Captain Callanan stars as Tipperary gain revenge against Clare

Captain Callanan stars as Tipperary gain revenge against Clare
Seamus Callanan celebrates after scoring his second goal. Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile


New Tipperary captain Seamus Callanan scored 2-7 and won two penalties as Tipperary got off to the best possible start under new manager Liam Sheedy.

The 18-point reverse from the pre-season Munster League final loss to the same opponents a fortnight ago will have whetted the appetite for the year ahead for the majority of the 8,217 fans at Semple Stadium.

Backed by a strong wind and with Padraic Maher left free to play a roving role, Tipp dominated the first-half but it took a Tony Kelly red card followed soon after by Callanan's brace of goals to kill the game.

He even had the chance to make it a hat-trick with his second penalty of the game but Sheedy directed him to put it over the bar.

They may have suffered a blow with the loss of Jason Forde before the throw-in, but Tipperary tore into Clare from the start. They were led from the front by Callanan, who won a penalty after a catch above David McInerney in the third minute. Donal Tuohy saved his effort, but it was hit with such venom that the Clare goalie's hurl snapped in two in the act.

Callanan was unerring with frees, however, and added to two points from his vice-captain Noel McGrath, Tipp took a three-point lead regardless.

Jake Morris was also impressive in a two-man full-forward line with Callanan, creating and scoring a point, and when Alan Flynn hit a giant, wind-assisted point, Tipp led 0-6 to one Niall Deasy free.

John Conlon got Clare's first score from play in the 20th minute, but Tipp pushed on once more with Callanan (two frees) and Morris extending the gap to seven points.

However, Clare were handed a huge boost when Colin Guilfoyle won a penalty. He masterfully controlled the ball, teed it up and swiped it over one-handed without catching the ball, due to Cathal Barrett having a tight hold on his left arm. Referee Colm Lyons whistled it back for a penalty, from which Deasy wrong-footed Brian Hogan to convert.

Tipp, however, scored four of the final five points before the half, with Willie Connors' excellent response from a stolen puck-out followed by points from McGrath, Michael Breen and a fifth Callanan free, with Tony Kelly's point the only reply. 0-13 to 1-3 at the break.

Clare looked to their star-studded bench, introducing Colm Galvin, Peter Duggan and Podge Collins, who fired the first score of the second-half. Tony Kelly stole a few yards to swing over a sideline and, with the wind now on their side, the gap didn't look so wide.

But the task became a whole lot bigger when Tony Kelly was adjudged the have hit Padraic Maher high and was red carded by the referee. It was a poor call, apparently interpreted by Lyons to have been a head-high shot.

Tipp struck for home in the 50th minute when Morris supplied Robert Byrne in space who superbly set-up Callanan to blast past Tuohy.

Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Picture: Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

A second followed within two minutes, Morris again winning the ball to assist Callanan, whose sumptuous first-touch was the key to allow him fire in another goal - 2-14 to 1-6.

Duggan scored the next three points from placed balls before Callanan won his second penalty, which Sheedy instructed him to tap over.

Brian Hogan made two saves near the end, with a particularly spectacular stop from Collins followed by a debut point from Byrne to cap the victory.

Scorers for Tipperary: S Callanan 2-7 (6 frees, 0-1 pen); N McGrath (0-3, 1 s/l); J Morris (0-2); A Flynn, M Breen, W Connors, R Byrne (0-1 each).

Scorers for Clare: N Deasy (1-1, 1-0 pen, 1 free); P Duggan (0-4, 3 frees, 1 '65); T Kelly (1 s/l), M O'Malley (1 free, 1 '65) (0-2 each); J Conlon, P Collins (0-1 each).

TIPPERARY: Brian Hogan; C Barrett, Padraic Maher, D Maher; A Flynn, R Maher, B Heffernan; M Breen, R Byrne; D McCormack, N McGrath, Patrick Maher; W Connors, S Callanan, J Morris.

Subs: M Kehoe for McGrath (61), John O'Dwyer for Morris (64), N O'Meara for McCormack (70), K O'Dwyer for D Maher (70+1), C Darcy for Byrne (70+3).

CLARE: D Tuohy; J McCarthy, D McInerney, J Browne; A McCarthy, C Cleary, C Malone; S Golden, T Kelly; D Ryan, N Deasy, R Taylor; C Guilfoyle, J Conlon, M O’Neill.

Subs: C Galvin for J McCarthy (ht), P Duggan for Deasy (ht), P Collins for O'Neill (ht), M O'Malley for Taylor (52), I Galvin for Conlon (64).

Referee: C Lyons (Cork).

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