Munster Senior Hurling League Final – Sunday, 13th January 2019
Clare 4-19 Tipperary 1-18
There’s a long way to go in 2019 but the opening stage couldn’t have been any better as Clare were crowned Munster Senior Hurling League champions in the Gaelic Grounds.
The final score line read 4-19 to 1-18 following an emphatic second half display, especially in the opening 10 minutes after the restart.
Cathal McInerney, Tony Kelly and Colin Guilfoyle shared the goals even if there was debate about who scored what in the second half.
But after playing second fiddle to Tipperary in the opening quarter, Clare didn’t look back once they got a football on proceedings.
Liam Sheedy’s men led 0-5 to 0-1 after 15 minutes as Jason Forde, Seamus Callanan and Alan Flynn all found the target.
But in the blink of an eye, momentum was reversed and Clare were back in contest.
On 17 minutes after a long Donal Tuohy puck out, Cathal McInerney was unmarked behind the Tipperary defence to hit the net.
Diarmuid Ryan added a point before a superb move was finished off by man of the match Tony Kelly.
Kelly and Ballyea clubmate Niall Deasy traded passes before the captain finished off his long ball into the attack – receiving the final pass from Mikey O’Neill in a three-on-one situation on 21 minutes for the second goal.
Clare led 2-2 to 0-5 but Tipperary reeled them in and the teams were level at 2-5 to 0-11 at half-time. But few attending this pre-season decider could envisage the Banner’s second half surge. They equaled their first half tally by the 45th minute.
Guilfoyle had better options but didn’t renege after an effort was stopped by Barry Hogan. Diarmuid Ryan was among the attackers scrambling for a touch but Guilfoyle just about got the touch for a 38th minute third goal.
And many in Limerick believed he got a second on the three-quarter hour mark when his presence distracted Hogan and full back Padraic Maher. But it appeared that Kelly’s long-range delivery travelled all the way to the net making it 4-10 to 0-12.
Dan McCormack got a consolation Tipperary goal but there was no doubt about the winners. Clare added through McInerney, Guilfoyle, Deasy, Shane Golden, Kelly, Ryan Taylor and Mikey O’Malley for a comprehensive 10-point victory.
Clare captain and Man of the Match Tony Kelly lifts the Munster Hurling League trophy following Clare's 4-19 to 1-18 win over Tipperary pic.twitter.com/dWYZQXZQqZ
— Clare Senior Hurlers (@ClareSenHurlers) January 13, 2019
Scorers – Clare: Tony Kelly 2-3 (one free), Colin Guilfoyle 1-3, Cathal McInerney 1-2, Niall Deasy 0-3 (two frees), Diarmuid Ryan 0-3, Shane Golden 0-2, Ryan Taylor 0-2, Mikey O’Malley 0-1.
Scorers – Tipperary: Seamus Callanan 0-8 (six frees, one ’65), Jason Forde 0-5 (one sideline), Dan McCormack 1-0, Mark Kehoe 0-2, Alan Flynn 0-2, Noel McGrath 0-1.
Clare: Donal Tuohy; Jason McCarthy, David McInerney, Rory Hayes; Aidan McCarthy, Conor Cleary, Cathal Malone; Shane Golden, Tony Kelly; Diarmuid Ryan, Niall Deasy, Ryan Taylor; Colin Guilfoyle, Cathal McInerney, Mikey O’Neill.
Subs used: Podge Collins for O’Neill (53 mins), David Conroy for Ryan (54 mins), Mikey O’Malley for A McCarthy (58 mins), Gary Cooney for C McInerney (65 mins), Jack Browne for Hayes (66 mins).
Tipperary: Barry Hogan; Cathal Barrett, Padraic Maher, Donagh Maher; Alan Flynn, Seamus Kennedy, Joe O’Dwyer; Willie Connors, Michael Breen; Jason Forde, Patrick Maher, Colin English; Jake Morrise, Seamus Callanan, Mark Kehoe.
Subs used: Ronan Maher for Connors (HT), Noel McGrath for Morris (45 mins), Dan McCormack for Kehoe (48 mins), Killian O’Dwyer for Barrett (57 mins), Robert Byrne for Kennedy (58 mins).
Referee: Thomas Walsh (Waterford)