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Clare coast into Munster semi-final

Clare 2-11 Waterford 0-3

Clare coasted into next Wednesday’s Munster U-21 football semi-final meeting with Tipperary in Thurles, following a facile win over Waterford in Miltown.

Played in front of an attendance of 518, Clare restricted Waterford to just a single second-half point. Clare put the game away in the opening three minutes of the second half, when Jamie Malone raced through for a superb goal. Prior to that, Keelan Sexton had put over a nice point from play, set up by Dale Masterson. Malone won the subsequent kick-out and buried his second goal. Sexton followed up with a superb left-footed score, putting Clare into a 2-6 to 0-2 lead. Waterford had battled gamely in the opening half but following Clare’s burst after half-time, the confidence and ambition visibly drained from their opponents.

Malone’s first goal, six minutes before half-time, helped Clare into a 1-4 to 0-2 interval lead. The goal opportunity was presented to the Corofin man following excellent work from Kilmihil’s Martin O’Leary, who turned over Waterford as they attempted to break clear. O’Leary passed the ball across goal, laying on a simple goal opportunity for his Clare senior colleague.

Clare had kicked three points in the opening 12 minutes, two from Keelan Sexton frees following fouls on O’Leary and Cian O’Dea. Éire Óg’s Eimhin Courtney scored Clare’s remaining first-half points, both from play.

Waterford were held scoreless until the 21st minute when Conor Gleeson pointed, while his attacking colleague, Conor Murray put over the visiting team’s second point, four minutes before half-time.

Clare enjoyed plenty of first-half possession but were sometimes a bit slow in delivering it to their inside forwards. While Keelan Sexton started at full-forward, he was moved outfield in the opening half, where he got onto plenty of ball and drove forward.

Overall, this was a very comprehensive win for Clare and indeed the county’s first win at this level since 2011. While it must be noted that Waterford were very limited, there were some notabe displays from Clare. Jamie Malone looked very dangerous breaking from midfield and his second goal was the best score of the evening. Keelan Sexton put over some fine scores and while Maritn O’Leary didn’t score, his work rate was impressive and he always made himself available.

The Clare defence were not under any pressure but did what they had to do. Of course, they will face a much more searching examination next Wednesday in Thurles when Clare meet the home county for the third successive year at this level. Clare were beaten in 2013 and 2014, so will be very keen to have a real go at Tipperary.

Clare: Killian Normoyle (Lissycasey); Cian O’Mahoney (Doonbeg), Jack O’Dea (Kilfenora), Conor Brennan (Éire Óg, captain); Darren Nagle (Liscannor), Conor O’Brien (Doora-Barefield), Cian O’Dea (Kilfenora); Dara Walsh (Éire Óg), Jamie Malone (Corofin); Liam Corry (Éire Óg), Paddy O’Malley (Éire Óg), Dale Masterson (St Breckan’s); Martin O’Leary (Kilmihil), Keelan Sexton (Kilmurry Ibrickane), Eimhin Courtney (Éire Óg).

Subs: Eoin Hanrahan (Doora-Barefield) for Dara Walsh (half-time), Maccon Byrne (St Breckan’s) for Liam Corry (36), Conor Cleary (Miltown) for Dale Masterson (39), Jim Downes (O’Curry’s) for Keelan Sexton (54) and Eoin O’Connor (Coolmeen) for Jamie Malone (57).

Scorers: Jamie Malone (2-1), Keelan Sexton (0-5, 3f), Eimihin Courtney (0-3), Conor Cleary (0-1) and Paddy O’Malley (0-1f).

Wides: 9; Frees: 18.

Yellow cards: Dale Masterson,

Waterford: David Whitty (Gaultier-captain); Stephen Dalton (De La Salle), Conor Walsh (Rathgormack), Jamie de Barún (An Rinn); Jack Mullaney (Stradbally), Tom Devine (Modeligo), Jonathon Fenton (Bunmahon); Dermot Ryan (Nire), Seamus Keating (Ardmore); Michael Curry (Rathgormack), Ferghal Ó Cuirrín (An Rinn), Jason Curry (Rathgormack); Conor Murray (Rathgormack), Jason Gleeson (Rathgormack), Conor Gleeson (Nire).

Subs: Liam Mulligan (Rathgormack) for Jonathon Fenton (42), Paul O’Connor (Clashmore/Kinsalebeg) for Jason Curry (44), Brian Looby (Ballinacourty) for Jack Mullaney (48), Caomhán McGuire (Gualtier) for Jason Gleeson (52), Michael Troy (Modeligo) for Fearghal O’Cuirrín (59) and Kenneth Brazil (Nire) for Conor Murray (59).

Scorers: Conor Gleeson, Conor Murray and Seamus Keating (0-1 each).

Frees: 13.

Yellow card: Fearghal O’Cuirrín.

Black Card: Jack Mullaney.

Referee: Kevin Murphy (Cork)

Peter O’Connell

About Peter O'Connell

West Clare native Peter O'Connell worked for The Clare Champion for 12 years and covered everything from sport, especially GAA, news, features and had been even known to branch into the fashion scene on occasion.

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