NFL Report: Peter Creedon’s Tipperary footballers stun Clare at Cusack Park

By Brian McDonnell a

Reporter:

By Brian McDonnell a

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Last week Tipperary manager Peter Creedon asserted that his side had not given up on their promotion dream. And, given the quality of this performance against an in-form Clare side the Premier have every chance of battling their way back into division three of the Allianz National Football League.

Last week Tipperary manager Peter Creedon asserted that his side had not given up on their promotion dream. And, given the quality of this performance against an in-form Clare side the Premier have every chance of battling their way back into division three of the Allianz National Football League.

Allianz National Football League Division Four

Clare 0-10 Tipperary 1-13

Last week Tipperary manager Peter Creedon asserted that his side had not given up on their promotion dream. And, given the quality of this performance against an in-form Clare side the Premier have every chance of battling their way back into division three of the Allianz National Football League.

Tipperary, guided by the immense Hugh Coghlan, proved the far better side at Cusack Park, Ennis on Saturday. From a strategic point of view they out-smarted Clare, were the more physical when they needed to be and, basically, appeared to have a far clearer idea of what they wanted to achieve with the ball in hand.

Besides Coghlan, who was a most obvious candidate for man of the match, Paddy Codd, Ciarán McDonald, Robbie Kiely, Peter Acheson, Alan Maloney and Barry Grogan were all in enterprising mood.

Tipp’s remaining division four games involve Limerick (away on March 16th), Leitrim (home on March 24th) and Offaly (away on April 7th) with Peter Creedon’s men now in with a very good chance of gaining promotion to division three.

Clare stole into the lead in the second minute thanks to a David Tubridy free following a foul by Brian Fox on Rory Donnelly, but Tipperary, who were playing with a very stiff breeze, took over thereafter.

In the eighth minute Alan Maloney set up Peter Acheson for a superb long-range point to level matters before Clare’s Seán Haugh was harassed into an over-carry and Barry Grogan (free) handed Tipp a 0-2 to 0-1 lead a minute later.

In the 11th minute goalkeeper Paul Fitzgerald advanced to break up a threatening Clare attack and a minute later Tipperary extended their lead to two points when Alan Maloney played a free short to Aldo Matassa and then accepted the return pass before booting over a classy effort - 0-3 to 0-1.

Despite struggling to win possession from their own kick-outs Clare responded with a fine Shane McGrath point from a tight angle in the 14th minute.

A searching delivery from George Hannigan picked out Barry Grogan in the 15th minute and Grogan turned his man before firing Tipp into a two-point lead. A minute later Shane McNelis, while under immense pressure from the Tipperary forward unit, fouled the ball and an Alan Maloney free handed the Premier a 0-5 to 0-2 lead.

Despite that three-point advantage there was a slight concern that Tipperary had wasted a significant amount of possession. Tipp, for example, had already fired four wides, dropped three efforts short and seen a Barry Grogan free hit a post and although it was very encouraging to see Peter Creedon’s men create so many scoring opportunities a shot conversion efficiency of just thirty-eight per cent was a little worrying in the opening twenty minutes.

Tipperary, however, continued to dominate and stretched their lead significantly thanks to a Barry Grogan free following a foul on Hugh Coghlan and a cracking Alan Maloney point in the 22nd minute. Alan Maloney’s point was especially sweet since the Tipperary defence had absorbed significant pressure at the opposite end of the field, had refused to foul and finally forced a turnover which led to a superb counter-attack - 0-7 to 0-2.

Considering their dominance of this contest Tipperary were very good value for their five-point lead, but Clare came roaring back into this contest when Gary Brennan emerged as a potent forced at midfield.

Brennan landed a monster of a point off his right foot in the 26th minute and won possession in the 30th and 31st minutes - on both occasions Brennan created attacking moves which saw Alan Clohessy and David Tubridy kick points and narrow the gap to a very manageable two-point deficit - 0-7 to 0-5.

Tipperary steadied themselves prior to the break with Hugh Coghlan winning a vital free which Barry Grogan converted before Grogan belted over a superb ’45 in the 35th minute to hand Peter Creedon’s men a four-point interval lead - 0-9 to 0-5.

The opening ten minutes of the second half were scoreless as the sides traded five wides (Tipperary three, Clare two), but there was one incident of note in the 40th minute when Gary Brennan thundered in a high ball which Rory Donnelly won. The full-forward’s turn and shot beat Paul Fitzgerald in the Tipperary goal, but cannoned back off a post before Mark McCarthy belted the rebound horribly wide.

Alan Maloney was fouled for a free which Barry Grogan converted in the 45th minute. Tipperary now enjoyed a double-score lead (0-10 to 0-5) and were glad of it.

Two minutes later corner-back Enda Coughlan responded for Clare, but it was hard to see the Banner mounting a significant challenge in this encounter. Tipperary just seemed to have their number physically, tactically and most notably from a discipline point of view. Indeed, Michael Quinlivan was fouled for a free in the 48th minute which Barry Grogan converted to give his side a 0-11 to 0-6 lead - it was interesting to note that Tipp had already scored 0-6 from frees and conceded just the one.

With twenty minutes to play Shane McGrath kicked a seventh Clare point before Aldo Matassa created a wonderful goal-scoring opportunity for Peter Acheson in the 52nd minute, but Clare ‘keeper Joe Hayes denied the Moyle Rovers man with a terrific save. Barry Grogan converted the resultant ’45 and Tipp led 0-12 to 0-7.

In the 59th minute Tipperary pieced together a superb move which settled the issue. Peter Acheson, Darren Lowry and Barry Grogan worked the wall carefully around the middle third of the field before Grogan pumped in a diagonal ball toward Hugh Coghlan who had ghosted in behind the Clare full-back line. Coghlan won the delivery expertly and beat Joe Hayes with a rasping left-foot effort - 1-12 to 0-7.

Two minutes later Alan Maloney punched over a thirteenth Tipperary point and the Premier led by a stunning nine points (1-13 to 0-7).

Three Clare points - Cathal O’Connor, Gary Brennan and David Tubridy (free) - cut the gap significantly before an ugly melee broke out in the 66th minute which ultimately saw both Enda Coughlan (Clare) and Tipperary’s Alan Maloney shown straight red cards. It was an unfortunate end to the afternoon for Maloney who had played brilliantly throughout this contest.

Clare pressed for goals late on, but the Tipperary defence managed to hold off their opponents reasonably comfortably with Ciarán McDonald making a timely interception in the 70th minute and Paul Fitzgerald making a fine reaction save two minutes later.

Clare: Joe Hayes, Martin McMahon, Shane McNelis, Enda Coughlan (0-1), Declan Callinan, Gordon Kelly, Seán Haugh, Gary Brennan (0-2), Cathal O’Connor (0-1), Alan Clohessy (0-1), Shane McGrath (0-2), Chris Dunning, Mark McCarthy, Rory Donnelly, David Tubridy (0-3, 0-2 frees). Subs: (45th) Podge McMahon for Seán Haugh, (45th) Shane Ryan for Chris Dunning, (57th) Ger Quinlan for Rory Donnelly.

Tipperary: Paul Fitzgerald (Fethard), Ciarán McDonald (Aherlow), Paddy Codd (Killenaule, captain), John Coghlan (Moyne-Templetuohy), Brian Fox (Éire Óg Annacarty), Robbie Kiely (Arravale Rovers), Donagh Leahy (Arravale Rovers), George Hannigan (Shannon Rovers), Brian Jones (Arravale Rovers), Aldo Matassa (Clonmel Commercials), Hugh Coghlan (Portlaoise, Laois, 1-0), Peter Acheson (Moyle Rovers, 0-1), Conor Sweeney (Ballyporeen), Barry Grogan (Aherlow, 0-8, 0-5 frees, 0-2 ‘45s), Alan Maloney (Rockwell Rovers, 0-4, 0-1 free). Subs: (HT) Michael Quinlivan (Clonmel Commercials) for Brian Jones, (54th) Darren Lowry (Arravale Rovers) for Aldo Matassa, (63rd) Dónal Lynch (Clonmel Commercials) for Brian Fox, (65th) Lorcan Egan (JK Bracken’s) for Hugh Coghlan, (72nd) John O’Callaghan (Ballyporeen) for Robbie Kiely.

Referee: Damien Maher (Westmeath).