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Emmet McMahon of Clare celebrates a goal during their Munster Senior Championship semi-final against Waterford at Fraher Field, Dungarvan. Photograph by John Kelly

87 year gap bridged by clincial Clare

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Munster Senior Football Championship Semi-Final
Clare 2-20 Waterford 1-09

A completely different team but admirably the same result as Clare eased into back-to-back Munster Senior Football Finals for the first time in 87 years in Fraher Field, Dungarvan, writes Eoin Brennan.
Despite the home side’s current buoyancy following their first Munster Championship triumph in 14 years against Tipperary last time out, Mark Fitzgerald’s side quickly quelled any potential revolt with a clincially professional performance.
Indeed, they answered Jason Curry’s opening minute point with the next seven through five different scorers (Emmet McMahon (2), Aaron Griffin (2), Dermot Coughlan, Darragh Bohannon, Mark McInerney) and never looked back over their shoulders thereafter as goals through Emmet McMahon and Mark McInerney either side of the break cemented a provincial final showdown with Kerry long before the turn of the final quarter at 2-13 to 0-5.
Even a Tom O’Connell home goal couldn’t rally a downtrodden Deise as Aaron Griffin (2) and Ciaran Downes cancelled it out by the turn for home.
With the result beyond doubt, the game descended in a much more scrappy affair that saw the excellent Aaron Griffin clear the crossbar while substitute Cormac Murray had his obligatory goal disallowed by referee David Murnane (who also contentiously disallowed a late winner against Westmeath in the National League).
Waterford could have raised a few more green flags themselves but Michael Curry and inspirational corner-back Liam Fennell both had shots saved by goalkeeper Stephen Ryan while lively substitute Alan Dunwoody kicked wide under pressure.
In a match that saw the referee even give Clare an extra point by half-time and have to be corrected by a media contingent, it ultimately mattered little as Clare, despite only six starters from last year’s Munster Final, were still far too slick for the Division 4 side.
The chasm in Munster means that while Clare were 14 point victors over Waterford, they now have to take on three-in-a-row champions Kerry in a fortnight’s time, a side that sunk Clare by the same margin in last year’s decider.
That’s for another day though because as the GAA slogan goes ‘nothing beats being there’.

Clare: Stephen Ryan (Kilrush Shamrocks); Ronan Lanigan (Éire Óg), Cillian Brennan (Clondegad), Manus Doherty (Éire Óg); Alan Sweeney (St Breckan’s), Cillian Rouine (Ennistymon), Ikem Ugwueru (Éire Óg); Brian McNamara (Cooraclare), Darragh Bohannon (Shannon Gaels); Gavin Murray (Éire Óg), Dermot Coughlan (Kilmurry Ibrickane), Ciaran Downes (Kilmihil); Mark McInerney (Éire Óg), Aaron Griffin (Lissycasey), Emmet McMahon (Kildysart)
Subs: Cormac Murray (St Joseph’s Miltown) for G. Murray (33-37, BS), Murray for McMahon (46), Joe McGann (St Breckan’s) for Bohannon (51), Diarmuid O’Donnell (Kildysart) for McInerney (55), Cian Burke (St Breckan’s) for Sweeney (68), Tom McDonald (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield) for Coughlan (67)

Scorers: Emmet McMahon (1-3, 1f); Mark McInerney (1-2, 1f); Aaron Griffin (0-5); Ciaran Downes (0-4, 1’45); Darragh Bohannon, Diarmuid O’Donnell (0-2 each); Dermot Coughlan, Gavin Murray (0-1 each)

Waterford: Paudie Hunt (Rathgormack); Ross Browne (Colligan), Caoimhin Walsh (Kilrossanty), Liam Fennell (Stradbally); Dermot Ryan (The Nire), Billy O’Keeffe (Gaultier), Robbie McGrath (Ballinameela); Michael Curry (Rathgormack), Jason Curry (Rathgormack); Sean Whelan-Barrett (Abbeyside/Ballinacourty), Donie Fitsgerald (Kilrossanty), William Beresford (Abbeyside/Ballinacourty); Stephen Curry (Rathgormack), Tom O’Connell (Brickey Rangers), James Power (Rathgormack)
Subs: James Walsh (Modeligo) for Fitzgerald (39), Caolan Mac Craith (An Rinn) for Beresford (43), Alan Dunwoody (Kilrossanty) for Browne (46), Billy Hynes (Shamrocks) for McGrath (61), Michael O’Brien (Stradbally) for J. Curry (65)

Scorers: Tom O’Connell (1-1, 1f); Alan Dunwoody (0-3, 2f); Jason Curry (0-2, 1f); Sean Whelan-Barrett, Robbie McGrath, Ross Browne (0-1 each)

Referee: David Murnane (Cork)

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