EAMON O’SHEA’S TIPPERARY romped to a 14-point victory over Clare in this evening’s Waterford Crystal Cup final at a soggy Gaelic Grounds in Limerick.
1248 hardy spectators watched Tipp claim the early-season bragging rights against the All-Ireland champions in the third successive Waterford Crystal final between the counties.
Tipp’s fourth success in this competition, and first since 2012, was achieved with a strong second half performance as they overturned a one-point half-time deficit to claim an impressive win.
Tipp trailed by a point at half-time – 1-10 to 3-5 – after Clare hit 3-1 in five first half minutes to turn the game on its head.
The Premier County led by 0-8 to 0-4 before Michael Heffernan’s scrappy 24th minute goal put daylight between the sides.
But Clare’s response was swift as John Conlon, 2013 Hurler of the Year Tony Kelly and Conor McGrath raised green flags.
Conlon struck in the 26th minute beore Kelly and McGrath registered goals within 60 seconds of each other.
Tipp responded with the closing two points of the first half to remain very much in touch and they were relentless in the second period, outscoring the Banner men by 3-12 to 0-6.
Conor Kenny netted a 38th minute goal for the winners before Denis Maher bagged a brace.
The Thurles Sarsfields man cracked home a fine 48th minute goal and he struck again six minutes later.
Scorers for Tipperary: Seamus Callanan 0-9 (7f), Denis Maher 2-2, Michael Heffernan 1-1, Conor Kenny 1-0, James Woodlock, Kieran Morris & Ruairi Gleeson 0-2 each, Thomas Stapleton, Conor O’Brien (f), Shane Bourke & Steven O’Brien 0-1 each.
Scorers for Clare: Tony Kelly 1-2, John Conlon 1-1, Colin Ryan 0-3 (2f), Conor McGrath 1-0, Cathal O’Connell 0-3 (2f), Peter Duggan 0-2.
CLARE: Patrick Kelly (Inagh-Kilnamona); Paul Flanagan (Ballyea), Cian Dillon (Crusheen), Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge); Conor Cleary (Kilmaley), Patrick Donnellan (O’Callaghans Mills), Patrick O’Connor (Tubber); Shane Golden (Sixmilebridge), Peter Duggan (Clooney Quin); John Conlon (Clonlara), Tony Kelly (Ballyea), Colin Ryan (Newmarket-on-Fergus); David Reidy (Éire Óg), Conor McGrath (Cratloe), Cathal O’Connell (Clonlara).
Subs: Cathal McInerney (Cratloe) for Golden (h.t.), Sean Collins (Cratloe) for Ryan (50), David McInerney (Tulla) for Flanagan (64).
TIPPERARY: Darren Gleeson (Portroe); Cathal Barrett (Holycross-Ballycahill), Conor O’Mahony (Newport), Ronan Maher (Thurles Sarsfields); Shane McGrath (Ballinahinch), Conor O’Brien (Éire Óg Annacarty), Thomas Stapleton (Templederry); James Woodlock (Drom & Inch), Shane Bourke (JK Brackens); Denis Maher (Thurles Sarsfields), Seamus Callanan (Drom & Inch), Paddy Murphy (Nenagh Éire Óg); Kieran Morris (Moycarkey-Borris), Conor Kenny (Borrisoleigh), Michael Heffernan (Nenagh Éire Óg).
Subs: Ruairi Gleeson (Kildangan) for Bourke (63), John O’Dwyer (Killenaule) for Morris (63), Steven O’Brien (Ballina) for Kenny (63), Padraig Heffernan (Clonoulty-Rossmore) for McGrath (66).
Referee: John Sexton (Cork).