Rory Hayes a class act on and off the field as Clare destroy Tipp
Clare 3-21 Tipperary 2-16
The Tipperary supporters couldn't believe their eyes.
There was a half an hour gone in the first half of this do-or-die Munster championship game and if you took out its first ten minutes, their team had only scored one point. Clare managed 2-7 in that same period of time and really, after a stuttering, short-pass-filled disappointment of a Sunday, that tells you all you need to know.
You came here expecting a championship classic and what you got was a glorified turkey-shoot.
Ian Galvin roamed around the full forward line and, from the wreckage of that Tipperary panic room, picked off a tidy 1-2 for himself. Not long home from Australia, Peter Duggan too looked lively as did the returning Shane O'Donnell but what makes it all the more humbling for the home side is that, for large parts, Clare weren't even that good.
Their forwards hit some scandalous wides and their backs afforded the Tipperary forward line enough space and enough chances that, watching on from their seats in the O'Riain stand, both Kieran Kingston and John Kiely won't have been quaking in their boots. To be fair, this was Clare's first outing of the championship and the win will do Brian Lohan's side the world of good but for Tipperary, there is no such cause for optimism.
Transitions, retirements or a bad day at the office - you can put it down to whatever you want - but having only rallied when the damage was done, with their forward line only managing 0-3 from play, this was woefully bad from them. And it all came back to indecisiveness. They say that the best players know what they're going to do before they get the ball and while they undoubtedly have potential, neither Mark Kehoe nor Jake Morris were clinical enough in attack while in defence, Tipperary repeatedly ran into trouble with short puck-outs.
By the end of it, you could point the finger at any number of Tipp's failings, but you'd also have to give some of the credit to Clare.
David McInerney sealed the deal late in the second half with a point that was as good as you'd see anywhere. Mark Kehoe was out in front of him along the sideline but the Tulla defender picked his pocket and stuck one just over Brian Hogan's cross-bar from the guts of 80 yards. The Clare crowd roared because it was McInerney at his brilliant best, showing the capabilities they always knew he had and they also knew that this game was over.
Worth coming home from Australia for that 🇦🇺
Peter Duggan scored 1-2 today as Clare made light work of Tipperary in the Munster championship pic.twitter.com/KAHcnCqy5N
— GAA JOE (@GAA__JOE) April 24, 2022
Behind him, the wiry and ever-improving Rory Hayes barely put a foot wrong and should have been the man-0f-the-match. You never like to see a player get injured and after John McGrath went down holding his ankle, Hayes showed his class when he roared at the Tipp physios to make their way over. Brian Lohan too, wished McGrath well as he left the field and in the heat of battle, that was very nice to see.
Colm Bonnar later described the injury as 'serious.'
John Conlon too, is an anchor of conviction in the centre of their defence. Shane O'Donnell and Tony Kelly and the impressive Robyn Mounsey finished it off but in truth, and when they look back on it, Tipperary will realise that, having ran into trouble in the backs and having won very few primary possessions in attack, they finished themselves off.
Their championship looks over. Clare's has just begun.
Brian Hogan, Cathal Barrett (0-1), James Quigley, Craig Morgan, Dillon Quirke, Ronan Maher (0-2), Seamus Kennedy, Dan McCormack, Barry Heffernan (1-0), Jason Forde (0-7, 0-6f, 0-1 sideline), Noel McGrath (0-1), Michael Breen (0-1), Jake Morris, Mark Kehoe (0-1), John McGrath.
Subs: Ger Browne (1-3) for John McGrath (inj, 23), Conor Stakelum for Dan McCormack (HT), Gearoid O'Connor for Jake Morris (49), Alan Flynn for Barry Heffernan (65)
Eibhear Quilligan, Rory Hayes, Conor Cleary, Paul Flanagan, Diarmuid Ryan (0-1), John Conlon, David McInerney (0-1), Shane O'Donnell (0-2), Cathal Malone, Ryan Taylor (0-2), Tony Kelly (1-7, 1-0 pen, 0-5f), David Fitzgerald (0-1), Peter Duggan (1-2), Robyn Mounsey (0-2), Ian Galvin. (1-2)
Patrick Crotty for Ian Galvin (50), Shane Golden for Robyn Mounsey (65), Jason McCarthy for Shane O'Donnell (70), Jack Browne for Ryan Taylor (70 + 3)