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Banner to strong for the Déise in Thurles

Clare: 1-22, Waterford: 0-21

Eanna O’Reilly

Clare recorded an impressive win over Waterford in the Munster hurling quarter final in Semple Stadium, setting up a semi-final with Tipperary next Sunday. Brian Lohan’s side were full value for their win over a Waterford side who didn’t get going until the final quarter. Tony Kelly was inspirational for Clare, while John Conlon excelled at centre back.

Clare’s victory was built upon an excellent start to the game, reflected in their 0-6 to 0-1 lead after ten minutes. Kelly scored the first three points, while Ryan Taylor, Diarmuid Ryan and David Reidy added scores for the Banner. Austin Gleeson replied with Waterford’s first point at the other end. Aidan McCarthy traded points with Gleeson and Stephen Bennet (free) as Clare maintained a comfortable lead.

Waterford were let down by some poor shooting in the first quarter and struggled to catch up on the scoreboard. The score stood at 0-7 to 0-3 at the water break, after which the game became more even. Bennett and Kelly traded frees, while McCarthy and Taylor added points for Clare.

A major moment occurred in the twenty ninth minute, when Aron Shanagher was brought down in the square for a penalty to Clare. Tony Kelly buried the penalty in the net, while Waterford defender Shane Fives was sent to the sin bin. Kelly and Bennett exchanged frees once again, to leave the half time score at 1-13 to 0-7. Clare could also have been further ahead, had they converted some of the wides they hit in the second quarter.

Kelly and Bennett (0-2 each) exchanged frees early in the second half, while Cathal Malone and Ian Galvin added scores for the Banner. Kieran Bennett pointed for the Déise at the other end, but Waterford were chasing a big lead at this stage of the game. Their general over-reliance on Gleeson and Stephen Bennett for scores was a major problem. Bennett pointed a free just before the water break, to leave the score at 1-18 to 0-12.

Waterford upped the ante after the second half water break, with Gleeson hitting two points, either side of one from Aidan McCarthy at the other end. Neil Montgomery added another point for the Déise, while Bennett (free) and Patrick Curran also got scores. Kelly kept the score board ticking for Clare at the other end, pointing a difficult free.

Waterford had an excellent scoring burst, with points from Bennett, Mikey Kearney Gleeson and Calum Lyons, which reduced the margin to three points late in the game. At 1-21 to 0-21, a major comeback was on for the Déise. However, Kelly scored an excellent point in response, while Clare defended very impressively in the dying minutes.

It finished in Thurles with Clare running out deserving winners on a scoreline of 1-22 to 0-21. The Banner should now go into their clash with Tipperary in confident mood next week. Waterford, meanwhile, will reflect on a disappointing day when only one of their starting six forwards raised a flag. Interestingly, their subs contributed 0-4 from play, which will leave Liam Cahill with some major selections decisions for the qualifiers.

Clare: E. Quilligan, P. Flanagan, C. Cleary, R. Hayes; D. Ryan (0-1), J. Conlon, P. Fitzpatrick; C. Galvin, C. Malone (0-1); A. McCarthy (0-3), D. Reidy (0-2), R. Taylor (0-2); A. Shanagher, T. Kelly (1-12, 1-0 pen, 0-7 frees), I. Galvin (0-1). Subs: D. McInerney for Fitzpatrick (50), D. Fitzgerald for I. Galvin (57), M. Rodgers for Reidy (60), S. Golden (Sixmilebridge) for McCarthy (70).

Waterford: B. Nolan, C. Gleeson, C. Lyons (0-1), S. Fives; S. McNulty, I. Daly, A. Gleeson (0-5, 0-1 free); K. Moran, D. Lyons; J. Fagan, P. Hogan, J. Prendergast; D. Hutchison, Stephen Bennett (0-11, 0-9 frees), Shane Bennett. Subs: K. Bennett (0-1) for Moran (33), P. Curran (0-1) for Fagan (44), N. Montgomery (0-1) for Prendergast (46), B. Power for D. Lyons (52), Mikey Kearney (0-1) for Hogan (62).

Referee: Colm Lyons (Cork).

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