By JOHN FALLON at Fenway Park
Peter Duggan shot 25 points as Clare held off a late rally from Tipperary to set up a meeting with Galway in the final of the AIG Fenway Hurling Classic.
Clare were coasting to victory with an 18-point lead with eight minutes left but Tipp, despite being reduced to ten men when Patrick 'Bonner' Maher picked up a second yellow card, staged a great comeback which had the crowd of over 26,000 on their feet.
It took a string of great saves from Clare goalkeeper Donal Touhy to deny Tipperary a late equaliser, twice denying Noel McGrath from short corners along with Ger Browne.
Clare led by 24-17 at the break, having trailed 9-5 after eight minutes when Conor Kenny, back after his spell in Kildare, shot two goals and Sean Curran also found the net in response to a five-pointer from Peter Duggan.
Duggan got a second five-pointer before the break as Clare finished the half strongly with Ian Galvin also getting one.
Tipperary's only five-pointer in the opening half came from Noel McGrath after 12 minutes, with John McGrath also finding the net just before the interval.
Duggan got his third five-pointer from a penalty two minutes after the restart to make it 29-17, but John 'Bubbles' O'Dwyer with a similar score at the other from a penalty.
A second five-pointer from Noel McGrath gave Tipperary hope but Duggan continued to find the net as Clare opened an 18-point lead before Michael Ryan's men came with their late rally which came up just short.
Clare scorers: Peter Duggan (25), Tony Kelly (8), Conor McGrath (6), Ian Galvin (5), David Fitzgerald (3), Daragh Corry (3).
Tipperary scorers: John McGrath (16), Noel McGrath (10), Conor Kenny (6), John O'Dwyer (5), Ger Browne (5), Sean Curran (3)
Clare: Donal Tuohy, Patrick O'Connor, Jack Browne, David McInerney, Cathal Malone, David Fitzgerald, Podge Collins, Tony Kelly, Cathal O'Connell, Shane O'Donnell, Peter Duggan.
Subs: Oisin O'Brien, John Conlon, Conor McGrath, Bobby Duggan, Andrew Fahy, Eoin Quirke, David Reidy, Gearoid O'Connell, Rory Hayes, Ian Galvin, Darag Cory, Patrick Kelly.
Tipperary: Paul Maher, Patrick Maher, John O'Dwyer, Dan McCormack, Donagh Maher, Mark Kehoe, Michael Breen, Sean Curran, Tomas Hamill, Tom Fox, Conor Kenny.
Subs: Daragh Mooney, Alan Flynn, Paul Shanahan, Brendan Maher, Ger Browne, John McGrath, Noel McGrath, Seamus Callanan, Brian Hogan, Paul Maher, Sean O'Brien, Cian Darcy.
Referee: Alan Kelly (Galway).