Munster MFC Quarter-Final: Clare 1-24 Tipperary 1-4
Not even an impromptu fireworks display could distract Clare in Semple Stadium as the young Banner men booked a Munster semi final spot with a sparkling performance.
It was a brilliant display by Clare with disciplined tackling, strong support play and greater intensity being the key ingredients for the winners.
Clare flew out of the blocks to lead 0-7 to 0-1 at the opening water break with that advantage thanks mainly to their dominance around the middle third.
Brian McNamara was to the fore as he continually interrupted the Tipperary restart which Clare used as the foundation to build that lead.
There were goal chances too, with Clare’s opening point from Dara Nagle just flashing over the crossbar. It kickstarted a run of six unanswered scores with Nagle, Craig Riordan and Diarmuid Fahy notching a brace each while Cillian McGroary kicked an excellent point from distance.
A potential hammer blow arrived midway through the second quarter as Tipperary finished a flowing counter attacking move to the net. Toby Lambe was on hand to palm home from close range, and when Liam McCormack arrowed over a classy score, Clare’s lead was down to four.
It did not upset Dermot Coughlan’s charges with the next three scores coming Clare’s way through Fionn Kelleher, Riordan and the outstanding McNamara. It could well have been much better only for Tom Bourke producing a brilliant diving save to deny Riordan finding the net. At the half-time whistle, it was Clare in front by 0-11 to 1-2, but had those two goal chances been taken along with some of the eight wides kicked, it could well have been an even more substantial lead.
The game was almost put to bed inside the opening minute of the new half as McNamara channeled his inner Gary Brennan to race through the centre from the throw in. His shot dragged just wide of the post, but a foul had been committed with Riordan popping over the free to ensure there was some return for the attack.
It set the tone for a third quarter that Clare owned as they outscored Tipperary by 1-9 to 0-1 to build a 0-17 lead heading into the final period. The support play from the half back line along with the quality of ball being delivered to the inside line saw the Banner forwards making hay, with McGroary (4), Fahy (3) and one from Nagle making the most of the chances they got. Clare had the ball in the net too, but a correct square ball decision denied Brian McNamara the green flag. The goal Clare were threatening arrived just before the final water break when Diarmuid Fahy broke through before unleashing a bullet to the roof of the net. Points followed from Fahy and McGroary, and Clare led 1-20 to 1-3 at the final water break with a fireworks display breaking out in the background of a nearby estate.
Clare management rang the changes for the final quarter with one eye switching to next Wednesday evening’s clash with Limerick in the last four, with that game likely to be played in Miltown. The last period saw Clare outscore Tipperary 0-4 to 0-1 to complete an impressive evening’s work in which nine different names got on the scoresheet with 1-18 coming from play.
Clare: Thomas Collins (Lissycasey); Mark O’Loughlin (Corofin), Fergal Guinnane (Kildysart), Dara Rouine (Ennistymon); Odhran Cunningham (Killimer), Fionn Kelleher (Doora Barefield), Josh Guyler (Ennistymon); Brendan Rouine (Ennistymon, c), Brian McNamara (Cooraclare); Dylan O’Brien (Kilrush Shamrocks), Cillian McGroary (Corofin, vc), Dara Nagle (Doora Barefield); Eoin Killeen (Doonbeg), Craig Riordan (Wolfe Tones), Diarmuid Fahy (Ennistymon).
Subs: Daithi Lohan (Wolfe Tones) for D Rouine, Sean McMahon (Miltown) for B Rouine, Michael Nash (Doora Barefield) for Riordan, Luke Conway (Doonbeg) for Killeen, Callum Beirne (Clooney-Quin) for Guinnane.
Scorers: Diarmuid Fahy (1-6, 2f), Cillian McGroary (0-5, 1f), Craig Riordan (0-4, 3f), Dara Nagle (0-3) , Dylan O’Brien (0-2), Fionn Kelleher, Brian McNamara, Sean McMahon and Josh Guyler (0-1 each).