Electric Ireland Munster Minor Hurling Championship Play-Off
Clare 1-23 Tipperary 0-12
The Tipperary minor hurling team was absolutely hammered at Cusack Park, Ennis on Wednesday evening. It was as simple as that. The short-sighted may highlight the sending off of Tommy Nolan as a key turning point, but, ultimately, the Clare lads were miles ahead of their Tipperary counterparts.
Playing with a reasonable breeze in the opening half Tipperary led 0-10 to 0-9 in the 29th minute when the Drom & Inch man was shown a straight red card for connecting carelessly with the head of Clare goalkeeper Jason Loughnane.
Thereafter Clare took over and although Willie Connors and Chris McCullagh were also shown straight red cards it was frightening to note that Tipperary could only manage two points during the remainder of this encounter. Indeed, were it not for the outstanding display of Darragh Peters at centre-back the final deficit could have been much, much greater.
Michael O’Malley cracked over a fine point to hand Clare the lead in the second minute. Tipperary’s Stephen Quirke and Clare’s Liam O’Donovan traded points thereafter before consecutive frees from Alan Tynan handed Tipperary a 0-3 to 0-2 lead by the eighth minute.
Michael Dunne then set up Stephen Quirke for a terrific long-range point, but Brian Guilfoyle hit back almost immediately for the home side - 0-4 to 0-3 in the ninth minute.
Playing with the breeze Tipperary then enjoyed their most dominant period of the game with points from Alan Tynan (free) and Stephen Quirke forcing the Premier into a 0-6 to 0-3 lead.
Then came Tipperary’s finest point of the game - in the 13th minute Alan Tynan won a ruck ball and smacked over a right-handed effort from distance to hand Tipp a 0-7 to 0-3 advantage.
Clare responded to the challenge with points from wing-back Jason McCarthy and Aaron Shanagher (two, one free) to leave a point in it (0-7 to 0-6) by the 18th minute.
Points from Stephen Quirke and Tommy Nolan left three in it by the 19th, but some prevailing patterns in the game were already a concern from a Tipperary point of view. Clare full-forward Aaron Shanagher was starting to emerge as a real force and the Tipp management opted to re-locate Paul Maher to full-back to deal with the threat.
Three Aaron Shanagher frees had Clare back on terms by the 25th minute (0-9 apiece) - in twelve minutes against the wind the Banner had now out-scored Tipperary 0-6 to 0-2.
In the 29th minute a Tipperary shot dropped short and as Clare goalkeeper Jason Loughnane effected his clearance Tommy Nolan mistimed his challenge and connected with the head of the Sixmilebridge man. Referee Nathan Wall (Cork) did not stop play. Tipperary won the ball in the middle third of the field and Alan Tynan converted from distance to hand his side a 0-10 to 0-9 lead. It was at this juncture that referee Nathan Wall, following consultation with his umpires, presented Tommy Nolan with a straight red card. At the break members of the Tipperary travelling party made their disgust with the decision known to the referee.
Immediately after the interval Andrew Coffey roused the travelling support with a super point off his right hand, but within two minutes Clare were level thanks to points from Aaron Shanagher (free) and Michael O’Shea (0-11 apiece).
An Aaron Shanagher free presented Clare with the lead in the 36th minute before the Tipperary lads survived a disconcerting goalmouth scramble.
Clare moved up through the gears with three points from Aaron Shanagher (two frees) and led 0-15 to 0-11 by the 41st minute.
By now the Tipperary full-back line was under incredible pressure and were fortunate not to concede a goal in the 42nd minute when Páraic McNamara’s shot was deflected out for a ’65 which Aaron Shanagher converted.
Tipperary enjoyed a wonderful opportunity to drag themselves back into the game in the 45th minute when Stephen Quirke sent Pa Ryan racing through on goal. Although Ryan could have passed to the unmarked Liam Fahey on his left Ryan went for goal and was hooked. And, here the gulf in class was illustrated between the sides. In three stick passes Clare moved that turnover ball down the field to where Ian Galvin smacked over a routine point. The Alan Cunningham-coached side now led 0-17 to 0-11.
Aaron Shanagher then converted another Clare free before Willie Connors was shown a straight red card in the 49th minute following two wild pulls on Clare wing-forward Ian Galvin. There could be little complaint about the referee’s decision in this instance and in the 50th minute Aaron Shanagher rifled a left-handed penalty into the roof of Brian Hogan’s net - 1-18 to 0-11.
Two minutes later Chris McCullagh connected with the head of Brian Guilfoyle under a dropping ball and was shown a straight red card - that infraction reduced a broken-hearted Tipperary team to twelve men.
In the ensuing four minutes Clare fired over four points while the Banner full-back line had a chat amongst themselves at the opposite end of the field - Aaron Shanagher (free), Brian Guilfoyle, Colin Corbett and Stephen Conway were responsible for these efforts.
Michael Dunne managed Tipperary’s first point in twenty-seven minutes with two to play, but Clare enjoyed the final say in the matter with an Ian Galvin effort in injury time.
Tipperary: Brian Hogan (Lorrha-Dorrha, captain), Conor Ryan (Nenagh Éire Óg), Jack Skehan (Holycross-Ballycahill), Willie Connors (Kildangan), Andrew Coffey (Nenagh Éire Óg, 0-1), Darragh Peters (Kilruane MacDonagh’s), Paul Maher (Kilsheelan-Kilcash), Bill O’Connell (Loughmore-Castleiney), Billy McCarthy (Thurles Sarsfields), Liam McCutcheon (Templederry Kenyons), Stephen Quirke (Moyle Rovers, 0-4), Alan Tynan (Roscrea, 0-5, 0-3 frees), Paul Ryan (Toomevara), Michael Dunne (Mullinahone, 0-1), Tommy Nolan (Drom & Inch, 0-1). Subs: (27th) Pa Ryan (Newport) for Liam McCutcheon, (32nd) Liam Fahey (Rockwell Rovers) for Billy McCarthy, (43rd) Chris McCullagh (Moycarkey-Borris) for Paul Ryan.
Clare: Jason Loughnane, Rory Hayes, Séamus Downey, Ciarán Cooney, David Fitzgerald, Darragh Walsh, Jason McCarthy (0-1), Michael O’Malley (0-1), Páraic McNamara, Ian Galvin (0-2), Michael O’Shea (0-1), Colin Corbett (0-1), Brian Guilfoyle (0-2), Aaron Shanagher (1-13, 0-10 frees, 1-0 penalty, 0-1 ’65), Liam O’Donovan (0-1). Subs: (44th) Stephen Conway (0-1) for Liam O’Donovan, (58th) Darren Chaplin for Colin Corbett, (58th) Colm Fitzgerald for Brian Guilfoyle), (60th) Conor O’Halloran for Michael O’Malley.
Referee: Nathan Wall (Cork).