CLARE................. 1-11 TIPPERARY.................1-10
by Michael O Connor
Defeated finalists in 2014 and against the same opposition on the bank holiday weekend Clare returned to Pairc na nGael Limerick with a new crop of players to build on good form in this competition and lay down a marker for the Munster minor championship of 2016. Success finally came to this age group for Clare by the narrowest of margins that was influenced with no small degree of skill, speed and organisation.
The opening score from Dermot Coughlan was a score of real quality as he took charge and burst through the centre. Mark Lillis was forced to pull off a save from Tipperary star Jack Delahunty after five minutes. Both sides traded chances with no score until Joe McGann kicked over from 20m in the 11th minute. This sparked an immediate response from Tipperary with towering midfielder Ben Hyland kicking over from 40metres to level matters on (0-2) apiece after 13 minutes. Clare attacked but had no real opening and on the counter Jack Delahunty finished off a three man Tipperary move for the lead score at the end of the opening quarter. Joe McGann raced clear in the 19th minute for the equaliser and seconds later Paudie Kelly kicked a 40m wide. In a clear indication that Clare were capable of outrunning their Tipperary markers Conor Lynch broke through but his goal effort hit the side netting after 21 minutes action in the Gaelic grounds. Cathal Guerin, one of the five St Breckans representatives gave Clare a deserved lead. Tipperary felt they had a goal scored after 24 minutes but the referee adjudged the Clare ball carrier to be pushed over the goalline. Colin English after two minutes of sustained Tipperary pressure including two shots off the posts scored another equaliser in this game that was free flowing with plenty of end to end fare. As the first half reached a conclusion the premier men were gradually gaining a strong hold on the Clare attack after a shaky opening quarter. That said, the last two scores of the first half went to Clare captain Dara Bohannon with a 40m effort of his left foot over the bar and Joe McGann to leave Clare (0-6) to (0-4) ahead entering half time. From a Clare management perspective whilst the effort was admirable they had expended a lot of energy but far from the winning line. Both sides introduced replacments in second half and a number had telling effects on proceedings.
Tipperary sub Dylan Walsh opening the second half scoring before Clondegad's Conor Lynch responded with a like score after 36 minutes. Jack Delahunty sent a scorable effort well wide off the mark. Tipperary goalkeeper Anthony McKelvey pulled off a fine save from Conor Lynch and straight from the clearance a high ball into the Clare square broke to Shane Ryan who goaled from the breaking ball and once again the sides were level, (0-8) to (1-5). The premier side courtesy of Jake Flannery went ahead at the end of the third quarter.
Clare's best period of scoring was about to emerge to set up a thrilling last five minutes. Dara Bohannan pointed from play before the impressive Joe McGann finished for a powerful Clare goal in the 48th minute. Paudie Kelly stretched the lead to four entering the final ten minutes. Tipperary dominated the final ten minutes plus three minutes of injury time bar one vital match winning score from Miltown's Diarmuid Meade. Jack Delahunty, Dylan Walsh, Conal Kennedy, and Delahunty were all on target but it was all in vain as Clare held out for a rare and much deserved title at underage football in Munster.
Best for Clare included Mark Lillis, Evan Barrett, Conor O Loughlin, Jack Hannon, the impressive Dara Bohannon, Dermot Coughlan, sharpshooter Joe McGann, Conor Lynch, Diarmuid Meade and Paudie Kelly.
CLARE: Mark Lillis (Cooraclare), Peter Collins (St Josephs), Evan Barrett (St Breckans),Eoin Keane (Shannon Gaels), Tom Hannon (St Josephs), Conor O Loughlin (Corofin), Jack Hannon ( St Josephs), Dara Bohannon (Shannon Gaels) (capt)(0-2), Paudie Kelly (St Breckans)(0-2), Dermot Coughlan (Kilmurry Ibrickane) (0-1), Ciaran O Donoghue (Cooraclare), Sean Rouine (Ennistymon), Joe McGann (St Breckans) (1-3), Cathal Guerin (St Breckans)(0-1), Conor Lynch (Clondegad)(0-1). Subs: Ross Phelan (Kilrush) for Donoghue, Niall Kelly (Cooraclare) for Tom Hannon, Danny Griffin (Eire-og) for Phelan, Diarmuid Meade (Miltown)(0-1) for Guerin, Joe Miniter (Kilrush Shamrocks) for Keane, Mark Crowe (Clondegad) for Jack Hannon.
TIPPERARY: Anthony McKelvey, Oscar O Dwyer, David Byron, Diarmuid Leahy, Daire Brennan, Radeic Natkanich, Tom Murphy, Eoin Ryan, Ben Hyland (0-1), Shane Ryan (1-0), Calvin Boland, Colin English (0-1), Andrew Vance, Jack Delahunty (0-4), John Lyons. Subs: Mark Kehoe for Vance, Dylan Walsh (0-2) for Murphy, Conor Cashman for Ryan, Jake Flannery (0-1) for Radeic Natkanich, Conal Kennedy(0-1) for Boland.
After the game Munster council vice chairman Gerry O Sullivan presented the Daryl Darcy memorial cup to Clare captain and a member of a proud West Clare GAA family Dara Bohannon.