Kelly ups tempo to lift Clare

TONY KELLY played a captain’s part at soggy Semple Stadium last night as holders Clare advanced to a Munster MHC final meeting with Limerick or Waterford on July 10.

Ballyea dynamo Kelly, who went off injured with two minutes remaining, was sensational in the second half as the Banner County scored a fully-deserved victory against Tipperary in front of 3,939 spectators in Thurles.

During a blistering 10-minute spell, Kelly scored four points and supplied another for Aaron Cunningham as the visitors turned up the heat.

Tipp were simply blown away by the pace and power of Clare’s second-half performance, having trailed 1-8 to 0-8 at the break, and the Premier County endured a 19-minute spell without a score from the 36th to 54th minute.

During that time, Clare hit 1-5 without reply to gain a firm stranglehold on proceedings, with the 38th-minute goal a real thing of beauty from Kelly’s midfield sidekick Colm Galvin.

The Clonlara man strode forward unmarked from the centre of the park and took a pass from Shane O’Donnell before finishing brilliantly at the Town End.

Tipp’s top scorer Liam McGrath brought his side to within six points, 0-13 to 2-13, with a brace of frees but any faint hope of a revival was quickly extinguished two minutes from time.

Tipp goalkeeper Shane Hassett fumbled the greasy sliotar from Gearóid O’Connell’s lengthy delivery and substitute Alan Mulready tapped the ball home.

Mulready’s goal opened up a 3-13 to 0-13 lead for Clare before Tipp centre-back Jason Forde netted the home side’s only goal in stoppage time.

Scorers for Tipperary: L McGrath 0-9 (7f), J Forde 1-0, P Ralph 0-2, D McCormack, S Cahill 0-1 each.

Scorers for Clare: C O’Connell 0-4 (2f, 1 65), T Kelly 0-4 (2f), C Galvin 1-1, A Mulready 1-0, P Duggan 0-3 (1 sl), E Enright 1-0, A Cunningham 0-1.

TIPPERARY: S Hassett; J Bourke, J Meagher, J Peters; T Hamill, J Forde, C Barrett; E Fennelly, B Maher; P Ralph, D McCormack, J McGrath; S Cahill, L McGrath, C Horan.

Subs: B Heffernan for Horan (44), S Kennedy for Fennelly (54).

CLARE: E Quilligan; J Browne, N O’Connor, S Morey; J Colleran, J Shanahan, G O’Connell; C Galvin, T Kelly; E Enright, C O’Connell, P Duggan; S O’Donnell, O Hickey, A Cunningham.

Subs: A Mulready for Enright (48), M Moroney for Kelly (59), D Moloney for O’Connell (60).

Referee: J O’Connell (Cork).

Picture: SURROUNDED: Tipperary’s Bill Maher forces his way past Clare’s Colm Galvin and Gearoid O’Connell close in at Semple Stadium last night. Picture: Inpho/James Crombie

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