Darragh McVicker celebrates Tipp’s victory. Photo: Bridget Delaney

Late surge sees Tipp lower the Banner

Tipperary ensured that their Munster Under 20 Football Championship destiny remained in their own hands after a storming finish to Saturday’s round 2 tie in West Clare.

GAA: EirGrid Munster Under 20 Football Championship Phase 1 Round 2

Clare 1-6

Tipperary 1-8

Report: Eoin Brennan at Páirc Naomh Mhuire, Quilty


Player of the Match: Orrin Jones (Tipperary)

SCORERS - Clare: Aaron Kelly 1-0; Daire Culligan (1 free), Eanna Rouine 0-2 each; Sean McMahon, Darren Keane (free) 0-1 each.

Tipperary: Orrin Jones 1-4 (0-1 free); Michael Freaney, Conal Grogan (free), Robbie McGrath (45), Joe Higgins 0-1 each.

Despite a hard-working display into the strong gale that prevailed in the seaside village of Quilty, Niall Fitzgerald’s side bizarrely lost their way with the conditions as a sucker-punch home goal only two minutes into the new half stunned the visitors and left them trailing by four points entering the final quarter.

However, what Clare didn’t possess was a talismanic forward like Orrin Jones as the Arravale Rovers star altered the narrative of this tie irrevocably with a stunning 50th minute finish to the roof of Cian Corry’s net and duly followed up with the equalising free only two minutes later at 1-6 apiece.

“He can play a bit alright” admitted manager Niall Fitzgerald afterward with a wry smile.

“Look, Orrin has a really bright future. You don’t need to manage him, you just go and let him do his thing and he did again today. He’s so talented and he lives for the big occasion so when you’re looking for someone to show up and take the game by the scruff of the neck, he inevitable did today and camp up trumps for us.”

Jones’ inspiration proved the turning point as now with the wind in their sails as well as at their backs, there was only going to be one winner as a ’45 from goalkeeper Robbie McGrath was accentuated by an insurance point from Joe Higgins to seal a rousing first victory.

“Coming down to West Clare playing a really well organised team, we knew it was going to be tough. Conceding a goal just after half-time really put us on the backfoot at a time when we should have been pushing forward but that was an obstacle that the lads eventually got over and we’re delighted that they did,” beamed Fitzgerald.

The Game

While the wind-assisted hosts were inevitably in the ascendency in terms of possession, an obstinate Tipperary ensured that it was the first half procession that the Clare support might have expected.

If anything, each missed opportunity not only deeply frustrated the partizan crown in the main stand along with fuelling the visitors confidence that they were firmly on the right track.

“We did a lot of good work in the first half, and we felt that maybe we deserved to be level by half-time but maybe our own mistakes let Clare back into the game towards the end of the first half,” outlined Fitzgerald.

It was a totally accurate assessment as despite early points through Daire Culligan and Sean McMahon by the start of the second quarter, Clare had also racked up seven wides which left the door ajar for a patient Tipp side.

Orrin Jones picked off an excellent opening score for the visitors in the 23rd minute before Michael Freaney punished their opponents on the restart with a levelling point from the right wing.

It forced the Banner to up the ante, something which they admirably did towards the final few minutes as a worthy Eanna Rouine point was bolstered by an injury-time strike for Daire Culligan to inch Clare into a 0-4 to 0-3 interval lead.

The second period was only two minutes old when the script was shredded once more as Clare corner-back Kelly played a one-two with Luke Pyne before his shot for a point dipped viciously into the top right corner of Robbie McGrath’s goal.

It meant that despite a strong wind at their backs, Tipperary were rather up against it once more as buoyed by that score, Clare twice cancelled out Orrin Jones points to hold a 1-6 to 0-5 advantage entering the final ten minutes.

“In fairness, they could have dropped their heads, but they didn’t,” continued Fitzgerald.

“We knew we had to attack it in the second half and that was underpinned when we conceded that goal as we had even more work to do then but the lads showed huge character and we’re also lucky to have lads come off the bench and make a huge impact.”

It proved the perfect combination as Jones’ emphatic goal in the 50th minute after a flowing back-to-front counter-attack provide the catalyst for a stirring six point turnaround to ensure that Tipperary will cement a place in phase 2 next Saturday if they can overcome Waterford.

“We simply had to win today but we’re under no illusions, we’ve another tough away match next weekend as we go down to Waterford and that’s going to be a battle,” warned the Tipperary manager.

“While Clare probably pulled away against a fourteen-man Waterford towards the end of the game, it was a 50/50 game for long periods and by all means they showed that again today by coming back to get within a point of Limerick. So, we know it’s going to be a tough game and we have to be ready for it.”

TEAMS - Clare: Cian Corry (7); Aaron Kelly (7), Sean McAllister (7), Conor Kearney (7); Josh Moloney (7), Odhran Cunningham (7), Luke Pyne (7); Joshua Vaughan (7), Eanna Rouine (7); Cillian Gavin (6), Sean Neylon (6), Darren Keane (7); Conor Fennell (6), Daire Culligan (7), Sean McMahon (6)

Subs: Tom Curran (6) for Neylon (7 inj), Padraic O’Dwyer (6) for Fennell (HT); Cathal Talty (6) for Gavin (43); Evan Cahill (6) for Pyne (55).

Tipperary: Robbie McGrath (Galtee Rovers 7); Sean O’Meara (Grangemockler/Ballyneale 8), Eoin O’Connell (Loughmore/Castleiney 7), Mark Corcoran (Clonmel Commercials 7); Thomas Charles (Clonmel Commercials 7), Jack O’Neill (Ardfinnan 7), Charlie King (Ballina, Capt, 7); Joe Higgins (Clonmel Commercials 7), Eoin Doocey (Arravale Rovers 7); Michael Freaney (Kilsheelan/Kilcash 7), Joseph Lawrence (Rockwell Rovers 6), Ben Carey (Ballylooby/Castlegrace 6); Conal Grogan (Galtee Rovers 6), Orrin Jones (Arravale Rovers 8), Darragh McVicker (Clonmel Og 6).

Subs: Killian Butler (Moyle Rovers 6) for Carey (40); Cian Smith (Clonmel Commercials 6) for McVicker (40), Daithi Hogan (St. Patrick’s 6) for Lawrence (47); Paddy O’Keeffe (Moyle Rovers 6) for Grogan (58).

Referee: Donnacha O’Callaghan (Limerick).

The Tipperary Under 20 Footballers will play Waterford this Saturday afternoon at 2pm in Lemybrien.

Following on from last weekends victory over Clare, the Tipperary Under 20 Manager Niall Fitzgearld has named the following team and subs for the game.

1 Robbie McGrath Galtee Rovers

2 Jack O’Neill Ardfinnan

3 Eoin O’Connell Loughmore/Castleiney

4 Mark Corcoran Clonmel Commercials

5 Charlie King Ballina

6 Sean O'Meara Grangemockler/Ballyneale

7 Darragh O’Brien Aherlow

8 Joe Higgins Clonmel Commercials

9 Eoin Doocey Arravale Rovers

10 Thomas Charles Clonmel Commercials

11 Joseph Lawrence Rockwell Rovers

12 Michael Freaney Kilsheelan/Kilcash

13 Orrin Jones Arravale Rovers

14 Conal Grogan Galtee Rovers

15 Shane Ryan Ardfinnan

16 Shane Ryan Clonmel Commercials

17 Killian Butler Moyle Rovers

18 Ben Carey Ballylooby/Castlegrace

19 Daithi Hogan St. Patricks

20 Darragh McVicker Clonmel Og

21 Tommy O’Connor Kilsheelan/Kilcash

22 Paddy O’Keeffe Moyle Rovers

23 Cian Smith Clonmel Commercials

24 Daragh Spillane Fethard