Conor McGrath grabs hat-trick in Clare victory over Tipperary

All-Ireland champions win by seven points at Semple Stadium

Brendan Bugler of Clare and Tipperary’s John O’Dwyer battle it out during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1A game at  Semple Stadium in  Thurles. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Brendan Bugler of Clare and Tipperary’s John O’Dwyer battle it out during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1A game at Semple Stadium in Thurles. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Allianz Hurling League round-up: All-Ireland champions Clare went on a goal-scoring spree to claim a seven points win over Tipperary at Semple Stadium. Conor McGrath’s hat-trick provided the star turn in an impressive display that had manager Davy Fitzgerald believing his side “are not 100 miles off where we need to be”.

McGrath’s goal-grabbing instincts proved to be the crucial difference. Two of McGrath’s goals came in the first half-half with another from John Conlon giving the visitors a 3-7 to 0-8 interval advantage.

Tipperary improved in the second-half and had the gap down to three points when McGrath pounced on a breaking ball in the 52nd minute and hammered home his third – and Clare’s fourth – goal after the home defence failed to deal with a high ball in.

Clare bounced back in some style following their defeat to Dublin last week to emerge comfortable winners. In front of a crowd in excess of 8,000, Tipperary were unable to create any clear goal-scoring chances as Clare kept the scoreboard ticking over. “I don’t think we will be at full tilt until May or June,” remarked manager Fitzgerald after the win.

Waterford were forced to play the entire second-half without Michael ‘Brick’ Walsh but still had too much in the tank for Dublin at Walsh Park. The home side claimed a 1-13 to 1-10 victory that was actually more comfortable than the final score would indicate, as Dublin’s goal – from Conal Keaney – came in the 69th minute.

Pauric Mahony continued his fine form in the league with a 25th-minute goal set up by Seamus Prendergast that helped Waterford take a grip on the game. Walsh, however, got a straight red card for an incident with Dublin forward Alan McCrabbe. Dublin also finished the match with 14 men after Conor McCormack was sent off in the dying minutes.

Mark Kelly scored Kilkenny’s opening goal barely 90 seconds into their game with Galway at Nowlan Park as the Cats claimed a 2-16 to 1-16 win that moved them to the top of the table.

Richie Hogan claimed his side’s second goal just before the break, as the home side led 2-11 to 0-8 at half-time. Galway were much improved on the resumption and a Conor Cooney goal from a penalty inspired a late fightback that ultimately came up short.

Results
Division 1A

Tipperary 0-20 Clare 4-15
Kilkenny 2-16 Galway 1-16
Waterford 1-13 Dublin 1-10

Division 1B
Cork 1-24 Offaly 1-18
Limerick 1-14 Wexford 2-8
Laois 2-21 Antrim 0-21

Division 2A
Kerry 3-13 Westmeath 2-15
London 1-21 Kildare 0-18
Carlow 2-20 Derry 0-12

Division 2B
Wicklow 2-14 Armagh 0-15
Meath 5-22 Fingal 1-7

Division 3A
Monaghan 0-15 Louth 1-11
Fermanagh 2-8 Longford 0-13
Roscommon 3-11 Donegal 0-15

Division 3B
Warwickshire 0-12 Sligo 2-5
Tyrone 0-14 Leitrim 1-7