CLARE CRUISED TO an easy opening round McGrath Cup win over Waterford on Saturday, with their full forward line doing most of the damage.
The inside trio contributed 1-14 of Clare’s tally with Eimhin Courtney kicking all five of his points from play. He put over four of those scores in the first half, following which Clare led 1-7 to 0-6.
Midfielder Cathal O’Connor, who captained his county for the first time, scored the goal in the 12th minute of the first half, after Clare had held possession intelligently.
The game was played in dry conditions in Meelick and Waterford, who gave debuts to 10 players, had plenty of possession early in the game. However they kicked eight first half wides, along with six balls into Clare goalkeeper Killian Roche.
While Waterford were understrength, Clare fielded just four of their championship team from their July 8 All-Ireland qualifier defeat to Mayo.
They looked much slicker in attack, with corner forward Conor Finnucane putting over seven second half points. Conor Murray scored the Waterford goal in second half injury time, while their wing forward, Jason Curry, was their most impressive attacker, pointing 0-7 of their tally.
With just three counties taking part in the 2018 McGrath Cup, Waterford will host Cork next Sunday. In the event of a Cork win, the final will definitely be between them and Clare, who are due to meet in their round robin game in Mallow in January 14.
Clare scorers: Conor Finnucane (0-8, 4f), Eimhin Courtney (0-5), Gearóid O’Brien (1-1), Cathal O’Connor (1-0), Seán Collins (0-2), Kieran Malone (0-1), David Egan (0-1).
Waterford scorers: Jason Curry (0-7, 3f), Conor Murray (1-0), Gavin Crotty (0-1), Mikey Kiely (0-1).
1. Killian Roche (Cooraclare)
2. Joe Blake (Doonbeg)
3. Cillian Brennan (Clondegad)
4. Gordon Kelly (Miltown)
5. Seán Collins (Cratloe)
6. Aaron Fitzgerald (Éire Óg)
7. Jonah Culligan (Ballyvaughan)
8. Darragh Bohannon (Shannon Gaels)
9. Cathal O’Connor (Coolmeen – captain)
10. Pearse Lillis (Cooraclare)
11. Alan Sweeney (St Breckan’s)
12. Kieran Malone (Miltown)
13. Eimhin Courtney (Éire Óg)
14. Gearóid O’Brien (Kilrush)
15. Conor Finnucane (Lissycasey)
16. Eamon Tubridy (Doonbeg) for Killan Roche (half-time)
17. Eoghan Collins (Ballyhaunis) for Joe Blake (half-time)
18. David Egan (Kilmihil) for Pearse Lillis (half-time)
20. Tom Hannon (Doora-Barefield) for Johan Culligan (half-time)
19. Jack Hannon (Doora-Barefield) for Seán Collins (53)
23. Éinne O’Connor (Éire Óg) for Gordon Kelly (55).
1. David Whitty (Gaultier)
2. Conor McCarthy (Ballinacourty)
3. Gary Cullinan (Gaultier)
4. Aidan Trihy (Clashmore/Kinsalebeg)
5. Kieran Murphy (St Saviours)
6. Shane Prendergast (Kilrossanty)
7. Shane Ryan (Nire)
8. Caoimhin McGuire (Gaultier)
9. Dylan Guiry (The Nire)
10. Eoin O’Brien (Stradbally)
11. Joey Veale (Kilrossanty)
12. Jason Curry (Rathgormack)
13. Gavin Crotty (Dungarvan)
14. Paul Walsh (Kilgobnet)
15. Conor Murray (Rathgormack)
17. Alan Walsh (Kilmacthomas) for Kieran Murphy (half-time)
18. Mikey Kiely (St Pat’s) for Eoin O’Brien (43)
19. Kieran Power (Kilrossanty) for Caoimhin McGuire (46)
20. Eoin O’Brien (Stradbally) for Joey Veale (66).
Referee: Pat O’Driscoll (Cork)
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