Clare 0-17 Tipperary 1-14 Allianz National Hurling League Division 1B

Clare 0-17 Tipperary 1-14 Allianz National Hurling League Division 1B

A spirited late fight-back by Clare reducing a four point deficit earned the ‘Bannermen’ a share of the spoils with table-toppers Tipperary in Division 1B of the National Hurling League at Ennis’ Cusack Park.

Smarting from a nine point defeat to neighbours Limerick last week, Mike McNamara’s charges upped their performance considerably and put it up to the visitors from the off.

Leading by three points to nil playing into a stiff breeze by the 11th minute Clare trailed by a single point (1-6 to 0-8) at the break.

Tipp’s goal came in the 24th minute, when after a goalmouth scramble full-forward Tommy Fitzgerald rattled Philip Brennan’s net from close range.

It put the Premier county in front for the first time in the contest and even though they held the advantage from then until the death, they were made fight all the way by a resolute Clare.

Tipperary’s use of the wind advantage in the opening period didn’t bear fruits as expected and a total of nine first-half wides, signalled relatively poor form up front.

Clare too spurned chances, none more so than in the 13th minute when big full-forward Fergal Lynch, with the goal at his mercy allowed himself to be blocked down by an alert and decisive Tipperary corner-back Conor O’Brien.

As the game progressed, Clare relied heavily on the ace marksmanship of free-taker Mark Flaherty and the Killanena club man converted ten of his sides scores on the day.

Following the re-start, Tipperary sharp-shooter Eoin Kelly increased his side’s lead with a point from play after only 50 seconds.

Declan O’Rourke replied almost immediately for the hosts commencing a passage of play that saw little between the teams with Tipp clutching to a slender advantage for the most part.

With six minutes remaining, a four point gap had emerged (1-14 to 0-13) and few in attendance at the time would have reckoned on anything but a Tipperary win.

But in an exciting finish, Clare managed to hit four points, three by Flaherty from placed balls, and an equaliser by Fergal Lynch a minute from time.

In injury time Clare keeper Brennan made a massive catch just under his cross-bar to prevent a winning Tipprary point by Shane McGrath and close to the whistle at the other end Niall Gilligan’s shot wide of the target, as honours were divided equally on the day.

Clare: M Flaherty (0-10) f’s, F Lynch (0-2), D O’Rourke (0-2), D Barrett, C Lynch, J Clancy (0-1) each.

Tipperary: E Kelly (0-6) 2 f’s, J Woodlock (0-3), T Fitzgerald (1-0), S McGrath, D Egan, W Ryan, J O’Brien, S Butler (0-1) each.

CLARE: P Brennan; T Keogh, F Lohan, G O’Grady; P Donlon, C Plunkett, T Holland; B O’Connell (Capt), C Lynch; J Clancy, D O’Rourke, D Barrett, N Gilligan, F Lynch, M Flaherty.
Subs: B Bugler from Plunkett (50), T Carmody for Barrett (58).

TIPPERARY: B Cummins, E Buckley, P Curran, C O’Brien E Corcoran, C O’Mahony, B Dunne, J Woodlock, S McGrath, P Kerwick, D Egan, J O’Brien, E Kelly, T Fitzgerald, W Ryan.
Subs: D Hickey for Kerwick (52), R O’Dwyer for Egan (56), S butler for Fitzgerald (57), L Corbett for Ryan (65)

Referee: M Wadding (Waterford) 


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