Clare 4-15 Tipperary 0-20
Clare forward Conor McGrath scored three goals in Thurles this afternoon as the All-Ireland champions defeated Tipperary by seven points in Division 1A of the Allianz Hurling League.
Tipp slumped to a second successive defeat as Clare collected their second victory of the campaign.
And McGrath was the difference between the two sides as the Cratloe hitman grabbed a first half brace of goals before completing his hat-trick in the second half.
Tipp struggled desperately at the back to cope with Clare’s movement and with McGrath isolated one-on-one with Paddy Stapleton, the visitors made hay in front of 8,133 spectators.
Clare took advantage of a porous Tipp defence to collect a victory that was far more comfortable than the final scoreline might suggest.
Two McGrath goals had Clare in a commanding position before John Conlon added a third approaching half-time.
All but one point of Clare’s first half total came from play while Tipp, in contrast, struggled for scores as the visitors led by 3-7 to 0-8 at the midway point.
Tipp did open the second half with some intent and had reduced the deficit to just three points before Clare rallied to pull clear once again.
McGrath’s third goal, with 18 minutes remaining, killed off any hope of a Tipp revival and Clare were nine points clear, 4-12 to 0-15, with nine minutes of normal time remaining.
In front of 8,133 spectators, Tipp did come with a late flurry of scores but Clare were content to keep the scoreboard ticking over throughout the second half.
Tipp struggled to create goalscoring opportunities but when they did in the second half, Donal Tuohy did well to deny John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer and James Woodlock.
Clare could have had at least another goal but Tipp netminder Darren Gleeson did well to keep out Peter Duggan and Shane O’Donnell, hat-trick hero in last year’s All-Ireland final replay.
Scorers for Clare: C McGrath 3-1, J Conlon 1-3, C Ryan 0-4 (2f, 1 65), P Duggan 0-2, S Morey, P Donnellan, C Galvin, T Kelly & D Honan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Tipperary: J O’Dwyer 0-7 (3f, 1 65), J Woodlock, J Forde (1f), S Bourke & C Kenny 0-2 each, S McGrath, K Bergin, N McGrath, P Murphy & M Heffernan 0-1 each.
CLARE: D Tuohy; S Morey, C Dillon, D McInerney; B Bugler, C Ryan, P O’Connor; P Donnellan, C Galvin; J Conlon, P Duggan, C Ryan; D Honan, C McGrath, C O’Connell. Subs: P Collins for Honan (inj, 26), T Kelly for Galvin (50), S O’Donnell for O’Connell (51), C McInerney for Duggan (65), P Flanagan for Morey (70+1).
TIPPERARY: D Gleeson; P Stapleton, T Stapleton, C Barrett; S McGrath, T Hamill, M Cahill; B Maher, J Woodlock; K Bergin, N McGrath, P Murphy; J Forde, J O’Dwyer, S Bourke. Subs: C O’Mahony for Hamill (35), D Maher for Murphy (40), C Kenny for Bourke (58), M Heffernan for Bergin (61), R Maher for Forde (64).
Referee: J Owens (Wexford)