Tipperary manager TJ Connolly (Cashel King Cormacs) will probably shake his head for a long time over this one.
Despite conceding two early goals and falling six behind his under-21 side responded in positive fashion and led by four (1-16 to 2-9) with fifteen minutes to play.
However, lady luck it transpired was in mischevious mood and Clare pegged the Premier back before streaking to a 5-19 to 1-25 win after extra-time.
“We are gutted. Look, I can’t ask for any more of our team than that,” a proud TJ Connolly told the Tipperary Star.
“I am gutted and I am gutted for our players,” he said.
“We put in a savage effort to come down here and overturn the All-Ireland champions and I feel that in normal time we should have done,” TJ Connolly added.
The Cashel man was joined on the managemeant team by selectors Ken Dunne (Toomevara), Niall Curran (Mullinahone) and Noel Morris (Loughmore-Castleiney).
“We needed to be four up and five up and six up,” TJ Connolly explained as he reflected on the Clare comeback which saw the home side win the final quarter 1-4 to 0-3.
“Clare are always going to come back at you. You can’t take your eye off the ball here. We were four up and we probably should have went five up. Then we were a point up and we probably should have cleared the ball a bit quicker. The players gave it everything they have and emptied the tank. That’s what we asked them to do. We are so proud of them, but very disappointed,” TJ Connolly added.
On another night one or two balls could have bounced in Tipperary’s favour, but, sadly, they did not.
“That’s the rub of the green on the night. That’s hurling. Sometimes you get them, but we don’t seem to be getting them at the moment,” TJ Connolly explained before declaring a bright future for Tipperary hurling.
“We have great talent in Tipp and a lot of them boys will hurl senior for Tipp down along the line.
“I think people don’t realise the talent that we have in Tipp,” Connolly insisted.
“When people saw our team I think it brought another couple of hundred people down from Tipp tonight,” TJ Connolly added.
“Man for man everyone gave it everything. The boys that came in off the line gave it everything. As I said, and I may be repeating myself, we could not have asked for more than that.”
TJ Connolly also had some encouraging words for John Meagher who was shown a straight red card in the 60th minute following a tangle with Clare’s Peter Duggan.
“Every manager will think that a sending off is harsh enough. I thought it was a bit harsh, but it was fifteen against fifteen for extra-time so there are no bones about it,” TJ Connolly said.
“He is gutted because John has been suffering with injuries since his minor days.
“He is absolutely gutted inside, but he was an absolute tower of strength for the time that he was in there.
“Eamon O’Shea will have John Meagher in the senior team next year, hopefully.”