Thursday 14 December 2017

Banner top Tipp to retain Munster

CLARE retained their Munster U-21 title last night in Thurles, defeating rivals Tipperary on a 1-17 to 2-10 scoreline which, all told, probably flattered the home team.

Bolstered by an unusually large number of senior panelists, Clare shot into a six-point half-time lead, running with purpose at Tipperary in a style not unlike that of Davy Fitzgerald's All-Ireland semi-finalists.

And doubtless, the most significant score of the first half came from the stick of Peter Duggan, who connected quickest and heaviest with Alan Maloney's long-range free ahead of Tipp 'keeper Darragh Mooney to hit Clare's first goal on 18 minutes.

That score put the Banner into a 1-5 to 0-3 lead, with Cathal O'Connell, notching a half dozen points (four from frees) to contribute to a 1-9 to 0-6 gap at the break.

To highlight Tipp's inferiority, only Jason Forde managed to score for Ken Hogan's men and all six of his points came from frees.

In fact, it took until the 37th minute for the men from the Premier County to register from play, when Liam McGrath got in on the act but all throughout, Clare looked dominant, with David McInerney producing a superb performance at full-back.

There was, however, a chink of light for Tipp when Forde hit the Clare net after 45 minutes, a score which brought them back to within five (1-14 to 1-9), but the likes of Paudge Collins, Aaron Cunningham and Tony Kelly all cut easily through for second-half scores.

Indeed, Forde's last-minute penalty – the game's final score – suggested a closeness on the scoreboard which was never really reflected from play and Clare – the defending All-Ireland champions – now play Galway in another semi-final on August 24.

SCORERS – Clare: C O'Connell 0-8 (6f), P Duggan 1-0, P Collins, C Galvin, A Cunningham, T Kelly 0-2 each, S O'Donnell 0-1. Tipperary: J Forde 2-7 (1-0 pen, 0-7f), L McGrath 0-2 (1f), N O'Meara 0-1.

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