*Clare’s John Conlon. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

For the first time in a quarter of a century, Clare will contest a third consecutive Munster Senior Hurling Final after eventually holding off hosts Tipperary in FBD Semple Stadium in Thurles.

Clare 1-24
Tipperary 0-24
Venue: FBD Semple Stadium, Thurles

With the Premier already out before a ball was pucked, Clare were in rather a no-win position coming to Thurles but following a slow in which they fell 0-7 to 0-3 behind by the end of the opening quarter, Brian Lohan’s side were devastating once they warmed to their task. Over the next two quarters, the visitors would outscore Tipperary by 1-16 to 0-7 to ease eight points clear.

It should have been an unassailable advantage but typifying their four provincial outings, Clare let slip their comfortable cushion as a Jake Morris inspired home side managed to slash the arrears to just three by the final minute.

It made for yet another nervy finale but once which Clare saw out without too much drama as having conceded eight goals in their previous three matches, the Banner didn’t cough a single goal chance, not even when the hosts threw everything at them for the four additional minutes.

In the end, the result was fully merited as Clare cemented their passage to a third final in a row against Limerick who themselves are bidding for a record sixth successive Munster crown.

Following an 18 point pummeling to Cork seven days earlier at the same venue, there was an inevitable backlash early on as three Morris points steered Tipperary to a four point advantage.

An Aidan McCarthy point from each corner sparked Clare into life and amidst two glorious goal chances for Shane O’Donnell and Peter Duggan, the Banner hit a further four points without reply through David Reidy, McCarrthy, Mark Rodgers and David Fitzgerald to snatch the lead for the very first time at 0-9 to 0-8 by the half hour mark.

Tipperary would level thrice more, either side of a 0-11 to 0-11 stalemate, with an emphatic 1-5 blitz in seven minutes turning a slugfest into a match-winning strangehold at 1-17 to 0-12 by the 46th minute.

O’Donnell, who earned seven frees himself over the 70 minutes, scored a point and was instrumental in a further 1-3 for others as McCarthy converted three frees while Cathal Malone, O’Donnell and David Fitzgerald combined for a 42nd minute goal for the overlapping Diarmuid Ryan.

With the introduction of Tony Kelly ushering in the biggest cheer of the afternoon, Clare still held an eight point lead entering the final quarter but rather took their foot off the gas and allowed Tipperary to breath.

Substitutes Bryan O’Mara and Noel McGrath got in on the scoring action alongside the persistent Morris but with O’Donnell, John Conlon and Malone in inspirational form, Clare matched their opponents coming down the final straight to see out their third victory on the trot and tee up another epic Shannonside derby final against Limerick back in Semple Stadium in a fortnight’s time.

Scorers for Clare: Aidan McCarthy 0-8 (6f), Diarmuid Ryan 1-2, David Fitzgerald 0-3, Mark Rodgers 0-3 (2f), Shane O’Donnell 0-2, Tony Kelly 0-2 (1f), Peter Duggan 0-1, David Reidy 0-1, Darragh Lohan 0-1, Ian Galvin 0-1

Scorers for Tipperary: Jake Morris 0-11 (6f), Seanie Kenneally 0-3, Gearoid O’Connor 0-2 (2f), Eoghan Connolly 0-2, Ronan Maher 0-2 (1f), Barry Heffernan 0-1, Alan Tynan 0-1, Bryan O’Mara 0-1, Noel McGrath 0-1

Clare
1: Eibhear Quilligan (Feakle)

2: Adam Hogan (Feakle)
3: Conor Cleary (St Joseph’s Miltown)
17: Conor Leen (Corofin)

5: Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe)
6: John Conlon (Clonlara)
7: Cian Galvin (Clarecastle)

9: Darragh Lohan (Wolfe Tones)
10: Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge)

8: David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona)
15: David Reidy (Éire Óg)
12: Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin)

14: Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg)
11: Mark Rodgers (Scariff)
13: Aidan McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona)

Subs:
26: Tony Kelly (Ballyea) for Reidy (47)
22: Ian Galvin (Clonlara) for McCarthy (53)
21: Paddy Donnellan (Broadford) for Lohan (64)
23: Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones) for Duggan (68)

Tipperary:
1: Barry Hogan (Kiladangan)

18: Eoghan Connolly (Cashel King Cormacs)
2: Johnny Ryan (Arravale Rovers)
4: Craig Morgan (Kilruane MacDonagh’s)

7: Brian McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney)
6: Ronan Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)
5: Barry Heffernan (Nenagh Éire Óg)

8: Paddy Cadell (JK Brackens)
9: Willie Connors (Kiladangan)

12: Seanie Kenneally (Moneygall)
11: Jake Morris (Nenagh Éire Óg)
10: Alan Tynan (Roscrea)

13: Andrew Ormond (JK Brackens)
15: Gearoid O’Connor (Moyne-Templetuohy)
14: Mark Kehoe (Kilsheelan-Kilcash)

Subs:
26: Darragh Stakelum (Thurles Sarsfields) for O’Connor (29)
24: Bryan O’Mara (Holycross-Ballycahill) for Heffernan (43)
23: Noel McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney) for Cadell (45)
25: Conor Stakelum (Thurles Sarsfields) for Ormond (51)
20: Patrick Maher (Lorrha-Dorrha) for Kehoe (56)

Referee: Johnny Murphy (Limerick)

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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