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Sweeney and Maher goals key as Tipperary claim Munster senior win over Clare

The semi-final wll take place next Saturday.

Conor Sweeney celebrates with Bill Maher after he scores a goal.
Conor Sweeney celebrates with Bill Maher after he scores a goal.
Image: Bryan Keane/INPHO

Tipperary 2-11
Clare 1-11

LAST YEAR’S MUNSTER championship adventure ended early for the Tipperary footballers when they were taken apart by Limerick at the first hurdle.

They have had to stew on that slip up for almost 18 months before their next provincial outing but today was a marked improvement as they held off Clare on their home patch in Thurles.

The goals bagged early in either half by captain Conor Sweeney and Bill Maher were central to the progression by Tipperary. David Power’s team have the reward of renewing acquaintances with Limerick in a semi-final next Saturday in the Gaelic Grounds. With traditional heavyweights Kerry and Cork on the other side of the Munster draw, there is little need to remind them of the big opportunity that awaits.

The match ended in a nervier fashion that Tipperary would have liked. They looked comfortable for long stretches of this contest, eight points ahead approaching full-time. But Clare kept charging forward in their best phase. Podge Collins, who made a huge impression when introduced, clipped a point and then Gavin Cooney’s shot fortuitously crept over the line for the goal that Clare had long sought.

Gary Brennan lobbed over a mark late on to cut the gap to three but that was as close as they came as time ran out. Clare were left nursing major regrets in a match where they failed to hit full speed for the majority of the fare and also saw David Tubridy’s 69th minute penalty palmed away by Evan Comerford after Brennan had been fouled.

conal-kennedy-and-gary-brennan Conal Kennedy in action against Gary Brennan Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

The game was a gruelling battle in difficult conditions, those goals pushing Tipperary clear. The first arrived six minutes in and served as the first score of the afternoon. Clare looked in control on their own kickout when Cathal O’Connor was fed but as he seemed to think a mark was about to be awarded, the ball spilled loose. Michael Quinlivan was alert to the break and clipped in a through ball first time on the ground to Sweeney lurking close to goal. He planted the ball in the net to get Tipperary up and running.

In front 1-6 to 0-5 at the interval it was Sweeney who was involved again when Tipperary were injected with another boost inside the first minute of the second half. He was the focal point to gather possession and transferred to Bill Maher, the raiding defender surging clear and drilling home a left-foot shot.

The momentum shifted in the scoring sense between the teams in the opening period. By the first water break Tipperary had constructed an advantage of 1-3 to 0-1 with that Sweeney goal the centrepiece.

Clare steadied themselves at that juncture. Their big attacking names got going with Eoin Cleary kicking over two frees, David Tubridy coming on to win one of those and Jamie Malone intercepted a Tipperary defensive move to hit over another point.

michael-quinlivan-and-cian-odea Tipperary's Michael Quinlivan and Clare's Cian O'Dea. Source: Bryan Keane/INPHO

That sequence got Clare within two but Tipperary asserted their authority once more. Liam Casey boomed over a massive score and Jack Kennedy’s excellent kicking from the ground from distance was showcased with a pair of frees as they were four to the good at the break.

Then that Maher goal arrived upon the resumption and for all of Clare’s battling in the second half, Tipperary held on.

Scorers for Tipperary: Conor Sweeney 1-4 (0-2f), Bill Maher 1-0, Jack Kennedy 0-3 (0-3f), Liam Casey 0-2, Liam Boland, Emmet Moloney 0-1 each.

Scorers for Clare: Eoin Cleary 0-4 (0-4f), Gavin Cooney 1-0, Keelan Sexton (0-1f), Podge Collins 0-2 each, Jamie Malone, Cathal O’Connor, Gary Brennan 0-1 each.

Tipperary

1. Evan Comerford (Kilsheelan-Kilcash)

2. Alan Campbell (Moyle Rovers)
3. Jimmy Feehan (Killenaule)
4. Colm O’Shaughnessy (Ardfinnan)

5. Bill Maher (Kilsheelan-Kilcash)
6. Kevin Fahey (Clonmel Commercials)
7. Robbie Kiely (Barryroe, Cork)

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8. Steven O’Brien (Ballina)
9. Liam Casey (Cahir)

10. Jack Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials)
11. Michael Quinlivan (Clonmel Commercials)
12. Conal Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials)

13. Jason Lonergan (Clonmel Commercials)
14. Conor Sweeney (Ballyporeen – captain)
22. Colman Kennedy (Clonmel Commercials)

Subs

15. Brian Fox (Éire Óg Annacarty-Donohill) for Lonergan (34)
26. Liam Boland (Moyle Rovers) for O’Brien (47)
18. Emmet Moloney (Drom & Inch) for Conal Kennedy (61)
20. Padraic Looram (Clonmel Commercials) for Maher (72)
25. Kevin O’Halloran (Portroe) for Casey (74)

Clare

16. Stephen Ryan (Kilrush Shamrocks)

2. Gordon Kelly (St Joseph’s Miltown-Malbay)
3. Cillian Brennan (Clondegad)
4. Eoghan Collins (Ballyhaunis, Mayo)

5. Pearse Lillis (Cooaraclare)
20. Kevin Harnett (Meelick)
7. Alan Sweeney (St Breckan’s)

8. Gary Brennan (Clondegad)
9. Cathal O’Connor (Coolmeen)

10. Ciarán Russell (Éire Óg Ennis)
11. Eoin Cleary (St Joseph’s Miltown-Malbay – captain)
12. Jamie Malone (Corofin)

13. Keelan Sexton (Kilmurry-Ibrickane)
14. Joe McGann (St Breckan’s)
15. Cian O’Dea (Kilfenora)

Subs

26. David Tubridy (Doonbeg) for McGann (22)
18. Podge Collins (Cratloe) for Russell (39)
21. Emmet McMahon (Kildysart) for Sweeney (39)
17. Sean Collins (Cratloe) for Kelly (51)
19. Gavin Cooney (Éire Óg Ennis) for Sexton (66)

Referee: Conor Lane (Cork)

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The42 GAA Weekly is here! Join hosts Shane Dowling and Marc Ó Sé as they preview Tipperary v Limerick, Donegal v Tyrone, and the rest of the weekend’s action:


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