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More late Munster drama, Tipp reach end of the 2018 road and Clare take major step forward

The Banner’s 2018 hopes live on after today.

Podge Collins celebrates after Clare's victory in Thurles.
Podge Collins celebrates after Clare's victory in Thurles.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

1. Another slice of late Munster drama

There’s been plenty excitement packed into the Munster hurling encounters in recent weeks and today did not deviate from that pattern. With 70 minutes elapsed, Tipperary were ahead 1-20 to 1-18 but injury-time saw six more points registered as Clare drew level, Tipperary went ahead by one, Clare regained parity again and then hit the front for the first time since the 2nd minute, when Peter Duggan pointed.

The Clooney-Quin man would lash over the insurance point and spark euphoric cheers amongst the Clare faithful after a superb comeback win. A game which Tipperary had bossed in the early stages culminated with serious excitement unfolding as Clare stole the spoils.

2. Fine margins summed up in 18 seconds of play

Rarely can a Munster hurling match have hinged on as brief a passage of play as this tie. With 64:13 on the clock, Tipperary’s Jake Morris saw his snapshot from close-range rebound off the post after he had fired past the advancing Donal Tuohy.

Seadna Morey launched a clearance which was gathered by John Conlon, who quickly offloaded to Podge Collins and after he raced forward before popping a pass to Ian Galvin, the Clonlara man finished with aplomb to the net with 64:31 on the clock.

Within 18 seconds, the complexion of the game had utterly shifted. A second Tipperary goal at that juncture would have put them clear by seven points and mapped out a route to success. Instead Clare capitalised on the one clearcut goal chance they fashioned all day and used it as a launchpad to claim victory.

3. Clare spring scoring subs to good effect

For a side that only managed a single point from play in the first 33 minutes of action – John Conlon’s effort in the 12th minute – Clare needed some sort of extra scoring inspiration. They were reliant on Peter Duggan’s supreme marksmanship from frees before he was supplemented by the inputs of Podge Collins and Ian Galvin.

With Conor McGrath off colour, Clare sprung Collins before the break and he finished with 0-3 to his own credit along with setting up a brace from play. His calmness in placing fellow replacement Ian Galvin in the 65th minute was also key with the Clonlara man showing a comparable level of cool in side-stepping Padraic Maher before crisply striking a low shot home. Clare’s subs were central to propelling them over the finish line.

4. Tipperary reach end of the 2018 road

After four weekends where they have been at the heart of the Munster hurling narrative, Tipperary bowed out from championship 2018 today. They do so without a win to their credit after suffering a second defeat in the wake of a pair of draws. Their form has been difficult to decipher, jumbled displays featuring tepid opening and stirring late shows.

Today was Tipperary’s most complete performance of the summer to date. They started explosively, hunting in packs, looking cohesive in key sectors and weaving together the attacking patterns that saw them 1-10 to 0-5 clear by the 26th minute. But they were slowly reeled in as the second half progressed and punished by the misfortune of teenage substitute Morris being denied by the upright. Clare finished the stronger and the 2016 All-Ireland champions must stew over an early summer exit.

5. A major step forward by this Clare group

Clare have not pushed on in the manner they would have liked or others envisaged since the 2013 season of glory. The portents did not look good when they slipped up at the opening hurdle against Cork and after responding by taking down Waterford, today felt like a moment of reckoning in their careers. A loss would have likely spelled the end of their summer aspirations and to fashion a victory after such a lethargic start was an impressive feat.

In hindsight they clawed back some of the initiative crucially before the break. Trailing by four points was a more manageable deficit and they clung grimly to Tipperary during the second half.

It felt throughout they required a goal to truly kickstart their recovery and they were ruthless in seizing the big chance that came their way. In a frantic finale, the scoring class of Peter Duggan and Podge Collins were crucial ingredients in nailing down a significant win.

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0-15 for Duggan as Clare fight back to claim dramatic Munster win and knock out Tipp

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Fintan O'Toole

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