Clare 1-23 Galway 2-14
Clare stormed through to a first All-Ireland SHC semi-final since 2006 with a comfortable victory over Galway at Semple Stadium this afternoon.
Davy Fitzgerald celebrates.
The Banner County ran out six-point winners in Thurles to set up a semi-final showdown with neighbours Limerick on August 18.
Clare produced another power-packed performance as free-taker Colin Ryan helped himself to 0-10 for the winners, including eight frees.
Galway, like they were in the Leinster final, were desperately flat and not even Joe Canning could bail them out here as the Portumna man endured a frustrating afternoon.
He was even taken off frees in the second half but Galway almost staged a late revival as goals from Jonathan Glynn and sub Niall Healy gave the Westerners hope.
Galway were just two points down, 2-13 to 1-18, with eight minutes remaining but Clare found the extra gear to kick for home.
Crucially, Clare were able to respond positively when Galway struck for potentially damaging goals.
And under manager Davy Fitzgerald, the beaten Munster semi-finalists have rejuvenated their season through the back door.
Successive victories over Laois, Wexford and Galway have brought Clare just 70 minutes away from an All-Ireland final but this was another desperately disappointing season for Galway, who were beaten finalists last year.
At half-time, Clare held a comfortable seven-point advantage, 1-12 to 0-8.
Galway, well beaten in the Leinster final by Dublin, were desperately flat once again and battle-hardened Clare took full advantage.
Galway did start well as they registered the opening two scores of the game through Portumna pair Canning and Hayes before Colin Ryan opened Clare’s account with a pointed free in the third minute.
Galway moved 0-4 to 0-2 in front but Clare reeled the Tribesmen back in and the sides were level at 0-5 apiece before Hayes edged the Westerners back in front once again.
But Clare levelled through the impressive Pádraic Collins and they would hold that advantage comfortably all the way to half-time.
And they were given huge oxygen with Conor McGrath’s 23rd minute goal, brilliantly slotted into the corner after he burned Kevin Hynes for pace.
Conor McGrath celebrates scoring his goal. Pic: Sportsfile.
Hynes had endured a torrid time against Paul Ryan in the Leinster final and when he found himself isolated against the deadly McGrath, Galway paid a heavy price.
Galway rarely threatened for the remainder of the half although Clare goalkeeper Patrick Kelly pulled off a good save to deny Niall Burke on the half hour mark.
Clare were five points clear at that stage, 1-10 to 0-8, and further points from Ryan (free) and wing-back Patrick O’Connor, after the Banner men had forced yet another turnover, ensured a handsome interval lead.
Dara O Briain enjoying the action at Semple Stadium today. Pic: Sportsfile.
Scorers for Clare: C Ryan 0-10 (8f), C McGrath 1-2, P Collins 0-4, B Bugler, P O’Connor, J Conlon, T Kelly, D Honan, N O’Connell & F Lynch 0-1 each.
Scorers for Galway: J Canning 0-7 (5f, 1 65), J Glynn & N Healy 1-0 each, D Hayes 0-3, A Harte, D Burke (f), J Cooney & C Donnellan 0-1 each.
CLARE: P Kelly; C Dillon, D O’Donovan, D McInerney; B Bugler, P Donnellan, P O’Connor; Colin Ryan, C Galvin; J Conlon, P Collins, Conor Ryan; C McGrath, D Honan, T Kelly.
Subs: F Lynch for Conlon (55), N O’Connell for T Kelly (64), S O’Donnell for Honan (64), C McInerney for McGrath (69), S Morey for Galvin (70+1).
GALWAY: C Callanan; K Hynes, F Moore, J Coen; S Kavanagh, D Collins, J Grealish; A Harte, A Smith; D Burke, C Cooney, J Glynn; D Hayes, J Canning, N Burke.
Subs: I Tannian for Smith, D Glennon for C Cooney, J Cooney for Coen (all half-time), C Donnellan for N Burke (48), N Healy for Harte (60).
Referee: B Gavin (Offaly).