Fintan O’Toole reports from Semple Stadium
WATERFORD MAY HAVE stored a grievance in the manner in which they lost last month’s league final but they unleashed the perfect response in today’s Munster semi-final.
Derek McGrath’s side never trailed to Clare in Semple Stadium today, accelerating clear in the second-half to advance to a second successive Munster final.
The outstanding Austin Gleeson struck 0-6, a total matched by Pauric Mahony – a late inclusion in the Deise line-up.
Maurice Shanahan’s early goal provided the springboard for success for a Waterford team who were in front 1-9 to 0-8 at the interval.
They controlled the second-half and were deserving victors as league champions Clare never caught fire in the same manner as they did when lifting silverware in May.
The third encounter in five weeks between these counties featured just a single goal but it was a crucial score when it arrived in the 4th minute. Clare’s defence did not adequately deal in the air with a high delivery and when the ball dropped, it was Maurice Shanahan who reacted best to whip to the net.
It was a big boost for Waterford but to their credit, Clare responded with the next four points of the game. By the 22nd minute, they were still certainly in contention as the teams were tied at 1-3 to 0-6 but then the game started to drift out of Clare’s reach.
Waterford hit some splendid points from the likes of Gleeson, Shanahan, Darragh Fives and Mahony. John Conlon’s point in the 32 minute left Clare 1-6 to 0-8 adrift before Waterford issued an important closing first-half statement as they posted the last three points before the break to fashion a 1-9 to 0-8 lead.
Then Waterford exploded from the blocks after the interval with Mahony (2) and Gleeson finding their range. Suddenly it was a seven-point game and Clare were in serious trouble.
They fought back and gained some momentum when Fitzgerald, David Reidy and Cathal O’Connell strung together points in quick succession. The game was at 1-15 to 0-14 by the 53rd minute and Clare’s fans started to find their voice.
But Waterford’s challenge never wavered and instead they regained control for the last quarter. Gleeson, Kevin Moran and Shanahan all spearheaded their scoring drive.
By the final whistle they were full value for their seven-point win and thoughts drifted to a Munster final on 10 July. For Clare, the qualifiers beckon on 2 July.
Scorers for Waterford: Austin Gleeson (0-1 sideline), Pauric Mahony 0-6 each, Maurice Shanahan 1-2, Kevin Moran 0-3, Darragh Fives, Philip Mahony, Jake Dillon, Shane Bennett 0-1 each.
Scorers for Clare: Cathal O’Connell, Conor McGrath 0-3 (0-2f) each, Colin Ryan (0-1 ’65), Podge Collins 0-2 each, John Conlon, Tony Kelly, David Reidy, Colm Galvin, Conor Cleary, David Fitzgerald, Brendan Bugler 0-1 each.
1. Stephen O’Keeffe (Ballygunner)
3. Barry Coughlan (Ballygunner)
4. Noel Connors (Passage)
2. Shane Fives (Tourin)
18. Darragh Fives (Tourin)
5. Tadhg de Burca (Clashmore/Kinsalebeg)
7. Philip Mahony (Ballygunner)
8. Jamie Barron (Fourmilewater)
10. Kevin Moran (De La Salle)
12. Michael Walsh (Stradbally)
20. Pauric Mahony (Ballygunner)
11. Shane Bennett (Ballysaggart)
6. Austin Gleeson (Mount Sion)
21. Maurice Shanahan (Lismore)
13. Patrick Curran (Dungarvan)
22. Tom Devine (Modeligo) for Bennett (54)
14. Jake Dillon (De La Salle) for Curran (56)
23. Brian O’Halloran (Clashmore/Kinsalebeg) for Mahony (63)
15. Colin Dunford (Colligan) for Shanahan (70)
24. Stephen Bennett (Ballysaggart) for Walsh (72)
1. Patrick Kelly (Inagh-Kilnamona)
4. Conor Cleary (Kilmaley)
6. Patrick O’Connor (Tubber)
3. Cian Dillon (Crusheen)
20. Oisin O’Brien (Clonlara)
5. Brendan Bulger (Whitegate)
7. David Fitzgerald
8. David Reidy (Éire Óg)
9. Colm Galvin (Clonlara)
13. Podge Collins (Cratloe)
11. Tony Kelly (Ballyea)
15. Conor McGrath (Cratloe)
12. Darach Honan (Clonlara)
14. Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg)
20. John Conlon (Clonlara)
10. Colin Ryan (Newmarket-on-Fergus) for Honan (43)
21. Cathal O’Connell (Clonlara) for McGrath (50)
26. David McInerney (Tulla) for Fitzgerald (53)
23. Aaron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones) for Collins (57)
25. Aaron Cunningham (Wolfe Tones) for Galvin (66)
Referee: James Owens (Wexford)
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