Oisin O'Donoghue was Tipperary's goalscorer

Tipp suffer first defeat but still reach Munster Final

With virtually the last puck of the game, Clare’s Conor Whelan whipped over a point to give the Banner a narrow win over Tipperary in this Munster Under 20 Hurling Championship round five clash on Friday evening, however, the defeat was not enough to stop Brendan Cummins’ charges claiming top-spot in the round-robin series and automatic qualification for the final on Friday, 24th May.

GAA: Oneills.com Munster Under 20 Hurling Championship Round 5

Tipperary 1-14

Clare 0-18

Report: Michael Dundon at FBD Semple Stadium


Player of the Match: Conor Whelan (Clare).

SCORERS – Tipperary: Darragh McCarthy 0-6 (5 frees); Oisin O’Donoghue 1-1; Paddy McCormack 0-3; Sam O’Farrell, Conor Martin, Senan Butler, Eoin Horgan (free) 0-1 each.

Clare: Conor Whelan 0-16 (10 frees); Ronan Keane, Niall O’Farrell 0-1 each.

The result led to Tipperary, Clare and Cork all finishing with three wins from four games and when the scoring tallies were factored in, Tipp go through to the final leaving Clare to host Cork in a semi-final next Friday.

It was a disappointing result for Tipperary who had done enough to win and the big concern after the game was the hand injury to Paddy McCormack which forced him out of the game after just nineteen minutes. By then he had hit three points from play and was a constant threat to Clare. Had he been there for the hour, it is likely that Tipp would have won.

McCormack was a big influence as Tipperary opened a 0-4 to 0-1 lead inside eight minutes and appeared to be coasting, despite shooting four wides. But from then to half-time Clare took control, circumventing Ben Currivan’s sweeping role to outscore the home side 0-10 to 0-3.

By the time McCormack left the field, Clare had drawn level at 0-7 each and they continued their charge with a further four unanswered points before the break at which stage their advantage was 0-11 to 0-7.

Tipperary’s slippage was due in part to Clare’s having the favour of the slightly cross-field breeze, but also to Tipp’s opting for goals when points were twice available, some slack shooting early on, and in the second quarter a drop in energy levels.

It was a situation in need of redress, but Clare extended their advantage on resuming with another point from Conor Whelan who hit all but one of their first half points and who appeared unstoppable as he finished with all bar two points of his sides total.

But, encouragingly, in adversity Tipp showed their character. An Oisin O’Donoghue goal in the 34th minute raised the tempo of their game and with Darragh McCarthy (2) and Fergal Horgan, a mighty long-range pointed effort, all on target, Tipp were on terms 1-10 to 0-13 at the three quarter stage.

Senan Butler was posing a threat to Clare with his determined runs, one of which almost yielded a goal in the 43rd minute and though Clare hit the front with another Whelan point, Tipp had points from Darragh McCarthy, Senan Butler and Sam O’Farrell to go 1-13 to 0-14 clear with ten minutes to go.

Advantage Tipperary but Clare were by no means accepting defeat. Senan Butler had a goal-effort saved but Conor Whelan was giving a masterclass in scoring for Clare bringing his side level on the hour, and then, two minutes into injury time nudging them ahead. Tipp had a chance to level, but it tailed wide, and Clare took the honours, although Tipperary won the evening’s prize, a place in the final.

A disappointing result for Tipp who did not reach the levels of the earlier rounds, the consolation being that the evening’s objective, securing a place in the final, was still achieved. The second quarter slump was their undoing as the Clare defence, with the help of a sweeper, nullified Tipp’s attempts to breach their lines in search of goals while at the same time sending quality ball to their attack in which Conor Whelan was outstanding.

Tipp’s best efforts to curtail his impact fell well short but on the positive side, Tipp’s second half showing was heartening, underlining the character of the team, and while this result went against them, there is still every reason for optimism that the provincial crown can be achieved.

It was not an evening when reputations were enhanced but the excellent grafting of Sam O’Farrell and Adam English at midfield, the drive of Conor Martin leading the attack, and the quality of Paddy McCormack in attack were worthy of note, while Senan Butler, Jack Collins, and to a lesser extend Darragh McCarthy also contributed significantly to the Tipperary cause.

Conor Whelan was outstanding for Clare with goalie Mark Sheedy, Niall O’Farrell, James Hegarty, Ronan O’Connor, and Sean Rynne also to the fore.

TEAMS – Tipperary: Eoin Horgan (Knockavilla-Donaskeigh Kickhams); Chris O’Donnell (Ballylooby/Castlegrace), Aaron O’Halloran (Carrick Swan), Podge O’Dwyer (Killenaule); Ronan Connolly (Cashel King Cormacs), Ben Currivan (Golden Kilfeacle, Capt), Jack Collins (Ballina); Sam O’Farrell (Nenagh Eire Og), Adam Daly (Knockavilla-Donaskeigh Kickhams); Cathal English (Father Sheehy’s), Conor Martin (Cappawhite), Oisin O’Donoghue (Cashel King Cormacs); Darragh McCarthy (Toomevara), Paddy McCormack (Borris-Ileigh), Senan Butler (Kilsheelan/Kilcash).

Subs: Eoin Craddock (Holycross/Ballycahill) for McCormack (19 inj); Mason Cawley (Nenagh Eire Og) for Connolly (HT); Ciaran Foley (Borrisokane) for Daly (60+2).

Clare: Mark Sheedy; Eoghan Gunning, Ronan Keane, John Cahill; Evan Maxted, James Hegarty, Jamie Moylan; Ronan O’Connor, Sean Rynne; James Organ, Niall O’Farrell, Ronan Kilroy; Conor Whelan, Jack O’Neill, Michael Collins.

Subs: Senan Dunford for Kilroy (51); Eoin McMahon for Maxted (54); Diarmuid Stritch for Keane (55); Liam Crotty for Collins (59); James Doherty for Organ (59).

Referee: Ciaran O’Regan (Cork).