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Austin Gleeson could only watch on in the closing stages as Waterford crashed out. James Crombie/INPHO
Game Over

Toothless Waterford crash out of the Championship with defeat to Clare

Clare go top of the Munster senior hurling championship standings with 12-point win.

Waterford 0-16

Clare 2-22

Stephen Barry reports from FBD Semple Stadium

WATERFORD’S INACCURACY AND indiscipline cost them again as they exited the Championship at the hands of Clare with a game to spare.

The Banner backed up their victory over All-Ireland champions Limerick to jump to the top of the Munster round-robin, although their opponents this week were toothless in attack. They returned just six points in the second half and the same number from play.

Calum Lyons’ 31st-minute red card, for two avoidable yellows, gave Clare the momentum to stretch away, although they already looked likely winners after Ian Galvin’s first-half goal.

In the absence of injury-hit Aidan McCarthy, Tony Kelly chipped in with 0-13, while Cathal Malone’s goal finished it as a contest.

It means for the third time in four years, Brian Lohan’s men have eliminated a team managed by his former teammate turned managerial adversary Davy Fitzgerald as Waterford fell to a sixth Championship loss in a row.

Their attack hasn’t scored a goal in their last five games across league and Championship. Up against a Clare defence that had shipped seven in their last two games, they hardly threatened one.

That isn’t their only problem. Even without goals, Waterford have fallen short of raising 20 white flags in all three outings.

Jamie Barron’s miss when eyeing goal was one of 12 Waterford wides all half (to Clare’s four) as they converted just 10 of their 23 shots, while relying on frees (0-7) for the majority of their scores.

jack-prendergast-and-stephen-bennett-with-conor-cleary Waterford's Jack Prendergast and Stephen Bennett with Conor Cleary of Clare. James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Waterford’s first point from play by Austin Gleeson in the 16th minute levelled the game at 0-5 apiece but Clare struck the front with a 1-2 punch to give them a lead they never looked like giving up.

Shane O’Donnell and Galvin picked up points from breaking ball before an inspirational defensive flick by the back-tracking Kelly on Mark Fitzgerald started the move for the goal.

Diarmuid Ryan, John Conlon, and David Fitzgerald were all involved, sending Galvin in on goal to dispatch a neat finish to the bottom corner.

Waterford hit back with two frees, from Stephen Bennett and Gleeson, and a Barron point but they soon had a man sent off for the fifth time this season.

Calum Lyons was booked in the 24th minute and lost Waterford a free for sending an opponent to the ground after the whistle. Then, seven minutes later, he was beaten to the ball by Ryan Taylor and took him down with his hurley.

Despite their wayward shooting and numerical disadvantage, they still went in at the break down just three, 1-10 to 0-10 in arrears.

John Keenan red-carded a mentor from either side at the start of the second half after some exchanges going down the tunnel to the dressing rooms.

Dessie Hutchinson got involved with his first point within 15 seconds but Waterford were living on their wits with two goal chances leaked in three minutes.

Kelly burned off Darragh Lyons but Billy Nolan’s outstretched hand pushed it behind.

Then, a superb move from David McInerney’s catch, to Ryan’s reverse pass, to Taylor’s flick, to Fitzgerald’s first-time scoop over Nolan, didn’t get its just reward as the ball hopped off of the far post.

Waterford still played with an extra man at the back until around the 50-minute mark and lacked a presence near the opposition goal, where Clare were insulated by two free men.

Up the field, Kelly was running riot. He strung together seven points in a row with only one pointed free in response at the other end.

It was firmly put to bed in the 53rd minute. McInerney’s diagonal found Peter Duggan and his overhead flick allowed Malone in to pull to the net.

Scorers for Waterford: Stephen Bennett 0-7 (7f), Austin Gleeson 0-3 (2f), Dessie Hutchinson 0-2, Patrick Curran 0-2, Jamie Barron 0-1, Peter Hogan 0-1.

Scorers for Clare: Tony Kelly 0-13 (8f, 1 65), Cathal Malone 1-1, Ian Galvin 1-1, Diarmuid Ryan 0-2, Shane O’Donnell 0-2, Ryan Taylor 0-1, Shane Meehan 0-1, Robin Mounsey 0-1.

Waterford

1. Billy Nolan (Roanmore)

6. Calum Lyons (Ballyduff Lower)
9. Darragh Lyons (Dungarvan)
5. Mark Fitzgerald (Passage)

7. Jack Fagan (De La Salle)

3. Conor Prunty (Abbeyside)
12. Neil Montgomery (Abbeyside)
4. Iarlaith Daly (Lismore)

2. Conor Gleeson (Fourmilewater)
8. Jamie Barron (Fourmilewater, joint-captain)

11. Jack Prendergast (Lismore)
14. Austin Gleeson (Mount Sion)
10. Peter Hogan (Ballygunner)

13. Stephen Bennett (Ballysaggart, joint-captain)
15. Dessie Hutchinson (Ballygunner)

Subs: 22. Patrick Fitzgerald (Ballygunner) for Hogan (51); 23. Pádraig Fitzgerald (Kilrossanty) for A Gleeson (58); 20. Patrick Curran (Dungarvan) for Montgomery (60); 19. Paddy Leavey (Ballygunner) for Daly (62)

Clare

1. Éibhear Quilligan (Feakle)

2. Adam Hogan (Feakle)
4. Rory Hayes (Wolfe Tones na Sionna)
3. Conor Cleary (Kilmaley)

5. Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe)
6. John Conlon (Clonlara)
7. David McInerney (Tulla)

9. Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge)
13. Ryan Taylor (Clooney-Quin)

15. Mark Rodgers (Scariff)
8. David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona)
14. Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg Ennis)

10. Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin)
11. Tony Kelly (Ballyea, captain)
18. Ian Galvin (Clonlara)

Subs: 19. Shane Meehan (The Banner) for Galvin (52); 23. Paul Flanagan (Ballyea) for McInerney (54); 26. Séadna Morey (Sixmilebridge) for Hayes (60); 22. Robin Mounsey (Ruan) for Rodgers (62); 20. Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones na Sionna) for Ryan (64)

Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow)

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