Clare 0-16 Tipperary 0-23(2009 Allianz NHL)

Date: 1 Mar 2009
Time: 2.30pm
Venue: Semple Stadium
Defending champions Tipperary’s superior class was all too visible as they romped to an impressive 0-23 to 0-16 over NHL Division One rivals Clare at Semple Stadium.

The defending champions played against the breeze in the first half but nonetheless posted notice of their intention to nick the spoils by nipping into the lead by the odd point in five after just nine minutes.

While Willie Ryan fired over his third point of the game to put the Premier County in the clear, good points from Clare duo Diarmaid McMahon and Barry Nugent kept the Banner County very much in touch.

Tipp remained on the frontfoot though and led by 0-8 to 0-5 after 19 minutes, thanks, in part, to a hat-trick of points from the in-form Willie Ryan.

Team-captain Ryan was again to the fore, following a Tony Griffin point, to stretch the Premier County’s advantage entering the final ten minutes of the first half.

With Ryan rifling over his 7th point, Tipperary were sitting pretty as they led by 0-12 to 0-6 with 28 minutes on the clock.

Tipp continued to play with exhuberance and confidence despite the fact that they lost top scorer Ryan through injury and the fact also that Clare continued to play with the aid of the breeze.

Inspired at the back by Diarmaid Fitzgerald, Tipp’s lead looked assured but then Niall Gilligan, Colin Ryan and Tony Griffin all pointed to add to Clare’s renewed momentum.

Clare - seeking to put two defeats behind them - worked overtime to get back on level terms and scored four points without reply.

Points reined in before the break with Paul Kelly and Noel McGrath among the scorers as the homesters went in at the interval leading by 0-12 to 0-10.

Seamus Callinan and Noel McGrath went onto make it 0-15 to 0-11 before Clare suffered a blow when Tony Griffin received his marching orders.

There was still five points between the sides, after 47 minutes (0-16 to 0-11) but that difference was extended to six (0-20 to 0-14) entering the final 12 minutes.

It was clear that Clare needed a goal to get them out of jail and they got a lift when Benny Dunne received a yellow card.

Thomas Stapleton then made it 0-17 to 0-11 after 48 minutes before sub Lar Corbett added to Clare with another gem before Jonathan Clancy hit back with a similar score for the Banner County.

Tipp eased into a 0-22 to 0-15 lead and while their opponents gave as good as they got in the dying minutes, there was simply no way back for the Banner boys despite some excellent points from Barry Nugent.