Arthur picks Tipp's pockets
UNDER-21 HURLING MUNSTER FINAL Clare 1-16 Tipperary 1-14:CLARE SENSATIONALLY grabbed a late goal to claim the Munster crown at Cusack Park, Ennis last evening.
Substitutes Cathal McInerney and Niall Arthur combined to grab an injury-time score to deny Tipperary and claim only their second title, the last being in 2009.
A plethora of first-half misses left the Clare men chasing the game throughout and Arthurs late goal put his side ahead for only the second time. At the end of a rather bizarre first-half Tipp led by a point, 0-6 to 0-5.
Clare hit a whopping 13 wides in that opening period and the first score, a pointed free by Tipperary’s John O’Dwyer, wasn’t recorded until the 12th minute.
Before that, Clare had already amassed seven wides while their opponents notched up three.
Clare’s danger man Conor McGrath was well marshalled by a tenacious Stephen Maher who kept him scoreless apart from two pointed frees before the break.
Denis Maher added a second Tipp point before the Banner opened their account with a McGrath free in the 16th. After 27 minutes Tipp led 0-5 to 0-3 but as the game headed into injury-time the sides were level thanks to points by McGrath and a fine effort from the left by Tony Kelly.
Tipp’s Liam McGrath added another before the whistle but full-forward line colleague Cian Hogan had earlier missed a golden chance in front of an attendance of 8,379. He caught a dropping ball on the edge of the Clare square but somehow blazed wide from close range.
There was little between the teams and by the 37th minute they were level at 0-9 apiece. Midway through the half, a Kelly point for the hosts had them level again and when Cathal O’Connell converted a free he put the Banner in front for the first time on 47 minutes.
But a dogged Tipp hit back and their scorer in chief and team captain John O’Dwyer fired to the Clare net after being set up by Jason Forde moments later.
Clare drew level once more thanks to scores from Kelly and McGrath before O’Dwyer and sub Éanna Murray opened a two-point lead for Tipp by the 56th minute.
As the game entered injury-time, Clare grabbed the crucial goal when Arthur fired low to the net. It proved enough to deny Tipperary a Munster grand slam of hurling titles this summer.
CLARE: R Taaffe; P Flanagan, D McInerney, K Ryan; S Morey (0-1); C Ryan, P O’Connor, C Galvin; S Golden, T Kelly (0-7, two frees, one 65); P Collins (0-2), A Cunningham, C O’Connell (0-3, one free); C McGrath (0-3, three frees), D O’Halloran. Subs: C McInerney for O’Halloran (41 mins); P Duggan for O’Connell (50 mins); N Arthur (1-0) for Cunningham (57 mins).
TIPPERARY: Paul Ryan; S Maher, A Ryan, Pa Ryan; W Ryan, B Stapleton, J Cahill; N O’Meara, D McCormack; L McGrath (0-1), S Curran, D Maher (0-1); J O’Dwyer (1-7, three frees), C Hogan (0-2), J Forde (0-1). Subs: E Murray (0-2) for McCormack (40 mins); A McCormack for Hogan (53 mins); P Greene for Curran (58 mins).
Referee: J Sexton(Cork).
Next Up . . .
Clare will now meet Antrim in the All-Ireland semi-final on Saturday, August 25th. Galway will take on Kilkenny on the same day. (venues, times TBA). The final is fixed for Saturday, September 15th.