Tipperary 4-19 Clare 1-19

Tipperary acheived a comfortable win over Clare yesterday at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick, Tipp will now move into next month’s Munster final against Waterford in Cork’s Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

The first 20 minutes of the match was electric, Tipperary showed off darting movements and impeccable shooting.

At half time Declan Ryan replaced the right side of his defence, withdrawing David Young and John O’Keefe, who in his second championship outing had been under the hammer in his contest with impressive Clare debutant Conor McGrath .

McGrath fired the first flare with under a minute on the clock, turning his man and racing in for a goal. Four minutes later Diarmuid McMahon blocked Shane McGrath and pointed and within a further minute, McGrath had snapped up a loose clearance and sent it over the bar. In the eighth minute Fergal Lynch picked up the ball 70 metres out and it soared over for a 1-3 to nil lead.

Eoin Kelly lashed home a ball that ran loose after John O’Brien had broken a high, dropping delivery from the excellent Pádraic Maher, who did a lot of fire-brigade work in the first half and maintained his performance throughout the match to earn the Man of the Match citation.

Twice Clare pushed the margin back to four with points from John Conlon and Darrach Honan but two minutes after Kelly’s goal Patrick Maher – whose appetite for and success in pursuing any loose ball played an important role in his team’s turnaround – broke from a posse of defenders, kept going and took the goal well.

After another two minutes Lar Corbett drifted on to a ball on the left wing, took the ball right in and was somehow allowed to get his shot off and it found the net.

At 3-3 to 1-7, Tipp would lose the lead just once and even then just for a minute before Kelly and Pádraic Maher got Tipp back in the lead.

Goalkeeper Brendan Cummins provided plenty of reassurance at the back. Before half-time the veteran goalkeeper made a smart save from Cathal McInerney and Pádraic Maher cleared up the field to Noel McGrath for a score, a four-point turnaround. Just before the break, when an all-in Clare attack was threatening the goalmouth, Cummins emerged from a thicket of players and ran the ball clear before hitting it to safety.

Tipperary made the changes at the break and a few minutes into the half, could have had a couple more goals. Noel McGrath kicked the ball into the net only for play to be called back for a penalty that Eoin Kelly rattled off the crossbar, and then Pat Donnellan made the vital intervention to stop an admittedly ordinary shot from Corbett.

A string of points for Tipperary, including further scores for Séamus Callanan – whose 1-5 brought his total for the championship after two matches to 1-10 from play – put the match beyond doubt after which lassitude set in.

Tipp ended the second half with nine wides and their waning interest in accuracy eventually prompted Clare to resume scoring after 15 blank minutes.

They got the margin down to five by the end of normal time but Callanan reacted to sweep home the rebound after Corbett’s shot had come off the butt of the upright, and Shane McGrath added a point for a comfortable win, albeit by a flattering margin.

Tipperary will be happy that they responded as emphatically as they did to the early run on them. From the 16th minute they won the remainder of the match by 15 points. Gearóid Ryan was again solid in centrefield whereas Maher and Conor O’Mahony asserted themselves in the half backs and at full back Paul Curran effectively policed Honan.

Referee James Owens took the art of non-intervention to Parnassian levels, awarding just 14 frees over the course of the 70 minutes, ignoring an early scatter without even recourse to a card and generally making players earn any awards the hard way.

It took Clare over 20 minutes to get their first free, a scarcity that irked manager Ger O’Loughlin.

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