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All Ireland Hurling Quarter Final

posted 24 Jul 2017, 15:44 by John O'Sullivan   [ updated 24 Jul 2017, 15:44 ]

TIPPERARY............... 0-28        CLARE.................3-16
By Michael O Connor.
So, it ends once again in July for all Clare hurling sides. Little was really expected it honesty was used by Clare supporters in this quarter final tie. Yet, the final analysis of the Munster final and All Ireland quarter final tie shows that the eight points cumulative defeat experienced by Clare were injury time scores. How long will Clare regret the wonderful chance handed to them to win a place against Galway in the All Ireland semi final as they bemoan 18 wides, inaccurate puck outs and an apparent unwillingness to release the shackles and use the entire panel not necessarily players of a particular vintage.
The modern upbeat music gave spectators a concert feel to proceedings. Once more the Clare attendance was succumbed by a far greater Tipperary following, yet to many the Clare support was more than many expected to make the so called long journey to  Cork.
 Tony Kelly was quickest on target with the first effort successful with less than a minute action that saw Seamus Callinan see his effort go off  the post. John McGrath hit a great effort to send the 2016 champions ahead. A huge score from Shane O Donnell levelled matters as Clare were appearing to play wiht two inside and O Donnell roaming within the Tipperary half. Conlon and McGrath were off target before Seamus Callinan sorched the Clare crossbar. Clare hit two more wides as David Fitzgerald started well. Poor marking from a sideline allowed Noel McGrath his second score. Conor McGrath had the ball in the Tipperary net but adjuged to have fouled the ball. John O Dwyer had Tipperary's fifth score after nine minutes as clearances from Clare were finding outnumbered Clare forwards. Seadna Morey picked the ball off the ground giving Callanan another successful free to go with one a minute earlier and now Tipperary were moving ominously clear of Clare. Padraic Maher fed John McGrath and his effort skimmed the Clare crossbar with 15 minutes played. Tony Kelly pulled back one from a free after Podge Collins was upended. McGrath sent one of the easiest efforts he could get in a game wide for his sides 5th before Seamus Callinan popped up for a smart effort 60m out.
Aaron Cunningham became a hero with two goals in a minute from close range as the Clare backs were in control and sublime passes from McGrath and O Donnell set up the Shannon man for his brace to level the game after 21 minutes. Clare hit their 7th wides as opposed to one for Tipperary. Cathal Malone was finding it difficult to get up the field after dropping back and especially with so much ball aimed at O Donnell it was hurting the Clare attack. Michael Breen responded with the lead point for the Premier men with nine minutes left in the opening half. Padraic Bonnar Maher increased his sides lead to two as Tipperary appeared to have withstood the best Clare could have thrown at them. Scores from Seamus Callanan, Jamie Shanahan, Conor McGrath, Seamus Callanan after a short puck out went horribly wrong. Seamus Kennedy, John McGrath and Bubbles Dwyer after more lax puckouts went astray allowed Clare to go in (0-16) to (2-5) down at the break.
Noel McGrath and Cian Dillon entered the ref's notepad in the opening  minute of the new half as Shane O Donnell took on and finished a smart effort in the 37th minute. Bubbles Dwyer picked up a loose ball, evaded Jamie Shanahan and popped over the bar. Clare had a clear scoring chance but fluffed it only for Seamus Callanan with  his seventh score that very easily could have been the match winning goal. Peter Duggan worked hard for a free that was turned into a score as Clare now needed another goal and the remainder of the game to be low scoring. Conor McGrath won what appeared to be a soft free that Kelly converted in the 46th minute. John McGrath had Tipperary's 19th score before once more a Kelly free kept Clare in touch. The  fare on offer was stop start with little real fluency offered or allowed due to frees or wides. The McGrath brothers turned the screw on Clare with two scores in a minute as their simple style was too much for the downtrodden Clare rearguard. David Reidy who was just introduced for Podge Collins sent over a close range free but Tipperary were now (0-23) to (2-10) ahead and in cruise control to the semi final barring a seismic collapse.
Tony Kelly, Peter Duggan, Colm Galvin, David Reidy now on freetaking duties and Cathal McInerney amazingly brought Clare into the game with five unaswered scores before Aaron Cunningham worked hard on a high ball hit the side netting. A wonder score from Conor McGrath in the 65th minute had Tipperary on the ropes but still a point clear. Bubbles Dywer sent over a free won by Callanan to leave Clare requiring two points. More drama was to come for the 28,500 spectators as even though Tipperary went six clear entering injury time Clare rallied with Cathal McInerney grabbing a scrambled goal in the 74th minute.
The crestfallen Clare players now have two years left in this squad to come up with a meaningful All Ireland run. A Munster championship whilst important matters little in August and for Clare in 2018 they must dilute the importance of Under 21 players that won the honours in the middle of this decade and pick players from all ages. Size and speed is also vital and Clare need to get two men who can move and strike over the bar from 50 metres and teach the inside forward line that points win games. Predictable hurling is evident from the full forward line at the moment as they turn for goal on most occasions losing the chance to get a point, jog out and get another point two  minutes later. Tipperary's full forward line scored 17 points from play and frees.   There is needed also for Clare to succeed a player who was heavily involved in the Clare successes of the 1990s and 200s to be added to what appears a capable management already in place. In conclusion, a lot done, a lot more to do.
TIPPERARY: Daragh Mooney; Donagh Maher, Tomás Hamill, James Barry; Séamus Kennedy, Ronan Maher, Pádraic Maher; Brendan Maher (0-1), Michael Breen (0-1); Noel McGrath (0-4), Patrick Maher (0-2), Dan McCormack; John O’Dwyer (0-4), Séamus Callanan (0-7), John McGrath (0-6). Subs: 
Subs: Sean O’Brien for James Barry, Jason Forde (0-1) for Michael Breen, Niall O’Meara for John O’Dwyer, Steven O’Brien (0-1) for Callanan.
CLARE: Andrew Fahy; Seadna Morey, Patrick O’Connor, Cian Dillon; David Fitzgerald, Conor Cleary, Jamie Shanahan (0-1); Colm Galvin (0-1), Tony Kelly (0-6); Cathal Malone, Pádraic Collins, John Conlon; Shane O’Donnell (0-2), Aaron Cunningham (2-0), Conor McGrath (0-2). 
Subs: Peter Duggan (0-1) for John Conlon, David Reidy (0-2) for Podge Collins, Cathal McInerney (1-1) for Cathal Malone,  Jason McCarthy for Kelly. 
Referee: Colm Lyons (Cork)