Tipperary 1-22 Clare 1-17
By Fintan O'Toole
Thursday, July 29, 2010
THE winning momentum generated by their senior side's pulsating success last Sunday was maintained by the Tipperary U21 hurlers in Semple Stadium last night as they swept to victory over last year's All-Ireland champions Clare in the Bord Gáis Energy Munster U21HC final. The result did not create the ebullient post-match scenes that had greeted Clare's momentous triumph in last year's final but it represented an important step forward by Tipperary in front of a crowd of 11,450.
Clare rocketed out of the traps at the start of the game and only required 200 seconds to construct a formidable 1-3 to 0-0 advantage. That opening spell was characterised by some dazzling play by Clare and Tipperary were rocked by the ferocity of the early Banner challenge. John Conlon lofted over a classy point after only 30 seconds and that set the tone for a scoring burst, the centrepiece of which came from Conor McGrath in the 3rd minute as he availed of indecision on the part of Tipperary goalkeeper James Logue to bundle the ball to the net.
But they struggled to maintain the early standards of that play and in retrospect it was a cause for regret that they failed to increase that lead with a flurry of attacking activity in the 8th minute providing them with clear opportunities. Firstly Darach Honan smashed a fierce shot against the body of Tipperary goalkeeper James Logue and although Honan collected the rebound, he was wrestled to the ground by Tipperary full-back John Coghlan. The resultant penalty provided no joy for Clare either with Logue again proving equal to John Conlon's drive. The Ballingarry netminder atoned for his earlier error decisively during this time and all over the pitch Tipperary regained composure after an opening which had been fraught with nerves.
They never looked back thereafter. Pádraic Maher went on to exert an enormous influence on proceedings at the heart of the Tipperary backline but it was not a night when their marquee names were to the fore as previously peripheral figures occupied the limelight. Injuries have stalled Brian O'Meara's development since he was parachuted into the senior line-up back in Páirc Uí Chaoimh in May but the Kilruane McDonagh's man offered a timely reminder of his abilities here. He inflicted terror on the Clare defence and his final return of a single point masked a display where his aerial prowess was key to creating several scores. Outside him Paddy Murphy was outstanding at centre-forward, proving equally proficient at claiming possession in the air and rifling over five points. That scoring spree included four inside the closing seven minutes as he ensured Tipperary powered for the finishing line.
A six-point deficit after only three minutes would have spooked plenty teams but Tipperary remained calm and trusted the abilities they had to offer. It was critical in the overall context of the game that they had regained equality on the scoreboard by the 21st minute. Attackers Michael Heffernan, Sean Carey and John O'Dwyer buzzed with intent, as Tipperary's marksmanship was sublime. Their hopes soared in the 25th minute when, despite the suspicion of a throw ball by O'Meara in the build-up, Heffernan struck a fabulous shot in the air for a vital Tipperary goal. Despite suffering a myriad of blows, Clare stayed in the hunt as the magnificent freetaking of Conor McGrath enabled them to only trail 1-12 to 1-9 at the break.
Clare emerged in the second-half to produce another strong start to the action that yielded stylish points by Honan and Sean Collins. But as Clare moved to be only one adrift, Tipperary upped the ante. Noel McGrath, Hennessy, O'Dwyer and Carey all split the posts with points and their lead could have been swelled further when Hennessy lined up a 39th minute penalty, only for his blistering shot to be tipped over by Cathal Chaplin. Being in arrears by 1-16 to 1-11, the match threatened to move completely away from Clare. But their spirit and resilience never allowed that prospect to materialise. Liam Markham swept up plenty ball in defence while Honan and the excellent Eoin Hayes had their eye in when it came to converting chances. Clare got within three points of Tipperary on a couple of occasions but Murphy's storming finish saw Tipperary pull clear by five.
Scorers for Tipperary: M Heffernan 1-3, S Hennessy (two frees, one '65, one pen), P Murphy 0-5 each, J O'Dwyer, S Carey 0-3 each, N McGrath 0-2, B O'Meara 0-1.
Clare: C McGrath 1-8 (0-7f), E Hayes, D Honan 0-3 each, J Conlon, S Collins, F Kennedy 0-1 each.
TIPPERARY: J Logue; M Cahill, J Coghlan, K O'Gorman; J Barry, Padraig Maher, B Maher; S Hennessy, N McGrath; S Carey, Patrick Maher, P Murphy; J O'Dwyer, B O'Meara, M Heffernan. Sub: K Morris for O'Dwyer (60)
CLARE: D Tuohy; D Nash, C Chaplin, J Gunning; P O'Connor, C Morey, L Markham; N O'Connell, S Collins; P Vaughan, J Conlon, E Hayes; F Kennedy, D Honan, C McGrath.
Subs: D O'Halloran for Vaughan (half-time), S Golden for Collins (54)
Referee: Cathal McAllister (Cork).
Murphy's late flurry guides Tipp over the line
TIPPERARY 1-22 CLARE 1-17
Munster U-21 hurling final
By Jackie Cahill
Thursday July 29 2010
TIPPERARY recovered from a dreadful start to claim a 20th provincial U-21 crown at Semple Stadium last night. The Premier County dethroned 2009 provincial and All-Ireland champions Clare to land Munster silverware for the first time since defeating the same opposition in a stormy Cusack Park decider two years ago. There was none of the late drama that marred the 2008 final as Tipp finished with a flurry of scores from Paddy Murphy to set up an All-Ireland semi-final meeting with Antrim on August 21.
A crowd of 11,450 spectators was present in Thurles last night as Tipp, who started with five of the players who lined out in last Sunday's gripping All-Ireland senior quarter-final win against Galway, capped a most satisfying few days for the county. Clare put up a stern challenge but, ultimately, Tipp had too much firepower as they landed 1-18 of their match-winning total from play, with five of Tipp's starting forwards and both midfielders on target. Clare, boasting 10 players who featured in last year's All-Ireland U-21 final, arrived in confident mood and were looking to create history by claiming Munster minor and U-21 titles in the same season for the first time.
And they opened in style, leading by 1-3 to 0-0 within three minutes, before Tipp hit back to claim a 1-12 to 1-9 half-time advantage. Clare narrowed the gap back to a point in the early stages of the second half, but Tipp reasserted their authority and were never really troubled from there until the finish. Tipp could even afford the luxury of a second-half penalty miss as Seamus Hennessy's 38th-minute drive was flicked over the bar by Cathal Chaplin, who had hauled down the rampaging Brian O'Meara.Michael Heffernan was the star of the first half for Tipp with 1-3 from play, but towards the finish his Nenagh Eire Og clubmate Murphy was superb at centre-forward as he contributed four points in the last seven minutes of playing time.
Clare's start was blistering as skipper John Conlon pointed with just 25 seconds on the watch. Conor McGrath, who hit 1-5 in the first half, converted his first free of a flawless evening from placed balls soon after before McGrath supplied Clare's goal in the third minute. Patrick O'Connor was the inadvertent supplier as the wing-back's lengthy delivery was missed by Tipp goalkeeper James Logue and McGrath pounced for a simple close-range finish. Former minor All-Ireland medallist Logue performed heroics in the eighth minute to redeem himself -- denying Darach Honan from point-blank range -- before saving a penalty.
Honan was fouled by Tipp full-back John Coghlan in the scramble which followed the forward's initial effort but Logue saved the Premier County's bacon with a good save from Conlon's penalty. Tipp drew level by the 20th minute -- 0-9 to 1-6 -- as they found scores much easier to come by after finding a rhythm. Two minutes later, Tipp moved ahead for the first time in the game and after gaining the whip hand, they pressed on the gas and scored a wonder goal four minutes before half-time. Seamus Hennessy drilled the ball towards O'Meara on the edge of the Clare square and the menacing full-forward's dinked handpass set up Michael Heffernan for a superb first-time finish.
Scorers -- Tipperary: M Heffernan 1-3, P Murphy, S Hennessy (0-1 pen, 0-2f, 0-1 '65') 0-5 each, J O'Dwyer, S Carey 0-3 each, N McGrath 0-2, B O'Meara 0-1. Clare: C McGrath 1-8 (0-7f), E Hayes 0-4, D Honan 0-3, J Conlon, F Kennedy 0-1 each.
TIPPERARY -- J Logue; M Cahill, J Coghlan, K O'Gorman; J Barry, Padraic Maher, B Maher; S Hennessy, N McGrath; S Carey, Patrick Maher, P Murphy; M Heffernan, B O'Meara, J O'Dwyer. Subs: K Morris for O'Dwyer (60).
CLARE -- D Tuohy; D Nash, C Chaplin, J Gunning; P O'Connor, C Morey, L Markham; N O'Connell, S Collins; P Vaughan, J Conlon, E Hayes; F Kennedy, D Honan, C McGrath. Subs: D O'Halloran for Vaughan (h-t), S Golden for Collins (55).
Ref -- C McAllister (Cork)
Tipperary settle after early Clare blitz and finish strongly
UNDER-21 HURLING MUNSTER FINAL: TIPPERARY RECOVERED from a disastrous start to topple All-Ireland champions Clare in a thrilling provincial decider at Semple Stadium yesterday. The 11,450 fans were treated to a spectacular contest as Clare blitzed Tipperary in the opening four minutes, hitting 1-3 without reply. Conor McGrath got the goal in the second minute, punishing a slip by James Logue. But the Tipp goalkeeper redeemed himself minutes later with a brilliant stop off a Darach Honan effort and saved a John Conlon penalty as Clare threatened to run riot. Tipp settled and a string of points by Séamus Hennessy, Michael Heffernan and John O'Dwyer saw them level after 20 minutes. They nudged ahead through Hennessy a minute later, and got a great boost when Heffernan netted in the 25th minute after Brian O'Meara created the chance.
At the break Tipp were 1-12 to 1-9 ahead, and with the breeze to favour them in the second half looked poised for victory. In a cracking second half, Clare kept coming at Tipperary, but, the opening minutes apart, when Clare cut the lead to a point, Tipperary maintained a three- to four-point advantage. Four points from Paddy Murphy in the closing seven minutes set the seal on a great Tipperary win. Though he scored only one point, senior star O'Meara, back after injury, was an inspirational figure in the Tipp attack. Clare will be bitterly disappointed to lose their title after such a bright start.
TIPPERARY: J Logue; M Cahill, J Coghlan, K O'Gorman; J Barry, Padraic Maher, B Maher; S Hennessy (0-5, four frees), N McGrath (0-2); S Carey (0-3), Patrick Maher, P Murphy (0-5); J O'Dwyer (0-3), B O'Meara (0-1), M Heffernan (1-3). Sub: K Morris for O'Dwyer.
CLARE: D Touhy; D Nash, C Chaplin, J Gunning; P O'Connor, C Morey, L Markham; N O'Connell, S Collins; P Vaughan, J Conlon (0-1), E Hayes (0-4); F Kennedy (0-1), D Honan (0-3), C McGrath (1-8, seven frees). Subs: D O'Halloran for Vaughan; S Golden for Collins.
Referee: C McAllister (Cork)