Clare click into gear as Tipperary flounder

Clare 1-21 Tipperary 1-13
Respective managers Davy Fitzgerald and Eamon O’Shea were quick to play down the significance of Clare’s comfortable victory over holders Tipperary in Saturday’s Waterford Crystal Cup final at Semple Stadium.

From midway through the first half, a livelier Clare side were always in control as they eased to their second title against a Tipperary side that performed poorly after a bright start.

"We were the better team tonight but I’m not fooled," said Clare boss Davy Fitzgerald. "We meet Tipp in the league and we know what the story will be then. I’m not reading anything into this whatsoever. You know there is a lot more in Tippeary and I would have a lot more respect for them than that. I know they will be different when we meet later on in the year and maybe they just needed just a small little bit of a kick in the pants."

He added: "Our movement and our tackling was good. We have been working on that for the last year and half there now. It means that there are another ten guys that will have to fight to get back into it."

Tipperary boss Eamon O’Shea admitted his side were well beaten but hinted his focus is on greater challenges that lie ahead, beginning with Cork in the first round of the Allianz League.

"It is disappointing when you are beaten. We never seemed to get into the game. They had the initiative from the start and I think it was more than a fair result.

"This is a training game before the first round of the league but having said that they are probably more advanced than we are in terms of fitness levels. We are training once a week and people should know that and we train the weekends. It’s a long season and I think that’s what these games are for. I was delighted to get to the final but you are always disappointed when you lose," he admitted.

The early exchanges were free-flowing with the sides level on four occasions in the first ten minutes with Seadna Morey to the fore for Clare with two points from play while Shane Bourke, Brian O’Meara and Eoin Kelly were on the mark for a lively Tipperary attack. The hosts struck for goal in the 13th minute with a flowing team move, with Eoin Kelly, O’Meara and Bourke combining to set up Patrick Maher for a close range finish.

The home side kept their noses in front through scores from Kelly and Bourke but Clare were slowly getting on top, with Domhnall O’Donovan and Patrick Donnellan taking over in defence, while their forwards picked off good scores from the excellent Tony Kelly, Alan O’Neill, Enda Barrett and Fergal Lynch to help the visitors to a 0-14 to 1-8 half time lead.

A much sharper Clare team extended their dominance in the second half, with man of the match Tony Kelly bringing his tally to five points. Top scorer Colin Ryan was on target from placed balls, finishing with nine points, while Shane O’Donnell’s goal in the 52nd minute virtually ended the game as a contest.

Tipperary struggled to raise a gallop in the second half, scoring just five points, three from frees, and also had corner-back Conor O’Brien sent off in the 58th minute for second bookable offence.

Scorers for Clare: C Ryan 0-9 (7f, 1 65); T Kelly 0-5; S O’Donnell 1-1; S Morey, F Lynch 0-2 each; E Barrett, A O’Neill 0-1 each.

Scorers for Tipperary: E Kelly 0-6 (5f); P Maher 1-0; S Bourke, S Callanan (1f) 0-2 each; B O’Meara, J O’Brien, N McGrath 0-1 (f) each.

CLARE: P Kelly; D O’Donovan, J McInerney, D McInerney; B Bugler, P Donnellan, P O’Connor; F Lynch, S Morey; C Ryan, T Kelly, E Barrett; P Collins, A O’Neill, S O’Donnell.

Subs: P Duggan for Lynch (53); J Clancy for Collins (62); D O’Halloran for O’Donnell (64); L Markham for Barrett (66); D Honan for O’Neill (70+1).

TIPPERARY: B Cummins; D Maher, P Curran, C O’Brien; J McLoughney, T Stapleton, S Hennessy; S McGrath, N McGrath; J Forde, E Kelly, P Maher; B O’Meara, S Bourke, S Callanan.

Subs: J O’Brien for O’Meara (ht); J Ryan for McLoughney (52); T Hammersley for Kelly (57); J Woodlock for Stapleton (62); J O’Neill for Curran (66 inj).

Referee: G O’Connell (Cork).