It was a titantic struggle and a great advertisement for the game. The young hurlers of Galway and Clare slugged it out in the All-Ireland under-21 hurling semi-final at Semple Stadium until finally extra time saw Clare take the honours.
With a scoreline of 3 - 23 to 5 - 15, the two sides provided a scoring feast, led by their two aces Galway’s Joe Canning and Clare’s Darach Honan.
Galway, without a championship game played, may have started as favourites, but Clare proved their first Munster title victory over Waterford was no fluke. They now advance to their first All Ireland final at u-21 level.
After finishing level at 3 - 12 to 2 - 15, both sides deserved a draw.
Galway manager Anthony Cunningham said: "We'd have loved the draw, but best of luck to Clare now in the final. I hope they go on to win it, it would be super to see one of the non-traditional counties do it."
"The game could have gone either way, but Clare got over the line, we didn't. But it was one hell of a game, we saw two wonderful teams and two wonderful hurlers in Joe Canning and Darach Honan.”
Sean Collins opened the scoring for Clare within the first minute, but once again Joe Canning led the scoring, sending two frees to the net - on 11 and 24 minutes. It was not all one-way traffic. Galway goalkeeper James Skehill had to be on his toes, tipping over Honan’s goal-bound shot, and points from Honan and Colin Ryan kept Clare in touch.
Ahead 2 - 8 to 0 - 9 at the break, Galway looked capable of surging ahead, but Honan reduced the gap to two points a minute after the break when he fired to the net before Skehill was once again called on to save another Honan effort.
Thereafter both sides played out the remainder neck and neck. Clare edged in front when Conor McGrath batted a rebound to the net, but Canning replied when Niall Quinn was hauled.
With time running out, Eoin Forde edged Galway in front, but Tierney struck the equaliser to send the game into extra time.
Honan and Aodhan Harte exchanged first-half goals before Canning struck for his fourth goal to leave it 5-15 to 3-20. With just a single point between the sides, Clare refused to buckle. Three more points sealed a famous victory for Clare and a first All Ireland u-21 final.
Clare: Donal Touhy, James Gunning, Eamonn Glynn, Ciaran O Doherty, Domhnall O Donovan , Nicky O Connell (0-1 ), Patrick O Connor, Enda Barrett, Cathal Chaplin, John Conlon (0-3 ), Cormac O Donovan (0-1 ), Sean Collins (0-2 ), Darach Honan (2-4 ), Caimin Morey (0-1 ), Colin Ryan (0-8 ). Subs: Cian Dillon for Gunning, Conor McGrath (1-1 ) for O Connor, Conor Tierney (0-2 ) for Morey, Gary Burke for Keehan, Patrick Kelly for Collins.
Galway: James Skehill, Shane Quinn, Conor Daly, Martin Dolpin, Declan Connolly, Brian Regan, Conor Forde, David Burke (0-1 ), Sylvie Og Linnane, Kevin Keehan, Aidan Harte (1-2 ), Eoin Forde (0-3 ), Alan Dolan (0-1 ), Joe Canning (4-8 ), Niall Quinn. Subs: Keith Killilea for Dolan, Gary Burke for Keehan, Barry Daly for Linnane, John Ryan for Quinn.
Referee: Cathal McAllister (Cork ).