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Hat-trick for Conor McGrath as Clare spank Tipperary in Thurles

The All-Ireland champions could have won by more than seven points were it not for Tipp goalkeeper Darren Glesson.

Tipperary's John O'Dwyer and Brendan Bulger of Clare.
Tipperary's John O'Dwyer and Brendan Bulger of Clare.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Tipperary 0-20

Clare 4-15

CONOR MCGRATH BAGGED a hat-trick of goals in Thurles this afternoon as All-Ireland champions Clare spanked Tipperary in Division 1A of the Allianz Hurling League.

Seven points separated the sides at the final whistle but in truth, there was a gulf in class between the two sides at Semple Stadium. McGrath was in red-hot form at full-forward as the Cratloe hitman helped himself to a treble, including two before half-time. McGrath’s first half brace and a John Conlon goal helped Clare to lead by eight points at the break, 3-7 to 0-8.

Tipp made three changes before throw-in down the spine of their team, with full-back Conor O’Mahony, centre back Pádraic Maher and Seamus Callanan replaced by Thomas Stapleton, Tomás Hamill and John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer.

Tipp struggled desperately at the back to cope with Clare’s movement and with McGrath isolated one-on-one with Paddy Stapleton, the visitors made hay in front of 8,133 spectators. McGrath’s two goals had Clare in a commanding position before half-time before Tipp were punished for conceding possession yet again as McGrath pounced for a clinical goal.

Tipp cut the gap to three points early in the second half but Clare, despite lining out without hurler of the year Tony Kelly from the start, responded in powerful fashion. Davy Fitzgerald’s men overpowered Tipp in the physical stakes and when McGrath completed his treble in the 52nd minute, the writing was on the wall.

Clare could have had another couple of goals but Tipp netminder Darren Gleeson kept out Peter Duggan and Shane O’Donnell within a minute. Tipp rarely threatened the Clare goal but when they did, Donal Tuohy was on hand to keep out John O’Dwyer and James Woodlock in the second half.

Paddy Murphy, Jason Forde and James Woodlock with Seadna Morey Tipperary's Paddy Murphy, Jason Forde and James Woodlock with Seadna Morey of Clare. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Scorers for Clare: Conor McGrath 3-1, John Conlon 1-3, Colin Ryan 0-4 (2f, 1 65), Peter Duggan 0-2, Seadna Morey, Patrick Donnellan, Colm Galvin, Tony Kelly & Darach Honan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Tipperary: John O’Dwyer 0-7 (3f, 1 65), James Woodlock, Jason Forde (1f), Shane Bourke and Conor Kenny 0-2 each, Shane McGrath, Kieran Bergin, Noel McGrath, Paddy Murphy and Mikey Heffernan 0-1 each.

CLARE: Donal Tuohy (Crusheen); Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge), Cian Dillon (Crusheen), David McInerney (Tulla); Brendan Bugler (Whitegate), Conor Ryan (Cratloe), Patrick O’Connor (Tubber); Patrick Donnellan (O’Callaghans Mills), Colm Galvin (Clonlara); John Conlon (Clonlara), Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin), Colin Ryan (Newmarket-on-Fergus); Darach Honan (Clonlara), Conor McGrath (Cratloe), Cathal O’Connell (Clonara).

Subs: Pádraic Collins (Cratloe) for Honan (inj, 26), Tony Kelly (Ballyea) for Galvin (50), Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg) for O’Connell (51), Cathal McInerney (Cratloe) for Duggan (65), Paul Flanagan (Ballyea) for Morey (70+1).

TIPPERARY: Darren Gleeson (Portroe); Paddy Stapleton (Borrisoleigh), Thomas Stapleton (Templederry Kenyons), Cathal Barrett (Holycross-Ballycahill); Shane McGrath (Ballinahinch), Tomás Hamill (Killea), Michael Cahill (Thurles Sarsfields); Brendan Maher (Borrisoleigh), James Woodlock (Drom & Inch); Kieran Bergin (Killenaule), Noel McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney), Paddy Murphy (Nenagh Éire Óg); Jason Forde (Silvermines), John O’Dwyer (Killenaule), Shane Bourke (JK Brackens).

Subs: Conor O’Mahony (Newport) for Hamill (35), Denis Maher (Thurles Sarsfields) for Murphy (40), Conor Kenny (Borrisoleigh) for Bourke (58), Michael Heffernan (Nenagh Éire Óg) for Bergin (61), Ronan Maher (Thurles Sarsfields) for Forde (64).

Referee: James Owens (Wexford).

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