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Second half surge sees Tipp past the Banner.

Tipperary: 3-23, Clare: 2-22

Eanna O’Reilly

Tipperary booked their place in the Munster Final with a four-point win over Clare in the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick today. A controversial penalty awarded to Tipp was a major moment in the second half, after which Liam Sheedy’s side took over the contest. The incident saw Clare’s Aidan McCarthy sent to the sinbin after a foul on Jake Morris in the left corner.

Referee James Owens decided that McCarthy’s tackle illegally blocked a goal scoring chance for Tipp, therefore he awarded a penalty. Jason Forde blasted the penalty to the net to put the winners in the driving seat and they never looked back after this. Tipp went on to comfortably see out a game which had been very competitive for long spells.

The two sides went score for score in the first half, with Jason Forde, Michael Breen and Dan McCormack (0-2) pointing for Tipp, while Ryan Taylor, Aron Shanagher and Ian Galvin replied for Clare. The Banner then got a huge boost when Galvin took advantage of a slip by Pádraic Maher to stick a low shot into the net.

Galvin, Tony Kelly and David Reidy added points to put Clare ahead by 1-7 to 0-4. Brian Lohan’s side were highly dominant at this stage and Galvin was on fire at full forward. Jason Forde got two important points (free and lineball) to reduce the margin for Tipp. Clare’s full back line was doing well, but in the fifteenth minute they allowed Michael Breen to break inside and score a goal from a ground shot. Jake Morris added a point to put the sides level at 1-7 a piece at the water break.

Ryan Taylor put Clare in front with his second point, but Tipp hit back with points from Forde (free) and John O’Dwyer to go ahead. Kelly and Forde traded frees, before Aidan McCarthy levelled the game with a point for Clare. Forde then pointed a good score from the wing, while O’Dwyer scored his second to give Tipp a two-point lead.

It looked as though Liam Sheedy’s side would take their lead into the half time break, but Clare hit back before the interval. A deflected shot from Shanagher broke to Reidy, who flicked the ball on to Kelly, who blasted a brilliant shot to the top corner of the net. It was a huge boost for Clare and sent them in to the break a point ahead.

The Banner got the first point of the second half, with Kelly pointing a free. Shortly after, the controversial incident occurred which saw Morris fouled by McCarthy, with a penalty awarded to Tipp. McCarthy was sent to the sinbin, while Forde dispatched the penalty to the net to give Tipp a lead they would never surrender for the remainder of the game.

Séamus Callanan soon landed his first point, before Kelly replied with a pointed free for Clare. However, Tipp took over after Ronan Maher landed a long-range point to go two points ahead. Callanan took a shot from the right corner, which spun off his hurley and flew into the bottom corner of the net. The Tipp full forward was on fire and soon set up another point for John O’Dwyer.

Morris and O’Dwyer added further points, as Tipp led by 3-18 to 2-14 at the water break. Tipp’s scoring burst had rattled Clare, whose quality deteriorated in the second half. Numerous long balls were mis-placed, and possession was wasted by the Banner, while their shooting was also poor. Willie Connors pointed for Tipp after the resumption before Kelly got Clare’s first point for fourteen minutes.

Kelly and Morris traded scores at either end, as Tipp led by seven with ten minutes to go. Ian Galvin was substituted for Clare, reflecting how much the game had turned in the second half. Tipp continued to pull away with scores from Alan Flynn (0-2) and Forde, with John Conlon getting a point in reply. However, Clare’s scoring options were far too limited.

Tipp maintained their seven-point lead into the last five minutes, but credit to the Banner, they didn’t give up. Lohan’s side hit the last three points through Kelly, Malone and Rory Hayes to leave the margin at four points. Tipp had too much class for them however and defended well in the dying minutes to run out well deserved winners.

Liam Sheedy’s side progress to the Munster Final where they will meet Limerick in two weeks’ time. The match will be a repeat of the 2019 Munster Final, won comfortably by Limerick, while the Treaty also hammered Tipp in last year’s Munster championship. Thus, Sheedy’s side should have huge motivation going into their Munster Final clash in a fortnight.

Tipperary: B. Hogan, P. Maher, C. Barrett, B. Heffernan; B. Maher, S. Kennedy, R. Maher (0-1); D. McCormack (0-2), N. McGrath; M. Breen (1-1), J. Forde (1-8, 0-5 frees, 1-0 pen. 0-1 s/l), J. O’Dwyer (0-4); J. McGrath, S. Callanan (1-1), J. Morris (0-3). Subs: W. Connors (0-1) for J. McGrath (HT), A. Flynn (0-2) for N. McGrath (47), D. Quirke for O’Dwyer (66).

Clare: E. Quilligan, R. Hayes (0-1), C. Cleary, P. Flanagan; D. Ryan, J. Conlon (0-1), P. Fitzpatrick; C. Malone (0-2), C. Galvin (0-1); A. McCarthy (0-1), D. Reidy (0-1), R. Taylor (0-2); A. Shanagher (0-1), T. Kelly (1-9, 0-8 frees), I. Galvin (1-3). Subs: D. McInerney for Fitzpatrick (62), M. Rodgers for Taylor (58), D. Fitzgerald for I. Galvin (58).

Referee: James Owens (Wexford).

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