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All Ireland Hurling championship: Clare 1-22 Tipperary 3-18

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Tipperary survived a superb Clare fightback to win in the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday and seal their place in the Munster final.

Although they led for the entire game, at stages by large margins, Clare produced a remarkable run of point scoring to get within two points at the end, only to be denied by a superb save by Brendan Cummins from a Colin Ryan free.

Munster SHC Semi-Final:
Clare 1-22 Tipperary 3-18

Tipperary were 1-6 to 0-1 up after 10 minutes with Lar Corbett striking the early goal and Seamus Callanan's major later in the half put them 11 in front.

However, Diarmuid McMahon hit a superb goal before the break to revive Clare.

A third Tipp goal in the second half through John O'Brien looked like it would finally kill off the Banner, but inspired by the scoring brilliance of debutant Ryan, they kept reducing the lead.

In the final play of the match, Ryan, who scored 0-12 in all, smashed a free from distance straight towards the top corner of the net but Cummins had made a series of top saves throughout and he delivered again at the key moment to give Tipp the spoils.

Central to Tipperary's win was prodigy McGrath, who hit six points in a cultured display.

Although Clare had two revivals within the first half, it ultimately belonged to Tipperary, who nullified the Banner Men for long periods.

Tipp got off to a blistering start and were 1-6 to 0-1 up within ten minutes. McGrath and Lar Corbett were key in the opening salvo with Corbett striking the decisive goal when he slotted past Philip Brennan.

However, Clare managed to temper this early onslaught with Ryan hitting three points to add to a classy one from Tony Griffin.

Then though, Tipperary upped it a gear again with McGrath striking over a wondrous sideline cut. It was a sensational score, and was quickly followed by a decisive goal from Callanan.

The classy forward broke free near the goals and cracked a low drive straight to the net. It put Tipp 11 points clear and they were pulling away, even though they hadn't really clicked into top gear.

Just shy of half-time though, Clare pulled themselves back into the game and it was all down to McMahon, who hit a fabulous goal and point in the space of a minute.

The goal was sublime, a stunning catch in the air from a Pat Donnellan pass and then a precise finish into the corner of the net.

He followed it up with a point as well to give Clare a lifeline as they went in at half-time.

Clare started the second half quite well and got within four points with the excellent Ryan striking over a free.

However, Tipperary then embarked on a run which ultimately proved the winning of the match. The brilliant McGrath, Woodlock and Corbett all pointed before O'Brien lashed in Tipp's third goal of the day.

Corner-back Paddy Stapleton, making only his second Championship appearance, did brilliantly to set up Corbett who crossed across the square for O'Brien.

He took the ball easily in his stride before flicking home. It was hard to see a way back for Clare from there.

Eoin Kelly pointed a free seconds later but Clare continued to fight and a quick flurry of points, two coming from Ryan and another from the outstanding McMahon, reduced the gap to two goals again.

Clare's battling was admirable, because at stages Tipperary had threatened to power well clear. Ryan continued to chip away at the Premier's lead and with little over five minutes remaining, there was only three points in it after Ryan's ninth point of the day flew over straight after a battling score from substitute John Conlon.

Clare's tide was rising and Tipperary were beginning to flounder, surrendering possession easily and missing chances when they came.

Colin Ryan hit another blockbuster over to leave two in it and the Tipperary tension was materialising all over the pitch.

Mike McNamara's side were also beginning to pump ball into their full-forward line from distance and goal chances were being created.

With a goal in it at the end, Ryan fired the sliotar at goal in the hope of salvaging a draw but Cummins' heroics, as ever, left Tipp in the clear.

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