Peter Duggan of Clare and Tipperary's Conor Bowe battle for possession. [Inpho/Ryan Byrne]

Clare too strong for Tipperary

Clare 1-24 Tipperary 2-13

This game almost broke out into a contest after half-time but quickly retreated into a case of one-way traffic, as had been the case in the first half where Clare totally dominated a subdued and squandermanic Tipp crew at Portlaoise on Sunday afternoon.

The Banner boys were nine points to the good at one stage of this boring first half and by game’s end were still eight ahead of a Premier outfit that looks like they won’t be serious contenders if this is the best they have to offer.

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Clare have been the nearly men of recent seasons, losing in successive All Ireland semi-finals to Kilkenny who they will now face in the League Final on April 7.

Whether the Brian Lohan area delivers or continues to fall short will be answered in that final where you can be sure Kilkenny will be lusting for a national trophy like they always do.

Minus the likes of Tony Kelly and Shane O’Donnell, it is doubtful if the Banner has the artillery to shoot down the Cats but in fairness the replacements on duty stepped up to the mark against admittedly a poor Tipp outfit.

Although Mark Rodgers had started brilliantly at centre-forward and had three points to his credit before missing a goal chance he created for himself, he had to go off injured and his replacement Aidan McCarthy showed the Banner strength in depth by reeling off eight points for the rest of the game with big David Fitzgerald weighing in with 1-3 from midfield.

Tipp had a touch of the Limericks from the previous day with their placed ball shooters out of touch. The normally reliable Jason Forde shot as many wides from frees as he converted - five - while Gearoid O’Connor, Willie Connors and Sean Ryan between them accounted for a further four wides from frees. When you add 10 wides from play to that tally, it is perhaps not surprising that the Premier were so far away on the scoreboard for all but a few minutes of the second half when they managed to reduce the lead to two points 1-16 to 2-13.

That was thanks to sub Seán Hayes’s goal allied to a number of points but no sooner had the hurricane whipped up than it fizzled out, allowing Clare to quietly assume control once more to the end.

Clare: É Quilligan; C Leen, C Cleary, A Hogan (0-1); D Ryan (0-1), J Conlon, C Galvin (0-1); C Malone (0-1), D Lohan (0-1); D Fitzgerald (1-3), D Reidy (0-3), P Duggan; K Smyth (0-2), M Rodgers (0-3f), I Galvin Subs: A McCarthy (0-08, 0-6f, 0-1 65) for Rodgers (22-f-t, temp), S Morey for Lohan (47-54, temp), S Meehan for Smyth (52), Morey for Conlon (56), S Rynne for I Galvin (63), Rory Hayes for Hogan (66), P Crotty for Reidy (70+2).

Tipperary: B Hogan; C Morgan, R Maher, B O’Mara; D McCormack (0-1), R Byrne, M Breen; W Connors (0-1), C Bowe; C Stakelum, G O’Connor, D Stakelum; J Morris (1-2), P Maher, J Forde (0-6, 0-5f) Subs: A Tynan (0-1) for D Stakelum (h-t), S Hayes (1-00) for P Maher (h-t), S Kenneally (0-1) for C Stakelum (43), Johnny Ryan for Bowe (55), S Ryan (0-1f) for O’Connor (61).

Ref: L Gordon (Galway).