Tipperary 2-11 Clare 1-11
A late rally was not enough to save a fancied Clare from defeat by Tipperary in the Munster senior football quarter-final at Semple Stadium on Sunday.
Tipperary secured their Division Three league status with two wins in recent weeks and built on that form to outplay their Division Two opponents and set up a semi-final clash with Limerick next Saturday.
Goals at the start of each half were crucial to the Tipp win. Captain Conor Sweeney got them off to the ideal start when he punished a defensive lapse with a well-taken goal after five minutes as his side went on to lead 1-3 to 0-1 at the first water break.
A struggling Clare did better on resuming with three points from Conor Cleary (two) and Jamie Malone but Tipp again got control and led at the interval 1-6 to 0-5, following long-range points from Jack Kennedy frees and another boomer from Liam Casey.
Inside 30 seconds of resuming Tipp had their spot in the semi-final secured as Bill Maher was fed by Conor Sweeney for a second goal for the home side.
Tipp lost Colman Kennedy to a black card after 46 minutes but still led 2-7 to 0-6 at the second water break.
Clare left it late to rally. A David Tubridy penalty was saved by Tipp goalie Evan Comerford, a costly miss as Gavin Cooney had a shot turned into the Tipp net in injury time to leave them three points adrift at full-time.
Conor Sweeney, Jimmy Feehan, Bill Maher, Jack Kennedy and Kevin Fahey all had big games for Tipperary while for a disappointing Clare side Sub padraic Collins, Cathal O'Connor, Gary Brennan, and Cian O'Dea worked hardest.
Tipperary: E Comerford; A Campbell, J Feehan, C O'Shaughnessy; B Maher (1-0), K Fahey, R Kiely; S O'Brien, L Casey (0-2); J Kennedy (0-3, 0-3f), M Quinlivan, Conal Kennedy; J Lonergan, C Sweeney (1-4, 0-2f), Colman Kennedy.
Subs: B Fox for Lonergan (33 mins), L Boland (0-1) for O'Brien (47 mins), E Moloney (0-1) for Conal Kennedy (59 mins), P Looram for Maher (71 mins), K O Halloran for Casey (72 mins).
Clare: S Ryan; G Kelly, C Brennan, E Collins; P Lillis, K Hartnett, A Sweeney; G Brennan, C O'Connor (0-1); C Russell, E Cleary (0-5, 0-5f), J Malone (0-1); K Sexton (0-2, 0-1f), J McGann, C O'Dea.
Subs: D Tubridy for McCann (21 mins), P Collins (0-2) for Russell (39 mins), E McMahon for Sweeney (39 mins), S Collins for Kelly (50 mins), G Cooney (1-0) for Sexton (66 mins).
Referee: C Lane (Cork).