After Tipperary managed to steady themselves after facing an early mini crisis against Clare the outcome of this entertaining Munster championship semi final was never in doubt.
It was always going to be a Tipperary Waterford Munster final and while an upset looked possible after Clare surged into a six point lead without Tipperary registering a score the All-Ireland champions as expected brushed aside the challenge of the men from the Banner.
Clare after a rousing start, an opening flourish they and the game needed, faded away and paid the ultimate price for a period of calamitous defending in a nightmare four minute blitz from Tipperary.
Tipperary were slow to match the intensity of Clare from the throw in but basic errors undid a lot of th eir excellent work.
They shipped three goals in four minutes midway through the first half to present Tipperary with a passage back into this contest.
The goals were spectacular but in reality they owed as much to naïve defending as they did to the exemplary finishing power and movement of the Tipperary forwards.
Eoin Kelly, Bonnar Maher and Lar Corbett all punished Clare for shocking defensive lapses and once Tipp edged in front the outcome was never in doubt.
Little was expected of Clare in this fixture but their opening salvo caught Tipperary by surprise.
Championship debutant Conor McGrath scored a screamer of a goal past Brendan Cummins inside the first minute and they added three more points before Tipperary could muster a reply with an Eoin Kelly free in the tenth minute.
Clare were six points in the lead (1.5 to 0-2) before their impressive start started to unravel as their defensive shortcomings were cruelly exposed by the lethal finishing of Tipperary.
Tipp were struggling to get into the game and again as in the Cork game Munster opponents caused problems for Tipp defenders as Clare dominated the opening exchanges with John O’Keeffe and David Young under enormous pressure.
One Tipperary defender however who was on his game from the opening minute Padraic Maher was instrumental in setting up Tipp’s two opening goals.Maher scored an impressive two points from half back but it was his two deliveries in that first half which were his most important contributions on the day.
In the sixteenth minute Mahers clearance caused consternation in the Clare defence.The Clare goalie Philip Brennan decided to come off his line to contest the ball with his corner back Cian Dillon and John O’Brien and it fell to Eoin Kelly to finish off Maher’s clearance after he ghosted in behind the defence.
Over two minutes later another Maher delivery saw two Clare defenders rashly go under the same ball . Cian Dillon and Pat Vaughan went for the ball with Vaughan taking it down into the path of the on running Bonnar Maher who had a clear run on goal .His finish was superb as was Corbetts with a carbon copy goal a minute later.
Again two Clare defenders went under the ball leaving oceans of space for Corbett to run into the breaking ball.
With a neat pick up Corbett did not have to break stride and he coolly found his spot past Philip Brennan .
Clare were shell-shocked and now two points behind Tipp after twenty minutes despite doing most of the hurling.
Tipp had goalie Brendan Cummins to thank for protecting that lead after he came off his line fast to smother a Cathal McInerney shot who was clean through on goal after th irty minutes.
That save ensured Tipperary held a three point lead at the break and in the second half Clare never managed to hurl with the same intensity they managed in the opening quarter.As a result Tipperary were never threatened as they calmly extended their lead with some superb points in the second half to see off Clare.
In the second half it looked all too comfortable for Tipperary and while Clare managed to reduce the deficit to two points with five minutes gone in the second half Tipperary stepped up another gear to extend it out to eight when sub Pa Bourke knocked over his first seventeen minutes into the second half after being introduced as a sub.
To their credit Clare kept plugging away but Curran, O Mahony and the imperious Padraic Maher were dominant in defencewhile Shane McGrath and Gearoid Ryan ensured the Tipperary forwards continued to be supplied with plenty of possession,
Clare managed to reduce the deficit but they could never get it below five and when Callanan slipped in to finish off a Corbett shot that had rebounded off the post in the last minute it was the perfect finish to a game for Tipperary as they cruised their way into another Munster final.
Brendan Cummins,John O’Keeffe,Paul Curran, Michael Cahill,David Young, Conor O’Mahony,Padraic Maher(0.2),Gearoid Ryan (0.2),Shane McGrath (0.2),Seamus Callanan (1-5),Noel McGrath (0.3) , Patrick Maher (1.0),Eoin Kelly (1.3),John O’Brien,Lar Corbett(1.0)
Stephen Lillis for David Young
Paddy Stapleton for John O’Keeffe
Pa Bourke (0.2) for John O’Brien
James Woodlock for Gearoid Ryan
John Coughlan for Paul Curran
Philip Brennan, Pat Vaughan,Conor Cooney, Cian Dillon,Patrick O’Connor,James McInerney(0.1),Patrick Donnellan,Micky O’Connell (0.1),Johathan Clancy(0.2),John Conlon (0.3),Fergal Lynch (0.1),Cathal McInerney (0.2),Diarmuid McMahon (0.2),Darach Honan (0.1),Conor McGrath (1.6)
Sean Collins for Darach Honan
Cormac O Donovan for Nicky O’Connell