HL1A: Banner goals floor Tipp

March 09, 2014

Tipperary's James Woodlock with Patrick Donnellan of Clare.
©INPHO/Ryan Byrne.
Conor McGrath bagged a hat-trick of goals as Clare claimed a 4-15 to 0-20 victory over Tipperary in Thurles.

The result means that the All-Ireland champions return to the top of the Division 1A table for a couple of hours at least.

Thanks to first-half majors from McGrath (2) and John Conlon, Clare took a commanding 3-7 to 0-8 advantage into the interval.

The hosts made three late changes to their starting team, with Thomas Stapleton, Tomas Hamill and John O'Dwyer replacing Conor O'Mahony, Padraic Maher and Seamus Callanan. Meanwhile, Darach Honan, Cathal O'Connell and Peter Duggan came into the Banner County XV at the expense of Tony Kelly, Shane Golden and Shane O'Donnell.

Colm Galvin and Peter Duggan got the Banner County off to a flying start with two early points and Pat Donnellan recorded Clare's third point after Noel McGrath has opened Tipp's account.

The All-Ireland champions doubled their tally when McGrath found the net in the tenth minute - 1-3 to 0-1. O'Dwyer and Conlon traded points and the Premier County slotted three consecutive scores before Darach Honan and Conlon steadied the Clare ship, 1-6 to 0-5 after 23 minutes.

When Honan had to cry off due to injury, All Star Podge Collins wasn't a bad replacement!

And, after more points were exchanged, Clare surged six points ahead in the 30th minute when Conor McGrath was on hand to dispatch his second major of the afternoon, substitute Collins making an immediate impact with the assist - 2-7 to 0-7.

Incredibly, Conlon added a third Clare three-pointer three minutes later to stretch the gap to eight points with the short whistle looming.

Tipperary floated over six of the first seven points of the second half to close the gap to three after 49 minutes, 3-8 to 0-14. McGrath replied with a Clare point and then completed his hat-trick of goals to make it 4-9 to 0-14 approaching the three-quarters mark.

The comeback had been nipped in the bud!

Colin Ryan tagged on a couple of frees as the visitors burst for the winning line and Tipperary goalie Darren Gleeson was forced into a couple of excellent saves to deny Clare further goals.

A Tony Kelly point left six between the teams after 66 minutes and Conlon and Seadna Morey were on hand to clip over the winners' last two points of the day.

Clare - D Tuohy; D McInerney, C Dillon, S Morey (0-1); B Bugler, Conor Ryan, P O'Connor; P Donnellan (0-1), C Galvin (0-1); Colin Ryan (0-4, 2f, 1'65), P Duggan (0-2), J Conlon (1-3); D Honan (0-1), C McGrath (3-1), C O'Connell. Subs: P Collins for D Honan, T Kelly (0-1) for C O'Connell, C McInerney for P Duggan, P Flanagan for S Morey.

Tipperary - D Gleeson; C Barrett, P Stapleton, M Cahill; S McGrath (0-1), T Hamill, T Stapleton; B Maher, J Woodlock (0-2); P Murphy (0-1), N McGrath (0-1), K Bergin (0-1); S Bourke (0-2), J O'Dwyer (0-7, 3f, 1'65), J Forde (0-2, 1f). Subs: C O'Mahony for T Hamill, D Maher for P Murphy, C Kenny (0-2) for S Bourke, M Heffernan (0-1) for K Bergin, R Maher for J Forde.

Referee - J Owens.

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