Callinan finishes off Clare in a flash as Tipperary start on front foot

Liam Sheedy’s second coming off to positive start against 14-man Clare

Tipperary 2-16 Clare 1-11

Two goals in as many minutes in the second half by new captain Séamus Callanan had the home fans cheering in Semple Stadium and got Tipperary off the mark in this year's Allianz National Hurling League.

Everyone wants to hit the ground running, but for Tipp the need was arguably more pressing: home advantage, under new management and having lost their last three competitive games against this opposition in last year’s league, championship and the recent Munster League final.

The spine of their team was strong on paper and it was some of their more experienced stars such as Callanan, Pádraic Maher and Noel McGrath who were most influential.


Tipp started brightly too, in front of 8,217 spectators, Callanan earning a penalty in the third minute only to see his shot to the corner well saved by Donal Tuohy, and then adding a point from a free shortly afterwards to open the scoring. Noel McGrath pitched in with two quickfire points in a relatively low-scoring first quarter, with a Niall Deasy free in the 13th minute Clare's opening score.

As with Tipp, Clare still have some frontline players to return from the treatment room but had been playing at a higher pace in recent weeks, judging by results, and Tipp boss Liam Sheedy had already warned of the effect wrought by the intense physical work his players have been undergoing since he returned to the director's chair.

Clare took some time to get into the rhythm of this game all the same, and their supporters hadn't much to cheer until the 28th minute when Deasy buried a penalty awarded after the dangerous Colin Guilfoyle was fouled in the process of neatly flicking the sliotar over the bar one-handed.

Tipp led by 0-13 to 1-3 at the interval, Pádraic Maher particularly impressive at the back, Breen doing well at centrefield and Callanan, McGrath and Jake Morris always sharp up front.

Clare duly made three changes for the second half and one of the new arrivals was Podge Collins who got on the scoresheet within seconds of the throw-in. Tony Kelly converted a sideline to further raise their spirits but his team's chances slumped shortly afterwards when he was given a straight red card for a high challenge on Ronan Maher.

The key scores arrived in the 49th and 51st minutes when, first, Morris and Robert Byrne combined beautifully to set Callanan up on the right for a goal and Morris then provided the killer pass for the captain's second green flag: both shots dispatched without mercy.

TIPPERARY: B Hogan; C Barrett, Pádraic Maher, D Maher; A Flynn (0-1), R Maher, B Heffernan; M Breen (0-1), R Byrne (0-1); D McCormack, N McGrath (0-3, one s/l), P Maher; W Connors (0-1), S Callanan (2-7, six frees), J Morris (0-2).

Subs: M Kehoe for N McGrath (60 mins), J O'Dwyer for J Morris (62), N O'Meara for D McCormack (67), K O'Dwyer for D Maher (69), C Darcy for R Byrne (73).

CLARE: D Tuohy; J McCarthy, D McInerney, J Browne, A McCarthy; C Cleary, C Malone; S Golden, T Kelly (0-2, one s/l), D Ryan; N Deasy (1-1, one pen, one free), R Taylor; C Guilfoyle, J Conlon (0-1), M O'Neill.

Subs: P Collins (0-1) for M O'Neill, C Galvin for J McCarthy, P Duggan (0-4, three frees. one 65) for N Deasy (all h/t), M O'Malley (0-2, one free, one 65) for R Taylor (52), I Galvin for J Conlon (62)

Referee: Colm Lyons (Cork).