Tipperary taken all the way by Cork to claim semi-final spot

Division 1A sides come through as Clare, Kilkenny and Galway also advance

Allianz Hurling League round-up: Tipperary, Clare, Kilkenny and Galway all upheld the Division 1A formbook to fend off the challenges of Division 1B opposition and secure their places in the semi-finals of the Allianz Hurling Leagues.

If there were comfortable enough wins for All-Ireland champions Clare, league holders Kilkenny and Galway, Tipperary – despite getting off to a flying start in their clash with Munster rivals Cork – were forced to show their character with late points from Noel McGrath and the magnificent John O’Dwyer getting them over the line on a 3-25 to 4-19 scoreline in a high-scoring, goal fest at Semple Stadium.

Indeed, a wall of Tipperary defenders had to save a 20 metre free from Cork goalkeeper Anthony Nash – who had earlier scored with one of his trademark strikes – in the dying seconds to ensure their advancement to a semi-final showdown with Clare in a fortnight's time.

Tipperary hit the ground running and went into a 2-4 to 0-0 lead inside the opening quarter with Denis Maher finding the back of the net inside 40 seconds and Niall O'Meara adding his team's second goal when he doubled on the sliothar and blasted it past the helpless Nash.

However, Cork responded with two goals from Seamus Harnedy to get back into the game and, at half-time, the Leesiders had edged into a 3-11 to 3-9 lead that had seemed scarcely believable in the early exchanges. Patrick Horgan, deadly from placed balls, provided the final act of a pulsating first-half with his sixth point.

Tipperary didn’t find the back of the net again, but their point-taking in the second-half was exemplary with Noel McGrath and O’Dywer having immense games. Nash – not for the first time – made the long march up from his own goalposts to claim Cork’s fourth goal of the game and extra-time loomed until McGrath’s late long-range free and O’Dwyer’s point gave them a lead that held firm.

Clare proved too strong for 14-man Laois in Portlaoise where the home side’s numerical inferiority after Tom Delaney’s first-half straight red card proved too tough a burden to carry. Shane O’Donnell, the hero of Clare’s All-Ireland success last September, again confirmed his big-match pedigree with a brace of goals in his side’s 2-23 to 2-19 win.

TJ Reid and Walter Walsh were the stars of the show for Kilkenny as they earned a 4-22 to 2-16 win over Wexford at Wexford Park, while Galway – for whom Conor Cooney was again the main man in attack – had a comfortable eight point winning margin over Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds.

Two second-half goals from Danny Sutcliffe were instrumental as Dublin ensured their survival in the top flight next season with a 4-13 to 1-17 win over Waterford at Walsh Park. Waterford played most of the game with 14 men after Shane O'Sullivan was sent off in the first-half.

Allianz Hurling League quarter-finals
Clare 2-23 Laois 2-19
Galway 1-20 Limerick 1-12
Kilkenny 4-22 Wexford 2-16
Tipperary 3-25 Cork 4-19
Semi-finals (Sunday April 20th)
Clare v Tipperary
Kilkenny v Galway

Division 1A relegation play-off
D ublin 4-13 Waterford 1-17

Division 1B relegation play-off
Antrim 1-18 Offaly 1-14