Venue: Semple Stadium, Thurles.
Tipperary’s hoodoo over the Clare Senior Footballers continued earlier on this afternoon as they led from start to finish securing a comfortable six point win.
In a tight Division 3, the win now puts the Premier County ahead of the Banner in the table and if Louth manage to beat Sligo it will push Clare to fifth place in the rankings which would put a major dent in any remaining aspirations for promotion.
Peter Creedon’s men raced into an early lead with full-forward Michael Quinlivan pointing less than a minute into the encounter. Shane McGrath levelled matters with Clare’s first score, seven minutes in. Borrisokane’s Philip Austin pointed off his left foot from forty yards with nine minutes gone to push Tipp back in front.
A long delivery from Liam Casey deceived the Clare defence and fell to corner-forward Conor Sweeney who made no mistake and beat Lissycasey’s Joe Hayes in the Clare net with ten minutes played. Sweeney was on alert thirteen minutes later as he kicked over a placed ball to increase their lead to five points.
Wing-back Seamus Kennedy registered his only score of the tie with twenty seven minutes played. Clare finished the half strong with two frees from David Tubridy and another effort from Shane McGrath to leave Tipp ahead 1-05 to 0-04 at the break.
Doonbeg’s David Tubridy was first on the scoresheet in the second half pointing from a free, a minute after the resumption. Aherlow’s Barry Grogan registered Tipp’s first score of the second half with three minutes gone as he raised a flag to bring the gap to four points. Philip Austin increased the lead pointing on the tenth minute.
Further efforts from Stephen O’Brien and Ian Fahy increased the home side’s advantage to seven points with eighteen minutes gone. Shane Brennan made his point known to the Clare management when being introduced as he got Clare’s only goal with twenty three minutes played to immediately cut the gap.
Barry Grogan replied with a 45 for Tipp before Shane McGrath and Stephen O’Brien swapped scores with full-time fast approaching. Clare’s Shane McGrath raised yet another white flag on the thirty first minute to reduce the distance between the sides to four points. Great work from Tipp sub Brian Mulvihill was capped off by Philip Austin who slotted past Joe Hayes to guarantee the two points. Clare had a late goal chance as a David Tubridy penalty was saved and the rebound sailed over the crossbar.
Next up for today’s victors is Louth in Drogheda, for promotion hopes to remain alive they need to pick up the available six points, losing is no longer an option after defeats to Armagh and Fermanagh. Key to their win today was their accuracy in front of goal, an area their opponents were not as clinical in. Peter Creedon’s side now have the potential to build up a serious run of form which could see them featuring heavily in the promotion fight. Colin O’Riordan, Philip Austin, Stephen O’Brien and Ian Fahy did best for the Premier.
In their two away games of the 2015 NFL campaign, Clare have lost out on both occasions. They went over twenty four minutes in the first half without registering a score which is not acceptable when it comes to inter-county football. An undesirable trait sneaking into their game is the way in which possession is being given away so easily and today their efforts in front of goal were a big cause for concern, hitting eleven wides which could have easily been scores. Nonetheless all is not lost but difficult games against Armagh, Limerick and Fermanagh remain on the agenda for Colm Collins’s men. Cathal O’Connor, Shane McGrath and Martin McMahon were prominent for the Banner.
Evan Comerford (Kilsheelan/Kilcash), Alan Campbell (Moyle Rovers, Paddy Codd (Killenaule), Liam Casey (Cahir), Seamus Kennedy (Commercials) (0-01), Peter Acheson (Moyle Rovers), Robbie Kiely (Carbery Rangers), Colin O’Riordan (JK Brackens), Stephen O’Brien (Ballina) (0-02), George Hannigan (Shannon Rovers), Barry Grogan (Aherlow) (0-02 145), Philip Austin (Borrisokane) (1-02), Conor Sweeney (Ballyporeen) (1-02 2f), Michael Quinlivan (Commercials) (0-01), Ian Fahy (Commercials) (0-01). Subs: Seán Flynn (Fr Sheehys) for Quinlinvan (22:31) (Inj) Brian Mulvihill (Moyle Rovers) for Flynn (50:03), Ger Mulhair (Arravale Rovers) for Grogan (60:36).
Joe Hayes (Lissycasey), Dean Ryan (Éire Óg), Kevin Hartnett (Meelick), Martin McMahon (Kilmurry/Ibrickane), Ciarán Russell (Éire Óg), Gordon Kelly (St Josephs Miltown), Jamie Malone (Corofin), Gary Brennan (Clondegad), Cathal O’Connor (Coolmeen), Seán Collins (Cratloe), Shane Hickey (Kilmurry/Ibrickane), Shane McGrath (Thomas Davis) (0-04), David Tubridy (Doonbeg) (0-04 3f), Pádraic Collins (Cratloe), Pat Burke (Kilmacud Crokes). Subs: Shane Brennan (Clondegad) (1-00) for S Collins (44:57), Seán Haugh (O’Currys) for Malone (49:11), Martin O’Leary (Kilmihill) for Burke (55:56), Chris Dunning (Wolfe Tones na Sionna) for Hickey (59:46).
Referee: Gary McCormack (Dublin).