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Dublin: 5°C Saturday 10 April 2021

Tony Kelly stars as four-star Clare too strong for Premier in league decider

Returning boss Liam Sheedy saw his side beaten by the Banner.

Tipperay's Dan McCormack rounds Clare goalkeeper Donal Tuohy to score their first goal.
Tipperay's Dan McCormack rounds Clare goalkeeper Donal Tuohy to score their first goal.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Clare 4-19

Tipperary 1-18

CLARE EMULATED THEIR footballing county-mates to complete an early Munster double as a brace of goals in either half secured the  Co-op Superstores Munster Hurling League title in convincing fashion in front 4,531 in the Gaelic Grounds this afternoon.

Trailing by four points by the midway mark of the opening half, goals from Cathal McInerney and Tony Kelly ensured that the Banner would never again be behind for the remainder.

Tipperary did fire four of the last five points to regain parity by the break but once Colin Guilfoyle and the rampant Kelly fired further majors inside 10 minutes of the restart, it was effectively game over as Clare weathered the inevitable Tipperary storm to prevail by 10.

Kelly, who deservedly won the man-of-the-match award, proved too elusive for three different markers over the 70 minutes on his way to 2-3 while David McInerney, Jason McCarthy and newcomers Colin Guilfoyle and Diarmuid Ryan continued to impress in their side’s third victory in as many weeks.

A five-point first-half haul for Jason Forde aside, Tipperary appeared heavy-legged with only defenders Seamus Kennedy, Cathal Barrett and Alan Flynn displaying any great defiance despite being hit for four goals.

Tipperary had two early sightings on goal themselves but both were tame efforts by Michael Breen and Patrick Maher as Jason Forde and Colin Guilfoyle traded points in the third minute. With a sizeable breeze at their backs however, Tipperary began to pull away with four unanswered points through Seamus Callanan (two), Alan Flynn and Forde by the 16th minute, only to be rocked with a Clare goal in the next passage of play.

It stemmed from an Aidan McCarthy delivery from his own half that broke perfectly in behind Tipperary’s last line for Cathal McInerney to flash to the roof of the net from the edge of the square, quickly followed by a Diarmuid Ryan equaliser.

It was Clare’s second goal in the 21st minute that altered the narrative irrevocably though as Tony Kelly started and finished a rapid counter-attacking passing move involving Mikey O’Neill and Cathal McInerney to bat past the advancing Barry Hogan at 2-2 to 0-5.

So while Forde did inspire a Tipperary backlash just in time to pull level at 2-05 to 0-11 by half-time, it was only a temporary reprieve as Clare stormed into the new half to blitz their opponents by 2-9 to 0-3 in the third quarter.

Liam Sheedy Tipp boss Liam Sheedy. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

In the 38th minute, Colin Guilfoyle cut in from the right corner only to see his effort saved before scrambling home the rebound while the towering Newmarket-on-Fergus targetman also had a major hand in the fourth six minutes later when distracting Hogan for Tony Kelly’s 55 metre effort to land in the net at 4-14 to 0-14.

Tipperary duly emptied their bench in search of a lifeline with Dan McCormack rounding Donal Tuohy for a 60th minute goal that lessened the damage to just seven.

However, late points from Guilfoyle, Kelly, Ryan Taylor and substitute Mikey O’Malley would alleviate any grandstand finish as Clare secured the derby honours only a fortnight ahead of an opening National League rematch in Semple Stadium on the last Saturday of January.

Tony Kelly with fans after the game Tony Kelly with fans after the game. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Scorers for Clare: Tony Kelly 2-3 (1f); Colin Guilfoyle 1-3; Cathal McInerney 1-2; Diarmuid Ryan, Niall Deasy (2f) 0-3 each; Ryan Taylor, Shane Golden 0-2 each; Mikey O’Malley 0-1

Scorers for Tipperary: Seamus Callanan (6f, 1’65) 0-8; Jason Forde 0-5 (1s/l); Dan McCormack 1-0; Alan Flynn 0-2; Mark Kehoe 0-2; Noel McGrath 0-1


1. Donal Tuohy (Crusheen)

2. Jason McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona)
3. David McInerney (Tulla)
4. Rory Hayes (Wolfe Tones)

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5. Aidan McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona)
6. Conor Cleary (St Joseph’s Miltown)
7. Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge)

8. Shane Golden (Sixmilebridge)
9. Tony Kelly (Ballyea) (Captain)

10. Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe)
11. Niall Deasy (Ballyea)
12. Ryan Taylor (Clooney-Quin)

13. Colin Guilfoyle (Newmarket-on-Fergus)
14. Cathal McInerney (Cratloe)
15. Mikey O’Neill (Kilmaley)


25. Podge Collins (Cratloe) for O’Neill (53)
23. Davy Conroy (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield) for Ryan (54)
18. Mikey O’Malley (Kilmaley) for A. McCarthy (58)
17. Gary Cooney (O’Callaghan’s Mills) for C. McInerney (65)
20. Jack Browne (Ballyea) for Hayes (66)


1. Barry Hogan (Kiladangan) (Captain)

2. Cathal Barrett (Holycross-Ballycahill)
3. Padraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)
4. Donagh Maher (Burgess)

5. Alan Flynn (Kiladangan)
6. Séamus Kennedy (St Mary’s)
7. Joe O’Dwyer (Killenaule)

8. Willie Connors (Kiladangan)
9. Michael Breen (Ballina)

10. Jason Forde (Silvermines)
11. Patrick Maher (Lorrha-Dorrha)
12. Colin English (Fr. Sheehy’s)

13. Mark Kehoe (Kilsheelan-Kilcash)
14. Seamus Callanan (Drom-Inch)
15. Jake Morris (Nenagh Éire Óg)


21. Ronan Maher (Thurles Sarsfields) for Connors (HT)

24. Noel McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney) for Morris (44)
23. Dan McCormack (Borris-Ileigh) for Kehoe (48)
25. Killian O’Dwyer (Killenaule) for Barrett (56)
17. Robert Byrne (Portroe) for Kennedy (58, inj)

Referee: Thomas Walsh (Waterford)

About the author:

Eoin Brennan

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