Aaron Cunningham merited his return to the starting line-up with two well taken goals and came very close to a hat-trick, unfortunately it was not to be.

All Ireland Senior Hurling Quarter Final Tipperary 0-28  Clare 3-16

Aaron Cunningham taps the ball to the net after rounding Tipp goalkeeper Daragh Mooney.

Aaron Cunningham taps the ball to the net after rounding Tipp goalkeeper Daragh Mooney.

Clare’s inter-county hurling season has come to an abrupt end at the business end of the season. A wonderful opportunity to win a place against Galway in the All Ireland semi final was lost due to 18 wides, poor puck outs and an unwillingness to use the entire panel. The new Páirc Uí Chaoimh stadium was a magnificent venue. As was the case in Thurles, the Clare support was out-numbered by 3-t0-1, this time by Tipp’s followers. Tony Kelly was first to hit the target inside the first minute. Seamus Callinan hit

The new Páirc Uí Chaoimh stadium was a magnificent venue. As was the case in Thurles, the Clare support was out-numbered by 3-t0-1, this time by Tipp’s followers. Tony Kelly was first to hit the target inside the first minute. Seamus Callinan hit back before John McGrath’s point put the 2016 champions ahead.  A huge score from Shane O’Donnell leveled matters as Clare

A huge score from Shane O’Donnell leveled matters as Clare played with two inside and O’Donnell roaming the Tipperary half. Conlon and McGrath were off target before Callinan scorched the crossbar. Clare hit two more wides, before poor marking gifted Noel McGrath his second score. Conor McGrath had the ball in the Tipperary net but a goal was ruled out for over-carrying.  John O’Dwyer had Tipperary’s fifth score after nine minutes. Seadna Morey picked the ball off the ground giving Callanan another free as Tipperary moved ominously clear of Clare.  Padraic Maher fed John McGrath whose effort skimmed the crossbar with 15 minutes played. Tony Kelly pulled one back from a free when Podge Collins was upended.  McGrath sent an easy effort wide for his side’s 5th before Seamus Callinan popped up for a smart point from 60m out. Aaron Cunningham became Clare’s hero of the hour with two goals inside a minute. Sublime passes from McGrath and O’Donnell set up the Shannon man for his brace to level the game after 21 minutes.  Cathal Malone was having difficulty getting upfield after dropping back, with so much ball aimed at O’Donnell this was hurting the Clare attack.  Michael Breen took the lead point for the Premier men with nine minutes left in the opening half. Padraic Bonnar Maher increased the lead to two as Tipperary withstood Clare’s attack.  There were points from Seamus Callanan, Jamie

Tony Kelly gets the better of the Mahers, Brendan , Pádraic and Ronan.

Tony Kelly gets the better of the Mahers, Brendan , Pádraic and Ronan.

Conor McGrath had the ball in the Tipperary net but a goal was ruled out for over-carrying.  John O’Dwyer had Tipperary’s fifth score after nine minutes. Another Callanan free as moved Tipperary ominously clear. Padraic Maher fed John McGrath whose effort skimmed the crossbar with 15 minutes played. Tony Kelly pulled one back from a free when Podge Collins was upended.  McGrath sent an easy effort wide for his side’s 5th before Seamus Callinan popped up for a smart point from 60m out. Aaron Cunningham became Clare’s hero of the hour with two goals inside a minute. Sublime passes from McGrath and O’Donnell set up the Shannon man for his brace to level the game after 21 minutes.  Cathal Malone was having difficulty getting upfield after dropping back, with so much ball aimed at O’Donnell this was hurting the Clare attack.  Michael Breen took the lead point for the Premier men with nine minutes left in the opening half. Padraic Bonnar Maher increased the lead to two as Tipperary withstood Clare’s attack.  There were points from Seamus Callanan, Jamie

Padraic Maher fed John McGrath whose effort skimmed the crossbar with 15 minutes played. Tony Kelly pulled one back from a free after Podge Collins was upended. McGrath sent an easy effort wide before Seamus Callinan popped up for a smart point from 60m out. Aaron Cunningham became Clare’s hero of the hour with two goals inside a minute. Sublime passes from McGrath and O’Donnell set up the Shannon man for his brace to level the game after 21 minutes.  Cathal Malone was having difficulty getting upfield after dropping back, with so much ball aimed at O’Donnell this was hurting the Clare attack.  Michael Breen took the lead point for the Premier men with nine minutes left in the opening half. Padraic Bonnar Maher increased the lead to two as Tipperary withstood Clare’s attack.  There were points from Seamus Callanan, Jamie

Aaron Cunningham became Clare’s hero of the hour with two goals inside a minute. Sublime passes from McGrath and O’Donnell set up the Shannon man for his brace to level the game after 21 minutes.  Cathal Malone was having difficulty getting upfield after dropping back, with so much ball aimed at O’Donnell this was hurting the Clare attack.  Michael Breen took the lead point for the Premier men with nine minutes left in the opening half. Padraic Bonnar Maher increased the lead to two as Tipperary withstood Clare’s attack.  There were points from Seamus Callanan, Jamie

Michael Breen took the lead point for the Premier men with nine minutes left in the opening half. Padraic Bonnar Maher added two as Tipperary withstood Clare’s attack.  There were points from Seamus Callanan, Jamie Shanahan and Conor McGrath, before Callanan took advantage of a short puck out that went horribly wrong. Seamus Kennedy, John McGrath and Bubbles Dwyer had Clare 0-16 to 2-5 down at the break. Noel McGrath and Cian Dillon entered the ref’s notepad in the opening minute of the new half as Shane O’Donnell finished a smart effort in the 37th minute.  Bubbles Dwyer picked up a loose ball, evaded Jamie Shanahan and popped over the bar. Seamus Callanan’s seventh point could have been the match winning goal.  Peter Duggan worked hard for a free that was converted for a point as Clare needed another goal. Conor McGrath won a soft free that Kelly converted in the 46th minute.  John McGrath had Tipperary’s 19th score before another Kelly free kept Clare in touch. The McGrath brothers turned the screw on Clare with two scores in a minute as their simple style was too much for the Clare rearguard.  David Reidy, who came on for Podge Collins, sent over a close range free but Tipp were 0-23 to 2-10 ahead and cruising to the semi final. Tony Kelly, Peter Duggan, Colm Galvin, David Reidy, now on

Seamus Kennedy, John McGrath and Bubbles Dwyer had Clare 0-16 to 2-5 down at the break. Noel McGrath and Cian Dillon entered the ref’s notepad in the opening minute of the new half as Shane O’Donnell finished a smart effort in the 37th minute.  Bubbles Dwyer picked up a loose ball, evaded Jamie Shanahan and popped over the bar. Seamus Callanan’s seventh point could have been the match winning goal.  Peter Duggan worked hard for a free that was converted for a point as Clare needed another goal. Conor McGrath won a soft free that Kelly converted in the 46th minute.  John McGrath had Tipperary’s 19th score before another Kelly free kept Clare in touch. The McGrath brothers turned the screw on Clare with two scores in a minute as their simple style was too much for the Clare rearguard.  David Reidy, who came on for Podge Collins, sent over a close range free but Tipp were 0-23 to 2-10 ahead and cruising to the semi final. Tony Kelly, Peter Duggan, Colm Galvin, David Reidy, now on

Bubbles Dwyer picked up a loose ball, evaded Jamie Shanahan and popped over the bar before Seamus Callanan had his seventh point.  Peter Duggan worked hard for a free that was converted for a point but Clare needed another goal. Conor McGrath won a soft free that Kelly converted in the 46th minute.  John McGrath had Tipperary’s 19th score before another Kelly free kept Clare in touch. The McGrath brothers turned the screw on Clare with two scores in a minute as their simple style was too much for the Clare rearguard.  David Reidy, who came on for Podge Collins, sent over a close range free but Tipp were 0-23 to 2-10 ahead and cruising to the semi final. Tony Kelly, Peter Duggan, Colm Galvin, David Reidy, now on

Conor McGrath won a soft free converted by Kelly in the 46th minute. John McGrath had Tipperary’s 19th point as another Kelly free kept Clare in touch. The McGrath brothers turned the screw with two scores in a minute as their simple style was too much for the Clare rearguard.  David Reidy, who came on for Podge Collins, sent over a close range free but Tipp were 0-23 to 2-10 ahead and cruising to the semi final. Tony Kelly, Peter Duggan, Colm Galvin, David Reidy, now on

David Reidy, who came on for Podge Collins, sent over a close range free but Tipp were 0-23 to 2-10 ahead and cruising to the semi final. Tony Kelly, Peter Duggan, Colm Galvin, David Reidy, now on

Tony Kelly, Peter Duggan, Colm Galvin, David Reidy, now on free-taking duties, and Cathal McInerney got Clare back into the game with five unanswered scores before Aaron Cunningham unfortunately hit the side netting.  Conor McGrath’s point in the 65th minute reduced Tipp’s lead to the minimum.

Bubbles Dywer sent over a free to leave Clare needing two points. More drama unfolded for the 28,500 spectators as Clare rallied with Cathal McInerney grabbing a scrambled goal in the 74th minute.

Points win games as Tipperary’s full forward line proved when they scored 17 points from play and the rest from frees. In my view Clare should add the services of a player who was heavily involved in the successes of the 1990s and 2000s to what appears a capable management team already in place. A lot done, a lot more to do!

TIPPERARY: Daragh Mooney; Donagh Maher, Tomás Hamill, James Barry; Séamus Kennedy, Ronan Maher, Pádraic Maher; Brendan Maher (0-1), Michael Breen (0-1); Noel McGrath (0-4), Patrick Maher (0-2), Dan McCormack; John O’Dwyer (0-4), Séamus Callanan (0-7), John McGrath (0-6). Subs: Subs: Sean O’Brien for James Barry, Jason Forde (0-1) for Michael Breen, Niall O’Meara for John O’Dwyer, Steven O’Brien (0-1) for Callanan.

CLARE: Andrew Fahy; Seadna Morey, Patrick O’Connor, Cian Dillon; David Fitzgerald, Conor Cleary, Jamie Shanahan (0-1); Colm Galvin (0-1), Tony Kelly (0-6); Cathal Malone, Pádraic Collins, John Conlon; Shane O’Donnell (0-2), Aaron Cunningham (2-0), Conor McGrath (0-2). Subs: Peter Duggan (0-1) for John Conlon, David Reidy (0-2) for Podge Collins, Cathal McInerney (1-1) for Cathal Malone, Jason McCarthy for Kelly.

Referee: Colm Lyons (Cork)