Tipperary 2-16 1-11 Clare | Semple Stadium
The National Hurling League kicked off in a wind-swept Semple Stadium Saturday night with Liam Sheedy’s men overpowering last year’s All-Ireland semi-finalists.
The star of the show was new Tipperary captain, Seamie Callanan who registered 2-7 to power his side to victory over a Clare team who finished with 14 men, following the controversial dismissal of Tony Kelly.
Tipperary started the first half with a strong wind to their back and utilized it fully with a flurry of early scores. Callanan had an early penalty denied by a well judged save by Clare shot stopper, Donal Tuohy. A subsequent penalty for a Cathal Barrett foul at the opposite end finished with Niall Deasy converting a skillfully placed shot.
Callanan kept Tipperary ticking with five well placed frees, with Noel McGrath and Jake Morris pitching 0-3 and 0-2 respectively. Clare trailed by seven points at half time, but will have been buoyed with the thought of a second half breeze.
Clare started strong in the second half, taking advantage of the prevailing breeze. The Banner men had clawed back the gap to five points when Tony Kelly was shown red by referee Colm Lyons for a high challenge to the helmet of Paudie Maher, the 2013 Hurler of the Year seemingly falling foul of new directives from HQ to punish harshly any aggressive contact with the helmet.
Tipperary seized the advantage and two quick goals from Callanan all but finished the game as a contest. Clare conceded a final penalty, which the Tipperary skipper pointed before Clare closed out the game with a few consolation points.
Liam Sheedy will be undoubtedly happy with the win and the performance of some of his young guns, especially Jake Morris. Clare will look to strong performances from Shane Golden and solid returns to action of marksmen, John Conlon and Peter Duggan.
Attention for both counties will now turn to the next week, with Tipperary visiting the Gaelic Grounds next Saturday to face All-Ireland champions Limerick, while Clare will welcome Brian Cody’s Kilkenny to Cusack Park.
Tipperary: Seamus Callanan 2-7 (0-6f, 0-1 pen), Noel McGrath 0-3, Jake Morris 0-2, Alan Flynn, Michael Breen, Willie Connors, Robert Byrne 0-1 each.
Clare: Peter Duggan 0-4 (0-3f, 0-1 ’65), Niall Deasy 1-1 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), Tony Kelly, Michael O’Malley (0-1f, 0-1 ’65) 0-2 each, Padraic Collins, John Conlon 0-1 each.
1. Brian Hogan (Lorrha-Dorrha)
2. Cathal Barrett (Hollycross-Ballycahill)
3. Padraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)
4. Donagh Maher (Burgess)
5. Alan Flynn (Kiladangan)
6. Ronan Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)
22. Barry Heffernan (Nenagh Éire Óg)
8. Michael Breen (Ballina)
18. Robert Byrne (Portroe)
10. Dan McCormack (Borris-Ileigh)
11. Noel McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney)
12. Patrick Maher (Lorrha-Dorrha)
19. Willie Connors (Kiladangan)
14. Seamus Callanan (Drom-Inch)
15. Jake Morris (Nenagh Éire Óg)
Mark Kehoe (Kilsheelan-Kilcash) for McGrath (61), John O’Dwyer (Killenaule) for Morris (64), Killian O’Dwyer (Killenaule) for Donagh Maher (70), Cian Darcy (Kilruane McDonaghs) for Byrne (72)
1. Donal Tuohy (Crusheen)
20. Jack Browne (Ballyea)
3. David McInerney (Tulla)
2. Jason McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona)
7. Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge)
6. Conor Cleary (St Joseph’s Miltown Malbay)
5. Aidan McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona)
8. Shane Golden (Sixmilebridge)
9. Tony Kelly (Ballyea)
10. Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe)
11. Niall Deasy (Ballyea)
12. Ryan Taylor (Clooney-Quin)
13. Colin Guilfoyle (Newmarket-on-Fergus)
25. John Conlon (Clonlara)
15. Michael O’Neill (Kilmaley)
Colm Galvin (Clonlara) for Jason McCarthy (half-time), Padraic Collins (Cratloe) for O’Neill (half-time), Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin) for Deasy (half-time), Michael O’Malley (Kilmaley) for Taylor (52), Ian Galvin (Clonlara) for Conlon (64)
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