Goals from Conor Sweeney and Bill Maher at the beginning of either half proved crucial as Tipperary held off Clare to win the Munster first round meeting at Semple Stadium. 

The win was not without drama though as Evan Comerford's late penalty save and an injury-time Gavin Cooney goal ensured a nervy finish before Tipperary pulled through.

Wintry in conditions in Thurles made for difficult handling and underfoot conditions for both sides to contend with, but the Premier settled best to lead 1-03 to 0-01 at the opening water break.

The goal came in the fifth minute from captain Sweeney after good work by Tipperary to turn over a Clare kickout. The ball was slipped to Sweeney on the overlap and he finished expertly to the net to set the tone for the rest of the half.

Clare struggled to win primary ball and poor discipline in defence was punished with Sweeney (2) and a trio of excellent long-range placed balls from Jack Kennedy giving them a commanding platform at half-time to lead by 1-06 to 0-05.

Clare midfielder Gary Brennan is tackled by Conal Kennedy

Tipperary's ability to transition smoothly from defence to attack led to numerous overlaps being created with the Banner backline forced into conceding scoreable chances.

The Premier full-back line was also well on top in the opening period, denying Keelan Sexton and Joe McGann any clean possession with McGann replaced by David Tubridy after just 20 minutes.

Less than a minute of the second period had elapsed when Bill Maher stole inside the cover to slot home the Premier's second goal, with Sweeney adding a fine score on the turn to send them 2-07 to 0-06 in front at the final water break and well in control.

That dominance proved crucial in a dramatic final quarter with Tipp seven points clear with two minutes to play.

By the time the final whistle blew, the lead was cut to three and could well have been wiped out entirely only for a brilliant penalty save by Comerford to deny David Tubridy.

Clare hit the last 1-02 of the game with Cooney's goal setting up a nervy last few minutes but Tipperary deservedly saw out the win to move on to the last four.

Tipperary: Evan Comerford; Alan Campbell, Jimmy Feehan, Colm O'Shaughnessy; Bill Maher (1-00), Kevin Fahey, Robbie Kiely; Steven O'Brien, Liam Casey (0-02); Jack Kennedy (0-03, 0-03f), Michael Quinlivan, Conal Kennedy; Jason Lonergan, Conor Sweeney (1-04, 0-02f), Colman Kennedy.

Subs: Brian Fox for Lonergan (33), Liam Boland (0-01) for O'Brien (47), Emmet Moloney (0-01) for Coleman Kennedy (60), Padraic Looram for Maher (71), Kevin O'Halloran for Casey (73).

Clare: Stephen Ryan; Gordon Kelly, Kevin Harnett, Eoghan Collins; Pearse Lillis, Cillian Brennan, Alan Sweeney; Gary Brennan (0-01, 0-01f), Cathal O'Connor (0-01); Ciaran Russell, Eoin Cleary (0-04, 0-04f), Jamie Malone (0-01); Keelan Sexton (0-02, 0-01f), Joe McGann, Cian O'Dea.

Subs: David Tubridy for McGann (21), Podge Collins (0-02) for Russell (39), Emmet McMahon for Sweeney (39), Sean Collins for Kelly (50), Gavin Cooney (1-00) for Sexton (66).

Referee: Conor Lane (Cork).