John McGrath was in impeccable form as All-Ireland champions Tipperary continued their 100% Division 1A in front of a 7,254 Thurles attendance, writes John Fogarty.
McGrath helped himself to 10 points, five from play, while older brother Noel and Steven O’Brien added three and John O’Dwyer five in a well-earned victory over Clare who made it competitive until the closing stages.
With substitute Ian Galvin making his presence felt, Clare were within a goal with five minutes of normal time remaining but Tipperary turned the screw in the closing stages. O’Dwyer sent over two points in the space of a minute followed by John McGrath and Paul Flynn scores.
Tipperary were 0-5 to no score up by the seventh minute, former footballer O’Brien and John McGrath each helping themselves to a brace. McGrath’s first was a splendid example of stickwork, controlling the ball on the stick and splitting the posts from distance.
Against the wind, the score was all the better but Clare worked their way into the game and had narrowed the gap to two points by the 21st minute when John Conlon sent over his second of four first-half points.
Tipperary went 12 minutes without scoring between a third McGrath point from play and Niall O’Meara’s 34th minute score. In that time Clare went ahead, sending over six points without reply as Conlon continued to dominate down the left wing, which was confirmed by the replacement of Seamus Kennedy before the break. A John McGrath free in additional time cut the margin to one, 0-11 to 0-10.
Scorers for Tipperary: J. McGrath (0-10, 5 frees); J. O’Dwyer (0-5); N. McGrath, S. O’Brien (0-3 each); P. Flynn (0-2); B. Maher, N. O’Meara, R. Maher (free), D. McCormack, S. Curran (0-1 each).
Scorers for Clare: D. Reidy (0-6, frees); J. Conlon, P. Collins (0-4 each); I.Galvin (0-3); A. Cunningham, C. McInerney, S. Morey, J. McCarthy (0-1 each).
TIPPERARY: D. Mooney; D. Maher, J. O’Dwyer, T. Hamill; S. Kennedy, R. Maher, P. Maher (c); B. Maher, B. Heffernan; S. O’Brien, N. O’Meara, N. McGrath; J. O’Dwyer, J. McGrath, A. McCormack.
Subs for Tipperary: W. Ryan for S. Kennedy (31); M. Breen for B. Maher (inj, 34); D. McCormack for N. O’Meara (inj 40); P. Flynn for A. McCormack (56); S. Curran for B. Heffernan (67).
CLARE: P. Kelly; S. Morey, C. Dillon (c), O. O’Brien; B. Bugler, C. Cleary, J. Shanahan; D. Fitzgerald, D. Reidy; P. Collins, C. Malone, J. Conlon; A. Shanagher, A. Cunningham, C. McInerney.
Subs for Clare: S. McNamara for O. O’Brien (inj 52); I. Galvin for A. Cunningham (59); J. McCarthy for J. Shanahan (60); P. Duggan for A. Shanagher (67); P. Donnellan for D. Reidy (69).
Referee: B. Kelly (Westmeath).