Some will have recalled Anthony Daly’s ‘whipping boy’ speech from 1995 as Clare came from behind to claim their first championship victory over Tipperary in Thurles for 90 years. What resulted was an outpouring of emotion in Semple Stadium as supporters streamed onto the hallowed turf with wild abandon to celebrate with their heroes after a long 15 years since a Clare team last inflicted Munster championship defeat on the Premier County.
Munster Senior Hurling Ch. Round 4: Clare 1-23 Tipperary 1-21
Although fewer than 1,000 fans travelled to Cork for the opening game, Clare supporters were out in force for this game and displayed a real sense of relief when their team overturned an eight-point deficit after under-performing in the first half, bringing a premature end to Tipperary’s season as they join Waterford as the first victims of the new round robin format.
It was back to the wall for Tipperary who desperately needed the win following thrilling comeback draws against Cork and Waterford. Clare, on the other hand had lost to Cork but easily disposed of Waterford, but also needed the win to set up a dramatic home clash with near neighbours Limerick.
Ian Galvin (Clonlara) lashes the ball to the net past Padraic Maher for Clare’s only goal
Tipperary had led for much of the game, by the interval they had a 4-point advantage, thanks mainly to Clare’s profligacy with eight wides compared to just four for the home side.
With Tipp very much in control throughout, it wasn’t until two minutes into injury time that Clare got in front. From there to the final whistle there were unbelievable scenes as Peter Duggan finished sublimely from the sideline to give his team a slender two-point victory.
In all, 20,782 people were in Semple Stadium for this encounter that sparked to life in the final six minutes as Clare came from behind to pull off an astonishing victory over a Tipperary side that had been tipped as possible championship contenders this year.
Peter Duggan was deserving of his man of the match accolade after amassing a personal tally of 15pts that included 13 frees, a perfect record from placed balls.
Duggan and his opposite number Jason Forde got the scoring underway exchanging frees in the first five minutes. Another Forde free put Tipp in front three minutes later, the same player added the 3rd point from play.
Tipp stretched their lead to 0-4 to 0-1 when Ronan Maher raised a white flag from an acute angle. With a quarter of an hour played the home side grabbed the first goal when Billy McCarthy netted past Donal Tuohy.
Podge Collins with one of his three points
John Conlon pulled a point back for Clare but Tipp stretched their lead to seven points with scores from Jason Forde (2 frees) and Cathal Barrett.
A Peter Duggan free reduced the deficit to 1-7 to 0-4 before Forde added another free, followed by a point from Noel McGrath. Clare finished the half strongly with two more Duggan frees and points from Tony Kelly to close the gap to four with the scoreboard reading Tipp 1-10 Clare 0-9.
On the restart, Forde added another free that was cancelled with a point from Clare substitute Podge Collins. A terrific score from Tipperary captain Padraic Maher was cancelled out by a terrific Jack Browne effort.
Both sides traded scores with Forde adding a free and a 65 while Duggan slotted over two frees before John McGrath scored from play with 14 minutes of the half played and Tipp leading by 1-15 to 0-13.
A Peter Duggan free and another point from Podge Collins that needed hawkeye closed the gap before Clare was hit with a bitter Bonar Maher and John McGrath extended Tipp’s lead to 4pts.
Forde and Duggan exchanged frees by the 24th minute of the half before Seamus Callanan had a fine score for the home team.
Peter Duggan reduced the deficit to four again before Jake Morris came close to scoring a second Tipp goal. Fortunately for Clare the ball rebounded off the post and was cleared upfield to Podge Collins who passed to Ian Galvin in space on his left and the Clonlara man made no mistake as he mashed the ball to the net past Brian Hogan with five minutes remaining.
Callanan kept Tipp in front by two with a well-taken point in the final minute of normal time before John Conlon stepped up for a superb point as the Clare crowd sensed that something wonderful was happening in front of them.
With 73 minutes played Peter Duggan had the sides on level terms with a close-range free but Noel McGrath put Tipp back in front.
Podge Collins soon had Clare on level terms again before Peter Duggan shot his side in front for the first time. Seconds later the Clooney-Quin man scored a simply wonderful point from an acute angle close to the sideline to give Clare a two-point victory.
After the game delighted Clare joint-manager Gerry O’Connor exclaimed, “Look, we pulled it out of the fire because for the whole 75 to 80 minutes that we were out there on the field we never let up. It wasn’t the complete performance by any means but it was a fantastic performance when we absolutely had to give a performance in that last 10 or 15 minutes.”
Clare: Donal Tuohy; Pat O’Connor, David McInerney, Jack Browne (0-01); David Fitzgerald, Conor Cleary, Jamie Shanahan; Colm Galvin, Cathal Malone; Peter Duggan (0-15, 0-13f), Tony Kelly (0-02), David Reidy; Conor McGrath, John Conlon (0-02), Shane O’Donnell. Subs: Podge Collins (0-03) for McGrath (35), Seadna Morey for Fitzgerald (47), Ian Galvin (1-00) for Reidy (59), Jason McCarthy for Malone (62), Darragh Corry for Galvin (63).
Tipperary: Brian Hogan; Sean O’Brien, Seamus Kennedy, Donagh Maher; Joe O’Dwyer, Padraic Maher (0-01), Brendan Maher; Ronan Maher (0-01), Cathal Barrett (0-01); Dan McCormack, Patrick Maher (0-01), Billy McCarthy (1-00); Seamus Callanan (0-02), Jason Forde (0-10, 0-08f, 0-01 65), John McGrath (0-03). Subs: Noel McGrath (0-02) for McCormack (10), Jake Morris for Patrick Maher (61), Alan Flynn for Kennedy (61), Willie Connors for B Maher (65), John O’Dywer for J McGrath (74).
Referee: Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow).