Clare got 2018 off to a good start with league wins over Tipperary and Kilkenny respectively. On Sunday they tamed the Cats at home in Nowlan Park by 2-18 to 1-18 in a game that they dominated throughout. Next up is a home tie against Cork on Sunday 18th February with the Rebels expected to provide much tougher opposition after their last visit showing in the Munster League.
Clare 1-21 Tipperary 0-19: Allianz Hurling League Div 1A Round 1
A last minute David Reidy goal ensured a dramatic conclusion to Clare’s opening league game of the season at home to Tipperary and will, it is hoped, go some way to securing Division 1 status for 2019.
Over 6,200 patrons in Cusack Park were treated to a high scoring, at time intense but nevertheless very entertaining contest between two sides who will prefer to forget 2017 as the move forward positively in the new season.
Reidy’s championship-like finish was greeted by a definite championship-like roar in the dying moments to seal a deserved Allianz League Division 1 win at Clare GAA headquarters.
The home side had built up a 0-13 to 0-10 lead after a lively opening half during which both teams picked off some good points in wintry but mild conditions in Ennis.
Tony Kelly (Ballyea) tries to block Cathal Barrett’s clearance.
The heavy rainfall had caused no real harm to the surface that held up well after the Allianz Football league game 24 hours previous. There was never much between the sides in the second-half but Clare finished strongly and LIT student David Reidy scored the game’s only goal in stoppage time to get Clare’s campaign off to a flying start.
Former All-Star Cathal Barrett returned to the Tipperary panel after being dropped last year and he had their first point from his new midfield position after 28 seconds. One will expect to see the talented defender revert to a rearguard position come summer time.
Clare played with the breeze behind them in the first-half and hit back one minute later with a sublime effort from Tony Kelly. David Reidy put Clare in front before Jason Forde landed his first free. Indeed the Tipperary sharpshooter finished the day with 10 points from placed balls.
Despite some erratic shooting, Clare assumed the lead again with points from John Conlon and Peter Duggan. Forde’s freetaking accuracy kept Tipperary in touch but Reidy was in top form for the Banner as they took a 0-13 to 0-10 lead into the break.
Clare took control after the restart but kept Tipperary in the game with a number of wides and half hit efforts. The visitors began to reduce the deficit, although they were finding it difficult to score from play against a solid Clare rearguard.
With the game entering the last 15 minutes Tipperary began to gain the upper hand and drew level by the 58th minute to tie the match at 0-17 apiece.
David McInerney tries to keep the ball in play after a crunching tackle from Ronan Maher.
Both sides were guilty of missing some good chances in the final ten minutes of frenzied action. Clare, however, was slightly the better side in the last five minutes as they pushed for home against the breeze.
David Reidy edged the home side in front with another free and any hopes of a Tipperary rally were dispelled in the dying seconds when Reidy was put through on goal and made no mistake shooting past the helpless Tipperary netminder Paul Maher to ensure a vital league win for the 2013 All Ireland champions
The result will leave Tipperary under pressure when the 2016 All Ireland champions entertain the 2017 finalists Waterford in Semple Stadium on Saturday night.The loser of this tie could be looking at the trapdoor and 1B hurling for 2019.
Best for the winners included the impressive Donal Touhy, David Fitzgerald, Colm Galvin, Cathal Malone who contributed four valuable scores, John Conlon who starred in the first half, David Reidy and Shane O’Donnell who worked tirelessly throughout.
Tipperary experimented with their team and very nearly sneaked a win with solid performances from Thomas Hamill, Donagh Maher, Padraic Maher, Ronan Maher, Noel McGrath and Jason Forde.
CLARE: Donal Tuohy, Jack Browne, Conor Cleary, Patrick O’Connor; David Fitzgerald, David McInerney, Seadna Morey; Colm Galvin (0-1), Tony Kelly (0-2); Cathal Malone (0-4), John Conlon (0-2), David Reidy (1-08); Shane O’Donnell, Peter Duggan (0-4), Conor McGrath. SUBS: Podge Collins for McGrath, Ian Galvin for Duggan, Niall Deasy for Malone, Gearoid O’Connell for C Galvin.
TIPPERARY: Paul Maher, Alan Flynn, Tomás Hamill, Donagh Maher, Séamus Kennedy, Pádraic Maher (0-1), Tom Fox; Cathal Barrett (0-1), Ronan Maher (0-1); Conor Kenny, Noel McGrath (0-5), Seán Curran (0-1); Ger Browne, Jason Forde (0-10), Patrick Maher. SUBS: Joe O’Dwyer for Fox, Michael Breen for Kenny, John McGrath for Browne, Brendan Maher for Kennedy, Dan McCormack for Patrick Maher.
Referee: Alan Kelly (Galway)