Waterford manager Davy Fitzgerald confronts referee Liam Gordon after the game. James Crombie/INPHO
Munster hurling

Davy Fitzgerald in referee confrontation as Clare edge home

Clare have moved a step closer to reaching a third Munster senior hurling final in as many seasons after edging past Waterford.

Clare 4-21 

Waterford 2-26 

TWO GOALS IN either half proved crucial to Clare securing a dramatic one point win, Mark Rodgers securing the victory with the last puck of the tie when converting a 65m free, the awarding of which was protested by Waterford’s players who pleaded with referee Liam Gordon at the final whistle over the decision.

In a frenetic encounter, Clare were never able to put their opponents to bed and Waterford always managed to find a way back into the game but crucially were unable to secure a share of the spoils.

On a day when John Conlon overtook Davy Fitzgerald as the Clare hurler with the most championship appearances, the one point left the home supporters among the crowd of 19,893 relieved as they began to catch their breath after the final whistle.

Waterford were first on the board in Cusack Park with Dessie Hutchinson converting a free two minutes in, Clare replied via their own freetaker Aidan McCarthy on the sixth minute with both sides coughing up scoreable chances in the interval. Points from Mark Rodgers, David Fitzgerald and David Reidy allowed the hosts go in front.
Stephen Bennett added a Waterford score on ten minutes before Clare hit five points in succession to lead by five points with fourteen minutes on the clock.

Three scores in a row, two from Jack Prendergast and one from Kevin Mahony had Waterford to within two points but they were dealt a blow when Darragh Lohan struck for Clare’s opening goal on nineteen minutes.

Mark Rodgers showed his pedigree as an All-Ireland winning handballer when delivering a tremendous handpass with Lohan making an excellent run to be found and he duly produced a fine finish to make it 1-8 0-6.

By the twenty sixth minute Clare had their second goal, David Fitzgerald had the finish with Cian Galvin offering the assist as Brian Lohan’s side carved out an eighth point lead. However the margin was reduced to five points by the half time whistle with Dessie Hutchinson getting the last score of the half as Clare ran in with a 2-13 0-14 advantage.

Two scores on the restart saw Waterford cut the gap even further but then Clare struck for their third goal, Mark Rodgers this time had the finish, he was quickest to react to a breaking ball in front of Shane O’Donnell, he jab lifted the sliotar into his hand and then fired it beyond Shaun O’Brien with thirty nine minutes played.

It would take a further ten minutes for Clare’s next score while Waterford tapped over three points to cancel out Rodgers’ major.

Waterford struck for their first goal through Stephen Bennett on fifty minutes. By this stage Tony Kelly had been introduced for Clare and he made his presence known when driving home their fourth goal on the fifty eighth minute.

Kelly’s goal put Clare four in front but Davy Fitzgerald’s Waterford were not prepared to roll over just yet. Substitute Patrick Fitzgerald and full-back Ian Kenny responded with scores while Clare manager Brian Lohan was then shown a yellow card by referee Liam Gordon for holding onto the sliotar.

David Fitzgerald added to his tally but Waterford’s response saw lively substitute Pádraig Fitzgerald fire over two points, Calum Lyons split the posts to level matters with five minutes of normal time remaining.

david-fitzgerald-scores-his-sides-second-goal David Fitzgerald nets. James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Substitute Ian Galvin executed two nice scores which was followed by Peter Duggan’s first of the afternoon as Clare regained the lead.

With two minutes of additional time played, Waterford were awarded a penalty, Patrick Fitzgerald reacted to a breaking ball which was read poorly by the Clare defence, he was brought down and the subsequent penalty was buried to the bottom right corner by Shane Bennett to suddenly equalise matters.

Conor Leen managed to win a free in defence for Clare, the long range effort from Tony Kelly fell into the Clare attack and Mark Fitzgerald was adjudged to have pushed the sliotar over the line. After some hesitation, the umpire awarded a 65m and the pressure strike was nailed by Mark Rodgers to give Clare their second successive win in the Munster championship and first at home.

While guilty of letting Waterford back into the game, their nature of doing the hard things the hard way reared its head again but they crucially pick up an invaluable two points and keep their bid of returning to the provincial on track.

Having suffered their first loss of this year’s championship, Waterford’s setback isn’t fatal but they must get a result against Limerick in their next outing which will take place at the Gaelic Grounds.

Scorers for Clare: D Fitzgerald (1-4); M Rodgers (1-3, 0-1 ‘65); T Kelly, D Lohan (1-0 each); A McCarthy (0-5, 0-4 frees); S O’Donnell, I Galvin (0-2 each); D Ryan, C Malone, P Duggan, D Reidy (0-1 each).

Scorers for Waterford: D Hutchinson (0-6, 0-5 frees); Shane Bennett (1-0 pen), Stephen Bennett (1-2 each); K Mahony (0-4); T de Búrca (0-1 free), Pádraig Fitzgerald (0-2 each); I Kenny, K Bennett, J Fagan, C Lyons, J Barron, J Prendergast, M Kiely, Patrick Fitzgerald (0-1 each).


1: Eibhear Quilligan (Feakle)

2: Adam Hogan (Feakle), 3: Conor Cleary (St Joseph’s Miltown), 4: Rory Hayes (Wolfe Tones)

5: Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe), 6: John Conlon (Clonlara), 20: Cian Galvin (Clarecastle)

9: Darragh Lohan (Wolfe Tones), 10: Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge)

8: David Fitzgerald (Inagh/Kilnamona), 15: David Reidy (Éire Óg), 12: Peter Duggan (Clooney/Quin)

11: Mark Rodgers (Scariff), 13: Aidan McCarthy (Inagh/Kilnamona), 14: Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg)


26: Tony Kelly (Ballyea) for Reidy (48)

19: Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge) for Lohan (58)

17: Conor Leen (Corofin) for Hayes (58)

22: Ian Galvin (Clonlara) for McCarthy (63)



1: Shaun O’Brien (De La Salle)

4: Iarlaith Daly (Lismore), 17: Ian Kenny (Ballygunner), 2: Kieran Bennett (Ballysaggart)

3: Mark Fitzgerald (Passage), 6: Tadhg de Burca (Clashmore–Kinsalebeg), 7: Calum Lyons (Ballyduff)

8: Darragh Lyons (Dungarvan), 20: Patrick Curran (Dungarvan)

9: Jamie Barron (Fourmilewater), 10: Jack Prendergast (Lismore), 14: Stephen Bennett (Ballysaggart)

15: Kevin Mahony (Ballygunner), 12: Michael Kiely (Abbeyside), 13: Dessie Hutchinson (Ballygunner)


5: Jack Fagan (De La Salle) for Lyons (15)

22: Shane Bennett (Ballysaggart) for Curran (31) (inj)

18: Conor Ryan (Roanmore) for K Bennett (57)

21: Patrick Fitzgerald (Ballygunner) for Kiely (58)

24: Padraig Fitzgerald (Kilrossanty) for Stephen Bennett (63)

23: Peter Hogan (Ballygunner) for Barron (66)

Referee: Liam Gordon (Galway)

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