Clare 1-10 Waterford 0-8
VERY slow to settle in the opening quarter, Clare eventually ground out a five point win in their opening McGrath Cup fixture in Meelick on Sunday afternoon. The match was played in perfect underfoot conditions on what was an overcast afternoon.
If Clare beat Limerick on Wednesday evening in the Gaelic Grounds, in their second game in this group, they will qualify for their second successive final in this competition.
Clare gave a debut to Ballyhaunis corner back Eoghan Collins, who is a nephew of manager Colm Collins while Kilmaley’s Mikey O’Neill also also started his first inter-county game.
Others to play their first minutes of senior football included David Egan and Darragh Bolton while Liam Markham also featured for the first time in several seasons as did John Hayes.
An Eoin Cleary goal, made by Jamie Malone and David Tubridy helped Clare into a 1-3 to 0-3 interval lead. That 19th minute goal was Clare’s first score of the game in which Waterford’s Paul Whyte kicked the first two scores from frees.
While Clare’s first half shooting was very poor and featured nine wides, they did improve as the game developed. That said their kicking was not great but Mikey O’Neill, Cleary, Ciaran Russell and Ciaran Russell kicked `some nice second half points.
Joe Hayes was very solid in goals while Kevin Harnett, on his home ground, Jamie Malone, Eoin Cleary, in the second half and impressive substitute David Egan all contributed commendably to this win.
A more detailed report will be published in Thursday’s Clare Champion.
Clare: Joe Hayes (Lissycasey); Eoghan Collins (Ballyhunis), Kevin Harnett (Meelick), John Hayes (Kilrush); Ciaran Russell (Éire Óg), Gordon Kelly (Miltown – captain), Kieran Malone (Miltown); Jack O’Dea (Kilfenora) and Cathal O’Connor (Coolmeen); Mikey O’Neill (Kilmaley), Seán Collins (Cratloe), Jamie Malone (Corofin); Eoin Cleary (Miltown), David Tubridy (Doonbeg) and Seanie Malone (Miltown).
Subs: Shane McGrath (Thomas Davis), for Jack O’Dea (36), David Egan (Kilmihil) for Seanie Malone (44), Cian O’Dea for Mikey O’Neill (53), Liam Markham (Cratloe) for David Tubridy (inj-58) and Darragh Bolton (Kilrush) for Ciaran Russell (63).
Scorers: Eoin Cleary (1-4, 2f), Jamie Malone (0-2), David Tubridy, Mikey O’Neill, David Egan and Ciaran Russell (0-1 each).
Frees for: 18, wides: 11, 45s: 1, yellow card: Cian O’Dea.
Waterford: Stephen Enright; Tadhg O’ hUallacháin, Tom O’Gorman, Stephen Dalton; Brian Looby, Stephen Prendergast, Ray O’Ceallaigh; Tommy Prendergast, Michael Curry; Conor Murray, Michael O’Halloran, Patrick Hurney; Paul Whyte (captain), Joey Veale and Fearghal O’Cuirrín.
Subs: Dylan Guiry for Michael O’Halloran (45), Frank Galvin for Ray O’Ceallaigh (55), Kieran Murphy for Stephen Dalton and Caoimhain Maguire for Joey Veale (both 58).
Scorers: Paul Whyte (0-5, 4f), Fearghal O’Cuirrín, Michael Curry and Conor Murray (0-1 each).