An injury time point from substitute Colin Ryan ensured Clare advance to the semi-final of the Waterford Crystal Cup following a tight contest with Tipperary.
In what was the first competitive match of the year for Davy Fitzgerald’s side, they appeared far from rusty in this encounter. Tipperary on the other hand are only a few weeks back from a team holiday and while they did get the better of Mary Immaculate College last week, there was very little between the sides all the same.
Tipperary played with the aid of a strong breeze in the first half and they notched up a number of points from distance during this period. However, the sides were level on four different occasions in the first thirty. The Banner battled well throughout and found themselves ahead on a scoreline of 0-08 to 0-07 heading in at the interval.
Following the resumption, it continued to be a case of both sides exchanging scores. Eamon O’Shea and Davy Fitzgerald both decided to use their bench to try add a bit of freshness to their respective sides. While Tipperary had a very strong bench with names like Patrick Maher and Shane McGrath entering the fray, Clare’s was far from weak as the likes of Colin Ryan and John Conlon were brought on.
In the end, it was the impact of a particular substitute that proved to be the difference as Newmarket-on-Fergus clubman Colin Ryan hit the sliotar straight between the sticks after receiving an accurate pass from Davy O’Halloran. Even though Clare let a four point lead slip, they still did enough to book a spot in the last four where they will take on Cork next Sunday with Pairc Uí Rinn as the most likely venue.
Eamon O’Shea will not be too disheartened over today’s defeat. The only piece of silverware collected by Tipperary in 2014 was the Waterford Crystal Cup and while that is no longer possible, their eyes are certainly on the bigger prizes. For the Premier County, captain Brendan Maher was their star man, while Denis Maher, Conor O’Brien and Gearóid Ryan did well also.
The Clare management will be pleased to have got 2015 off to a winning start. An area of improvement for the next day will be the aerial battle as Tipp seemed to catch an array of ball in the air at times and this is something the Banner will improve on. Cathal ‘Tots’ O’Connell showed great workrate over the hour, Seadna Morey, Gearóid O’Connell, Aaron Cunningham and Davy O’Halloran did well also.
Teams: Clare: Pa Kelly (Inagh/Kilnamona), Domhnall O’Donovan (Clonlara), Cillian Duggan (Clooney/Quin), Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge), Gearóid O’Connell (Ballyea), Conor Ryan (Cratloe) (0-01), Conor Cleary (Kilmaley), Colm Galvin (Clonlara) (0-01), Brendan Bugler (Whitegate) (0-01), Patrick Donnellan (O’Callaghans Mills) (0-02), Bobby Duggan (Clarecastle) (0-01), Shane Golden (Sixmilebridge), Davy O’Halloran (Éire Óg) (0-02), Aaron Cunningham (Wolfe Tones na Sionna) (0-01), Cathal ‘Tots’ O’Connell (Clonlara) (0-04 4f). Subs: John Conlon (Clonlara) for Golden (53:00), Colin Ryan (Newmarket-on-Fergus) (0-02 1f) for Galvin (53:00), Paul Flanagan (Ballyea) for Cleary (55:00), Jamie Shanahan (Sixmilebridge) (0-01) for B Duggan (63:00).
Tipperary: Darragh Egan (Kildangan), Joe O’Dwyer (Killenaule), Paul Curran (Mullinahone), Stephen Maher (Thurles Sarsfields), Ronan Maher (Thurles Sarsfields), Conor O’Mahony (Newport), Conor O’Brien (Éire Óg Annacarty), Tom Stapleton (Templederry-Kenyons) (0-01), Brendan Maher (Borris-Ileigh) (0-07 5f), Gearóid Ryan (Templederry-Kenyons) (0-01), Denis Maher (Thurles Sarsfields) (0-02), James Woodlock (Drom & Inch), Conor Kenny (JK Brackens), David Butler (Drom & Inch) (0-01), Sean Maher (Clonoulty Rossmore) (0-02). Subs: Micheál Butler (Drom & Inch) for O’Dwyer (H/T), Kieran Bergin for Ryan (50:00), Patrick Maher (Lorrha-Dorrha) for Butler (50:00), Shane McGrath (Ballinahinch) (0-01) for D Maher (60:00).
Referee: Johnny Murphy (Limerick).