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Dublin: 21 °C Tuesday 23 July, 2019

Kelly the scoring hero as Clare claim dramatic league final win over Waterford

The Banner hit the last four points of the game to triumph in Semple Stadium.

Clare 1-23
Waterford 2-19

Fintan O’Toole reports from Semple Stadium

TONY KELLY FIRED over a dramatic last-gasp point to crown Clare’s comeback win in this afternoon’s Allianz Division 1 hurling league final replay in Thurles.

Waterford, who had been in front for much of the game after Patrick Curran and Jake Dillon struck first-half goals, looked on course for victory when substitute Brian O’Halloran clipped over a point with five minutes left that pushed them in front 2-19 to 1-19.

But the Banner timed their run to the finish line to perfection. Colin Ryan and Darach Honan gave Clare hope by cutting the deficit to two points in injury-time.

Then Clare were controversially awarded a long-range free in the 73rd minute, moments after it looked like Waterford’s Jamie Barron was fouled.

Kelly held his nerve to split the posts and tie the teams before the 2013 Hurler of the Year brought his personal haul on the day to 1-6 when he shot over the match-winning score in the the 74th minute.

Tony Kelly scores the winning point Tony Kelly hit the winning point today Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

It ensured Clare landed their first hurling league title since 1978 and gives them the perfect fillip ahead of a championship campaign that will begin when they renew acquaintances with Waterford in the Munster semi-final on 5 June.

Waterford were left to rue the fact that had left slip the chance to retain their league crown. So many things went right for the Deise in the first-half of a game that was more free flowing and riveting than last Sunday’s drawn game.

17 seconds had elapsed on the clock when Patrick Curran turned Clare defender Patrick O’Connor, raced in from the right wing and fired the ball to the net. Clare settled to strike four points without reply between the 9th and 18th minutes, as they edged in front 0-6 to 1-2.

Then Waterford pounced for a second goal when O’Connor’s defensive clearance was intercepted by Curran who soloed clear before releasing Jake Dillon and he finished past Patrick Kelly.

Waterford hit their stride then with Curran – who registered 1-9 overall – and Austin Gleeson chipping in with quality points, as they sprinted clear by 2-7 to 0-7.

Patrick Curran Patrick Curran celebrates scoring his first-half goal for Waterford Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

But Clare responded with Conor McGrath, man-of-the-match last Sunday, picking up where he left off in the drawn encounter as he shot 0-8 in the opening period. McGrath’s brilliance ensured Clare were only 2-9 to 0-12 adrift at the break.

Waterford upped the ante again in the second-half and when Gleeson raised a white flag in the 48th minute, they were in front 2-15 to 0-15. Clare’s challenge was listing before they received a huge boost in the form of a wonderful goal from Kelly after he was picked out by Aaron Cunningham.

Tony Kelly celebrates scoring a goal Tony Kelly celebrates netting for Clare in the second-half today Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

That strike cut the gap to three and ensured they stayed in touch throughout the second-half. Still with a three-point advantage with five minutes remaining, Waterford fans were starting to sense glory was in the offing. Clare’s late heroics pegged them back though and delivered the spoils.

Davy Fitzgerald celebrates Davy Fitzgerald was a happy man at the final whistle Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO


Scorers for Clare: Tony Kelly 1-6 (0-1f), Conor McGrath 0-8 (0-5f), Darach Honan, Colin Ryan (0-1f) 0-2 each, Patrick O’Connor, David Fitzgerald, David Reidy, Aaron Cunningham, Podge Collins 0-1 each.

Scorers for Waterford: Patrick Curran 1-9 (0-6f, 0-1 ’65), Austin Gleeson 0-3, Jake Dillon 1-0, Jamie Barron, Shane Bennett 0-2 each, Kevin Moran, Darragh Fives, Brian O’Halloran 0-1 each.


1. Patrick Kelly (Inagh-Kilnamona)

3. Cian Dillon (Crusheen)
4. Patrick O’Connor (Tubber)
7. David Fitzgerald (Inagh Kilnamona)

18. Jack Browne (Ballyea)
6. Conor Cleary (Kilmaley)
5. Brendan Bugler (Whitegate)

8. David Reidy (Éire Óg)
9. Colm Galvin (Clonlara)

11. Tony Kelly (Ballyea)
15. Conor McGrath (Cratloe)
13. Podge Collins (Cratloe)

14. Darach Honan (Clonlara)
12. Aaron Cunningham (Wolfe Tones)
26. Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg)

21. Colin Ryan (Newmarket-on-Fergus) for Galvin (43)
20. Cathal O’Connell (Clonlara) for Collins (54)
22. Aaron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones) for O’Donnell (64)


1. Stephen O’Keeffe (Ballygunner)

3. Barry Coughlan (Ballygunner)
4. Noel Connors (Passage)
2. Shane Fives (Tourin)

18. Darragh Fives (Tourin)
10. Kevin Moran (De La Salle)
7. Philip Mahony (Ballygunner)

5. Tadhg De Búrca (Clashmore-Kinsalebeg)
8. Jamie Barron (Fourmilewater)

12. Michael Walsh (Stradbally)
6. Austin Gleeson (Mount Sion)
11. Shane Bennett (Ballysaggart)

14. Jake Dillon (De La Salle)
13. Patrick Curran (Dungarvan)
24. Tom Devine (Modeligo)

15. Colin Dunford (Colligan) for Devine (45)
22. Brian O’Halloran (Clashmore-Kinsalebeg) for Dillon (56)
21. Maurice Shanahan (Lismore) for Bennett (67)
26. Tommy Ryan (Tallow) for Walsh (70)

Referee: Diarmuid Kirwan (Cork)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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