FL2: battling Banner leave it late to sensationally survive

March 24, 2019

Clare's Keelan Sexton. ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo.

A late 1-2 salvo saw Clare defeat Tipperary in an absorbing relegation tussle at Thurles, 3-15 to 1-19.

The Premier County led by a three points approaching full time but Keelan Sexton netted for the Banner County (who had gone 27 minutes without a score) in the 70th minute before experienced duo Gary Brennan and David Tubridy arrowed over the points that assured Clare of victory and their place in the second division in 2020.

Tipp - who, as it transpired, would have been relegated anyway, even if they'd won, as Cork won in Armagh - outscored their opponents by eight points to one in the last ten minutes of the first half, goalscorer Conor Sweeney, Liam Casey (2), Liam McGrath (2), Steven O’Brien and Kevin Fahey (2) all on target as they led by 1-13 to 1-8 at the break.

Sweeney palmed to the net in the second minute and landed 1-6 inside the opening 25 minutes but Gavin Cooney claimed Clare's first goal early on after Brennan's initial effort struck a post.

The winners drew level with five unanswered points after the restart and their top scorer Tubridy's goal made it 2-13 to 1-13 in their favour. As the game continued to ebb and flow, the Premier County then looked set for victory as Liam McGrath (2), Sweeney (3) and O'Brien had them three ahead with 20 seconds of normal time remaining but Colm Collins' men refused to be relegated, the last swing of the scorpion tail theirs.

Clare - R Eyres; G Kelly, C Brennan, K Harnett; S Collins, D Ryan, C O’Dea; S O’Donoghue (0-1), C O’Connor (0-1); E Cleary (0-4, 2f), C O hAinifein, J Malone (0-2); G Cooney (1-1), G Brennan (0-2), D Tubridy (1-3). Subs: K Sexton (1-1) for D Ryan, K Malone for G Cooney, D Masterson for C O hAinifein.

Tipperary - E Comerford; B Fox, J Meagher, E Moloney; A Campbell, D Brennan, K Fahey (0-2); S O’Brien (0-2), J Kennedy; L Casey (0-2), P Austin, P Maher; M Quinlivan, C Sweeney (1-9, 0-4f), L McGrath (0-4, 2f). Subs: J Feehan for P Maher, Liam Boland for P Austin, D O’Meara for J McGrath.

Referee - F Kelly.

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