line near the left sideline that was deemed to be a cynical foul to prevent a goalscoring opportunity. Only three minutes into the new half, it was a contentious call that Clare would never recover from as McCarthy was sin binned for ten minutes, by which time Tipperary had produced an eight point turnaround to soar 3-17 to 2-14 in front.
Jason Forde gladly converted the resulting penalty while a mishit Seamus Callanan effort also managed to find the net as the Premier County outscored a shellshocked Clare by 2-4 to 0-2 in that period.
Even when their full complement was restored, it would ultimately prove too big a gap for Clare to make up as Tipperary substitutes Alan Flynn (2) and Willie Connors helped their momentum-fuelled side to a nine point advantage entering the final ten minutes.
True to form, Clare battled until the end and even got the last five points through Kelly (2), Cathal Malone and defensive anchors John Conlon and Rory Hayes. However, a potential penalty call along with saved goal opportunities from substitute Mark Rodgers and Aron Shanagher would leave Clare even more vexed as their provincial adventure was prematurely ended.
Tipperary march on to a Munster Final meeting against back-to-back champions Limerick in a fortnight’s time whereas Clare must await the draw for the All-Ireland Qualifiers which takes place on Monday week.
Tipperary: Barry Hogan; Padraic Maher, Cathal Barrett, Barry Heffernan; Seamus Kennedy, Brendan Maher, Ronan Maher; Noel McGrath, Dan McCormack; Michael Breen, Jason Forde, Seamus Callanan; John McGrath, Jake Morris, John O’Dwyer. Subs: Willie Connors for J. McGrath (HT), Alan Flynn for N. McGrath (48), Dillon Quirke for O’Dwyer (66)
Scorers: Jason Forde (1-8, 1-0 Pen, 3f, 1’65, 1s/l); John O’Dwyer (0-4); Michael Breen, Seamus Callanan (1-1 each); Jake Morris (0-3); Dan McCormack, Alan Flynn (0-2 each); Ronan Maher, Willie Connors (0-1 each)
Clare: Eibhear Quilligan (Feakle); Rory Hayes (Wolfe Tones), Conor Cleary (St Joseph’s Miltown), Paul Flanagan (Ballyea); Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe), John Conlon (Clonlara) (Captain), Paidi Fitzpatrick (Sixmilebridge); Colm Galvin (Clonlara), Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge); Aidan McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona), David Reidy (Éire Óg), Ryan Taylor (Clooney-Quin); Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones), Tony Kelly (Ballyea), Ian Galvin (Clonlara)
Subs: David McInerney (Tulla) for Fitzpatrick (53), David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona) for Taylor (59), Mark Rodgers (Scariff) for I. Galvin (59)
Scorers: Tony Kelly (1-9, 8f); Ian Galvin (1-3); Ryan Taylor, Cathal Malone (0-2 each); Aron Shanagher, Colm Galvin, David Reidy, Aidan McCarthy, John Conlon, Rory Hayes (0-1 each)
Referee: James Owens (Wexford)