Tipperary claimed the crown for the first time since 2007 at Pairc Ui Chaoimh yesterday.

Though a six-point half-time lead was eaten into by a resurgent Clare in the second half, Tipp were always able to respond to Banner scores, with two points the narrowest the margin ever became.

Clare began brightly, an early Bobby Duggan free followed by a goal from their most impressive forward, Shane O’Donnell, in the third minute.

Tipp settled, however, with John McGrath and Bill Maher getting on top in midfield, and four points from McGrath helped them to forge into the lead, 0-6 to 1-2, after 16 minutes.

Corner-forward Stephen Cahill was another who was shining in attack for Tipp, scoring three fine points, and in the 29th minute he added a goal, firing home when Jack Shelly knocked down a Mark McCarthy delivery from the left.

That made it 1-10 to 1-2, but two late frees from Duggan left Clare in contention at half-time, and after the opening 10 minutes of the second half, they had cut the gap to three points, Niall Deasy and Duggan (frees) with two points each while Jamie Shanahan got one.

Deasy’s third in the 42nd minute made it 1-12 to 1-10 as Tipp grew nervy, and when they were awarded a penalty after Maher was fouled, McGrath blasted his shot over the bar.

Deasy and Shanahan continued to lead the Clare charge, and the former’s excellent point brought them to within two again in the 57th minute, but McGrath converted two late frees to ensure Tipp won.

Scorers — Tipperary: J McGrath 0-7 (2f, 1 pen), S Cahill 1-3, M McCarthy 0-3 (2f), S O’Brien, B Heffernan, T Gallagher 0-1 each. Clare: B Duggan 0-5 (3f), S O’Donnell 1-1, N Deasy 0-4, J Shanahan 0-2 (1f).

TIPPERARY — P Maher; J Peters, M Breen, R Maher; D Fitzelle, T Hamill, B Heffernan; J McGrath, B Maher; T Gallagher, J Shelly, S O’Brien; S Ryan, M McCarthy, S Cahill. Subs: T Fox for Heffernan (38), K Slattery for Ryan (43), Kirwan for Fitzelle (47).

CLARE — E Quilligan; S O’Brien, B Carey, G Ryan; A McGuane, C Cleary, E Quirke; D Conroy, A Morey; S O’Donnell, N Deasy, S Taylor; B Duggan, J Shanahan, C Deasy. Subs: A O’Gorman for Morey (23, inj), J Malone for C Deasy (36), S Ward for Conroy (48).

Ref — C Lyons (Cork).

Irish Independent

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