Clare 1-16 Galway 0-7
Clare kept their hopes of back-to-back Bord Gais Energy All-Ireland U-21 Hurling titles alive, following a comfortable 12-point win in front of 6,238 spectators at Semple Stadium tonight.
Featuring four of the side that started in last Sunday's All-Ireland Senior semi-final win over Limerick, Clare impressed throughout.
Corner-forward Cathal O'Connell was one of the stars of this Banner victory, played in wet conditions in Thurles, with the Clonlara clubman bagging 1-6, including the only goal of this game in the 33rd minute.
The sides were tied at 0-1 apiece after just five minutes, with O'Connell and Cathal Mannion trading early scores.
Senior star Padraic Collins and Mannion swapped points to tie the game for the second time, but once Davy O'Halloran, bagged the first of two quick points in succession in the 16th minute it gave Clare a lead they wouldn't relinquish in this game.
Clare were simply all over the Galway defence at this stage, and amassed seven wides by the 20th minute.
Cooney cut the deficit to the minimum soon after, following his switch to full-forward, but Galway like Clare were wasteful in front of the posts.
The Tribesmen hit four wides in a five minute spell from as many attacking opportunities, as the Connacht side became wasteful in front of the posts.
Clare finished the half strongly, with a second points from O'Connell ensuring they held a 0-5 to 0-3 interval lead.
Galway were eager for scores early after the restart, but a 32nd minute goal chance from Jason Flynn was kicked wide, and from the resulting puck-out Clare seized the initiative.
O'Connell bagging the games only goal, after coming onto a breaking ball, with no one to beat but Galway keeper Shane Mannion, and the Clonlara man smashed the ball to the net.
Shane O'Donnell and Cooney swapped scores, but Clare hit seven of the next eight points with some classy efforts from O'Connell, Collins, Peter Duggan, Davy O'Halloran and Cathal Malon.
Leading by 1-13 to 0-5 with 10 minutes remaining, there was no doubt that Clare were on their way to the decider, despite the efforts of Cathal Mannion and substitute Shane Maoloney for Galway late on.
Scorers for Clare: C O'Connell (5f) 1-6; D O'Halloran 0-3; P Collins, C Malone 0-2 each; S Morey, P Duggan, S O'Donnell 0-1 each.
Scorers for Galway: C Cooney (1f), C Mannion 0-3 each; S Maloney 0-1.
CLARE: R Taffe; P Flanagan, D McInerney, J Browne; S Morey, A O'Neill, S O'Halloran; C Galvin, T Kelly; P Duggan, P Collins, S O'Donnell; C O'Connell, A Cunningham, D O'Halloran. Subs: C Malone for Cunningham (30+1); D Keane for O'Donnell (47); M O'Neill for Collins (51); J Shanahan for Galvin (54); E Boyce for Kelly (54).
GALWAY: S Mannion; P Killeen, J Hanbury, B Keane; P Huban, D Burke, M Keating; A Tuohy, P Claffey; T Flynn, C Cooney, J Glynn; P Brehony, C Mannion, J Flynn. Subs: C Keane for T Flynn (38); S Maloney for J Flynn (48); S Sweeney for Claffey (53); J Carr for Mannion (57).
REFEREE: Diarmuid Kirwan (Cork).