AHL: Clare stun Tipp as Cats cruise

by Kieran O'Daly , 03 April 2016

Clare, Waterford and Kilkenny won through to the Allianz Hurling League semi-finals, while two late goals condemned Galway to the drop as Cork secured their Division 1A status for next year.

A late Aron Shanagher goal helped Clare hit back to edge out Tipperary by 2-13 to 0-18 in a tight encounter in Ennis.

John Conlan's goal midway through the opening half gave Davy Fitzgerald's side a slender 1-07 to 0-08 advantage at the break.

The Premier County were guilty of some wasteful free-taking either side of half time and could have been comfortably ahead.

They upped the tempo after the break and moved into a three-point lead with just under ten minutes remaining.

But points from Cathal O'Connell and Conlon and Shanagher's strike gave Clare an unlikely lead which they managed to hang onto as Tipp's sharpshooters badly misfired.

Waterford bounced back from a disastrous start to see off a gallant Wexford side by 0-17 to 1-13 at Wexford Park.

The Yellow Bellies raced into a 0-07 to 0-01 lead inside the opening quarter before the Deise slowly fought their way back into the game.

They registered four unanswered points of their own and were just a single score down at 0-9 to 0-08 at the break.

It appeared that normal service had been restored for the reigning champions after the restart and they edged into a four-point lead as the game headed into it final five minutes.

But Conor McDonald found the net through a forest of legs before Harry Kehoe pointed to level matters.

It looked like a major surprise could be on the cards, but Maurice Shanahan calmly slotted the winner for the Deise in injury time to book a semi-final date with Limerick.

In the remaining quarter-final tie, Kilkenny destroyed Offaly by 6-20 to 0-14 in a one-sided affair at Nowlan Park.

The Cats raced out of the blocks and goals from Kevin Kelly and Colin Fennelly saw them open up a 2-10 to 0-01 lead within the opening 27 minutes.

The Faithful recovered slightly but they were still well off the pace at 2-11 to 0-05 at the break.

The floodgates opened after the restart as Fennelly found the net for the second time on 40 minutes.

Goals from John Power, Lester Ryan and new-kid-on-the-block Liam Blanchfield followed as the home side cruised to a semi-final showdown with Clare in a fortnight's time.

Meanwhile, Cork miraculously retained their top flight status as two late goals helped them to a 2-22 to 0-25 victory over Galway in the AHL Division 1A relegation play-off at the Pearse Stadium in Salthill.

The Rebels lost every single one of their group matches, but it is Galway who will be playing in Division 1B next season.

Goals from Seamus Harnedy and Patrick Horgan in the last nine minutes proved decisive in a ding-dong battle as even 13 points from the talismanic Joe Canning proved insufficient for brave Galway.

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