Munster claimed this year’s interprovincial hurling title after a late goal from Clare’s Aaron Shanagher.
Just 592 people turned out to Semple Stadium in Thurles on Thursday evening, and the win gives them their 46th title which stretches their lead at the top of the table for most overall wins.
They are followed by Leinster, who won the last competition in 2014 as last year’s renewal was cancelled, with 29 wins, followed by Connacht on 11 wins and Ulster with none, despite being losing finalists in 1945, 1992, 1993 and 1995.
In a close encounter Leinster actually held a five-point lead on three occasions in the second half, before the eventual winners hit an impressive unanswered 1-5 in the closing minutes to seal the win. Two early points from Tipperary star Seamus Callanan aided Munster to a 0-4 to nil lead after seven minutes, but some great play from Leinster in the next eight minutes saw them level 0-6 apiece with their opponents.
Dan McCormack scored two on the trot to stretch the lead slightly more, before Leinster shot 1-3 unreplied thanks to a superb TJ Reid goal. It came as he ran in from the left touchlines to put in a blazing shot that went beyond the reach of Darren Gleeson. He had a brilliant first half, as he shot 1-2 of his 1-4 from play.
Munster were unlucky not have scored their own goal when Clare’s David Reidy’s effort came bouncing back off of James Dempsey’s crossbar earlier on.
Leinster went in as 1-10 to 0-9 leaders but Munster brought on a whole host of replacements in the second half, with Shanagher proving to be the most decisive.
Munster clawed themselves level at 1-14 each after a Reidy goal, but they had no sooner equalised then Lee Chin of Wexford cancelled it out within a minute.
Munster would use each and every one of their available substitutes and Alan Cadogan, of Cork, got three point from play in the second half and Barry Nash scored too.
After the scores were level for the final time Stephen Bennett got the point that claimed the lead before Shanagher’s goal sealed the win, with the rising Clare star having only come on the field in the 50th minute and scoring nine minutes later.
MUNSTER: D Gleeson (Tipperary); B Coughlan (Waterford), J Barry (Tipperary), N Connors (Waterford); D Byrnes (Limerick, 0-1), C Dillon (Clare), P Maher (Tipperary); B Maher (Tipperary), J Barron (Waterford, 0-1); D McCormack (Tipperary, 0-2), M Breen (Tipperary, 0-1), Shane Bennett (Waterford); J O’Dwyer (Tipperary), S Callanan (Tipperary, 0-7, 4f 1 65), D Reidy (Clare, 1-2) SUBS: N McGrath (Tipperary) for Shane Bennett, A Cadogan (Cork, 0-3) for B Maher, B Nash (Limerick, 0-2) for McCormack, S Dowling (Limerick) for O’Dwyer, A Shanagher (Clare, 1-0) for Breen, Stephen Bennett (Waterford, 0-1) for Barron, S Fives (Waterford) for Coughlan, T Murnane (Kerry) for Dillon, C Lynch (Limerick) for Callanan
LEINSTER: J Dempsey (Offaly); M Whelan (Laois), T Doyle (Westmeath), L Ryan (Wexford); P Walsh (Kilkenny), K Joyce (Kilkenny), C Crummey (Dublin); C Fogarty (Kilkenny), S Ryan (Offaly); W Walsh (Kilkenny, 0-4), L Chin (Wexford, 1-1), C Dwyer (Laois, 0-2); S Dooley (Offaly, 0-1), TJ Reid (Kilkenny, 1-6, 4f), G Keegan (Kildare, 0-2). SUBS: M Kavanagh (Carlow) for Dooley (27), E Murphy (Kilkenny) for Keegan (h.t.), Keegan for S Ryan (46)
The GAA have released a new graphic to clarify the new ‘mark’ rule ahead of it being officially introduced to Gaelic football on January 1.