PETER Creedon’s Tipperary kept their promotion hopes alive by collecting a second Allianz Football League victory of the season in Thurles.
The Premier County claimed a comfortable six-point victory against Clare in what was a repeat of last year’s Division 4 decider. And on a weekend when pace-setters Armagh and Fermanagh are set to meet, these could be two valuable points for Tipp.
Clare, despite dominating the kickout stats, struggled on a day when the visitors registered ten wides to Tipp’s 12. And David Tubridy saw his stoppage penalty saved by Evan Comerford, before the Clare forward slammed the rebound over the crossbar on the volley from point-blank range.
Tipp were four points clear at half-time, 1-5 to 0-4, as Conor Sweeney accounted for 1-2 of the home side’s tally in the first half. But Clare, who played against the breeze from the start, were still just about in touch, despite going 24 minutes without a score.
Clare’s best player, Shane McGrath, popped over their opening point in the eighth minute, as the teams exchanged early scores, but they didn’t trouble the scoreboard operator again until Tubridy converted a free three minutes before half-time.
Tubridy added another free and McGrath struck again before the break to leave the Banner County in contention at the midway point.
Tipp, who lost Michael Quinlivan through injury, had netted through Sweeney in the eleventh minute, as the Ballyporeen forward fisted home a Liam Casey effort that dropped short.
And a run of 1-4 without reply had established Tipp’s biggest lead of the first half, 1-5 to 0-1, with 28 minutes on the watch.
Clare were eight points down, 0-5 to 1-10, when sub Shane Brennan netted in the 60th minute. But Tipp reasserted complete control when Philip Austin bagged their second goal two minutes from time, finishing off Brian Mulvihill’s excellent approach work.
Scorers for Tipperary: Philip Austin & Conor Sweeney (0-2f) 1-2 each, Stephen O’Brien & Barry Grogan (1 45) 0-2 each, Seamus Kennedy, Michael Quinlivan & Ian Fahey 0-1 each.
Scorers for Clare: David Tubridy (0-3f) & Shane McGrath 0-4 each, Shane Brennan 1-0.
1. Evan Comerford (Kilsheelan-Kilcash), 7. Robbie Kiely (Carbery Rangers, Cork), 3. Paddy Codd (Killenaule), 2. Alan Campbell (Moyle Rovers)
10. George Hannigan (Shannon Rovers), 6. Peter Acheson (Moyle Rovers), 5. Seamus Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials)
8. Colin O’Riordan (JK Brackens), 9. Stephen O’Brien (Ballina)
15. Ian Fahey (Clonmel Commercials), 12. Philip Austin (Borrisokane), 20. Liam Casey (Cahir)
13. Conor Sweeney (Ballyporeen), 14. Michael Quinlivan (Clonmel Commercials), 11. Barry Grogan (Aherlow)
18. Sean Flynn (Fr. Sheehy’s) for Quinlivan (inj, 22)
1. Joe Hayes (Lissycasey), 2. Dean Ryan (Éire Óg), 3. Kevin Hartnett (Meelick), 6. Gordon Kelly (Milltown)
5. Ciaran Russell (Éire Óg), 4. Martin McMahon (Kilmurry-Ibrickane), 7. Jamie Malone (Corofin)
8. Gary Brennan (Clondegad), 9. Cathal O’Connor (Coolmeen)
10. Sean Collins (Cratloe), 11. Shane Hickey (Kilmurry-Ibrickane), 12. Shane McGrath (Thomas Davis)
13. David Tubridy (Doonbeg), 14. Padraic Collins (Cratloe), 15. Pat Burke (Kilmacud Crokes)
19. Shane Brennan (Clondegad) for Sean Collins (46)
Referee: Gary McCormack (Dublin)