Clare win Munster Hurling League Final
A strong second half display proved crucial as Clare beat Tipperary by 4-19 to 1-18 in the Munster Hurling League Final.
A brilliant 35 metre sideline cut from Jason Forde in front of the Mackey Stand opened the first half scoring before Colin Guilfoyle showed great strength to shrug off Padraic Maher and finish over his shoulder to level proceedings.
The Premier then hit four unanswered points with Seamus Callanan on target twice from placed balls while there were good scores from play through Forde and Alan Flynn to leave Liam Sheedy’s side 0-5 to 0-1 clear after the opening 15 minutes.
Cathal McInerney reacted quickest after a long ball from Aidan McCarthy was misjudged by the Tipperary defence and the Cratloe man made no mistake from close range to hammer home.
The impressive Diarmuid Ryan then finished a point that was all of his own making, before Tony Kelly began a sweeping move involving Michael O’Neill and McInerney. McInerney played a well-time handpass across the square for Kelly to bat home first time and send Clare into the lead for the first time in the contest on a 2-2 to 0-5 scoreline.
Tipperary didn’t panic and hit the next two scores through Forde and another Callanan free to leave just a point between the sides.
Michael O’Neill was his usual industrious self and flicked the ball clear from a ruck for Diarmuid Ryan to send over his second point, with Niall Deasy adding a pointed free moments later after a foul on Colin Guilfoyle.
The Premier response was immediate once more with Jason Forde, Alan Flynn and Mark Kehoe all landing quality scores to bring the sides level as the half-time whistle loomed.
The first half scoring was brought to a close with Ryan Taylor and Jason Forde swapping points to leave it Clare 2-5 Tipperary 0-11 as they headed for the dressing room with the elements to come in the Banner’s favour for the second period.
It didn’t take Clare long to get going after the restart as Shane Golden split the posts, before Colin Guilfoyle scrambled home his fourth goal in as many games after his initial effort was blocked. Niall Deasy and Seamus Callanan were on target from frees either side of a brilliant effort from Kelly out on the left sideline. He repeated the trick once more, before finding the net from distance as his shot went all the way to net with Tipperary goalkeeper Barry Hogan under pressure from Colin Guilfoyle. This was followed by another fine point from Diarmuid Ryan and left Clare 4-10 to 0-12 clear after 46 minutes.
Mark Kehoe got one back for Tipp but three in a row from Cathal McInerney, Colin Guilfoyle and Niall Deasy kept Clare in control. From here, the sides traded scores until Dan McCormack notched a consolation goal for Tipp. The icing on the Banner cake came in injury time when Kelly, Taylor and Michael O’Malley were all on target to leave the final scoreline Clare 4-19 Tipperary 1-18.