Co-op Superstores Munster Hurling League Round 2
Clare progressed to the final of the Munster Hurling League with a nail-biting one-point win over Waterford in Dungarvan last Sunday, but they were made sweat as they watched a commanding advantage be whittled down to just a single score.
With 74 minutes elapsed, Stephen Bennett’s free rattled the Clare net and many Clare nerves, but it was to be the last passage of play in a game of two halves.
Niall Deasy opened Clare’s account within the minute mark before Colin Guilfoyle, Shane Golden, Ryan Taylor and Diarmuid Ryan all added scores before Stephen Bennett put Waterford on the scoreboard with a free after six minutes.
Shane Golden and Ryan Taylor were influential around the middle of the field and mopped possession constantly as well as both registering scores themselves. Tony Kelly’s goal came from poor Waterford defending and the signs were ominous for Waterford as Clare registered only one wide from 17 shooting opportunities in a clinical first-half performance.
Clare always retained their dominance and took a nine-point lead into the break, a lead which would have been greater but for two excellent saves from Billy Nolan. Diarmuid Ryan particularly caught the eye in the first-half, scoring five points and terrorising Waterford’s half-back line.
The substitution of Austin Gleeson for Kevin Moran at half-time was the catalyst of the Waterford comeback, in a half which saw The Déise outscore Clare 2-11 to 1-6. Moran was massively influential from the half-back line and was the Launchpad for numerous Waterford attacks. Waterford’s lack of shooting accuracy and Colin Guilfoyle’s 60th minute goal saved The Banner’s blushes.
Waterford will rue the many shots that dropped into Tuohy’s hand or sailed harmlessly wide but Clare were deserving winners on the balance of play, having been so dominant in the first half. Sixmilebridge’s Shane Golden said after the game that the Clare team just seemed “to take the foot off the pedal slightly” when cruising, but The Banner saw it out to book a final date with Tipperary in what’s sure to be a fierce encounter.
Read a comprehensive match report, interviews and analysis only in this week’s edition of The Clare Champion.
Clare: Donal Tuohy (Crusheen) ; Jason McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona), David McInerney (Tulla), Rory Hayes (Wolfe Tones); Aidan McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona), Conor Cleary (Kilmaley), Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge); Shane Golden (Sixmilebridge), Tony Kelly(c) (Ballyea); Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe), Niall Deasy (Ballyea), Ryan Taylor (Clooney-Quin); Colin Guilfoyle (Newmarket-on-Fergus), Aron Shanagher(Wolfe Tones), Michael O’Neill (Kilmaley).
Scorers: Diarmuid Ryan 0-6, Niall Deasy 0-5 (3f), Tony Kelly 1-2, Colin Guilfoyle 1-1, Shane Golden 0-3, Ryan Taylor, Aidan McCarthy, David Conroy 0-1 each.
Subs: Jack Browne (Ballyea) for Hayes (13mins) (sickness), Gary Cooney (O’Callaghan’s Mills) for Aron Shanagher (51 mins),Podge Collins (Cratloe) for Michael O’Neill (55 mins), David Conroy (St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield) for Colin Guilfoyle (59 mins), Michael O’Malley (Kilmaley) for Ryan Taylor (60 mins).
Cards: Yellow: Tony Kelly, Jack Browne, David McInerney, Conor Cleary.
Waterford: Billy Nolan (Roanmore); Darragh Lyons (Dungarvan), Conor Prunty (Abbeyside), Noel Connors (c) (Passage); Micheal Harney (Bunmahon), Austin Gleeson (Mount Sion), Kieran Bennett (Ballysaggart); Jamie Barron (Fourmilewater), Stephen Roche (Mount Sion); Colin Dunford (Colligan), Shane Bennett (Ballysaggart), DJ Foran (Portlaw); Thomas Ryan (Tallow), Stephen Bennett (Ballysaggart), Jack Prendergast (Lismore).
Scorers: Stephen Bennett 2-12 (1-10f), Thomas Ryan 1-1, DJ Foran, Kevin Moran, Mikey Kearney 0-1 each.
Subs: Callum Lyons for Micheal Harney (half-time), Kevin Moran for Austin Gleeson (half-time), Mikey Kearney for Shane Bennett (44 mins), Michael Walsh for Jack Prendergast (51 mins), Jordan Henley for Darragh Lyons (69 mins).
Cards: Yellow: Austin Gleeson.
Referee: Kevin Jordan (Tipperary).