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Sam Scanlan of Clare in action against Conor Keane and Brian Callaghan of Waterford during their Munster Minor Championship game at Cusack Park. Photograph by John Kelly

HURLING; Banner bounce back in style to down Deise

Munster Minor Hurling Championship Round 3
Clare 1-22 Waterford 1-8

THIS was much more like it as Clare blew away Waterford in style to kickstart their Munster Minor Hurling Championship campaign in Cusack Park on Tuesday evening, reports Eoin Brennan.
Floored by a brace of Tipperary third quarter goals in their opening tie a week previously, Clare demonstrated that lessons were quickly learned in the intervening period as they held a vice-like grip on proceedings from start to finish to run out comprehensive winners.
Their appetite, movement and confidence was a clear step ahead of Waterford who had all the hallmarks of a nervy side playing in their first championship tie. Clare made the most of home advantage though with centre-back James Hegarty, playmaker Jack O’Neill, scorer-in-chief Cian Neylon and newcomer Sean McMahon pulling the strings for a Banner side that were 15 points clear at one stage of the second period.
Unerring freetaker Oisin Whelan, Diarmuid Stritch, goalkeeper Mark Sheedy and a miserly full-back line headed by the ever-impressive Fionan Treacy completed a near-perfect performance ahead of the knock-out stages next Tuesday.
Clare took the wind advantage and capitalised with the first seven points that included braces for O’Neill, Whelan and James Organ by the 20th minute. It took Waterford until the 21st minute to open their account but it seemed worth the wait when Billy O’Connell floated over a sumptuous lineball from 40 metres.
Far from lifting the visitors, it was the Banner that bit back, with two Whelan placed balls sandwiching a glorious goal opportunity for Cian Neylon that agonisingly drifted past the far right post on their way to a 0-9 to 0-2 interval cushion.
The lively Kilmaley poacher would make amends by the two-thirds mark to blaze through and billow the net amidst a brilliant start to the new half that saw Clare soar 14 clear at 1-14 to 0-3.
Typifying Waterford’s luck or lack of perhaps, the wind had even died down on the restart but it mattered little as they were clearly second best despite grabbing a 58th minute consolation goal through a Conor Tobin rebound.
Not content with that, Clare repaired the damage through replacement Fred Hegarty who made up for lost time with three points in as many minutes to finish the game on the front foot.
Clare’s reward is a home quarter-final against winless Kerry back in Cusack Park next Tuesday while Waterford face another arduous journey to the TUS Gaelic Grounds for their winner-takes-all last six showdown with hosts Limerick.

Clare: Mark Sheedy (Sixmilebridge); Eoghan Gunning (Broadford), Fionan Treacy (Éire Óg), John Cahill (Clooney-Quin); Sean McMahon (Smith O’Brien’s), James Hegarty (Inagh-Kilnamona), Riain McNamara (Cratloe); Piaras Ó Sé (Ruan), Diarmuid Stritch (Clonlara); Michael Collins (Clonlara), Jack O’Neill (Clooney-Quin), James Organ (Corofin); Sam Scanlan (Clooney-Quin), Oisin Whelan (Clarecastle), Cian Neylon (Kilmaley)
Subs: Matthew O’Halloran (Sixmilebridge) for Ó Sé (43), Frankie Lyons (Ruan) for Collins (43), Dylan Keane Hayes (Kilmaley) for Organ (49), Fionn Hayes (Sixmilebridge) for Scanlan (54), Fred Hegarty (Inagh-Kilnamona) for Stritch (56)

Scorers: Cian Neylon (1-5); Oisin Whelan (0-7, 5f); Jack O’Neill, Fred Hegarty (0-3 each); James Organ, Diarmuid Stritch (0-2 each)

Waterford: Brian Callaghan (Abbeyside); Conor Keane (De La Salle), Aaron O’Neill (Ballygunner), Tony Brennan (Ballygunner); Billy O’Connell (Abbeyside), Daniel Lalor (De La Salle), Darragh Walsh (Abbeyside); Sean Mackey (Fenor), Cillian Ryan (Brickey Rangers); Michael Morrissey (Fourmilewater), Peter Cummins (Brickey Rangers), Gearoid Power (Clonea); Conor Tobin (Ballygunner), Jack Twomey (De La Salle), Ben O’Sullivan (Lismore)
Subs: Jake Henley (Tallow) for Ryan (27), Bobby Drohan (St Molleran’s) for Lalor (35), Josh Hegarty (St Molleran’s) for Power (38), Barry Flynn (Erin’s Own) for Mackey (48), Joe O’Keeffe (Lismore) for O’Sullivan (51)

Scorers: Jack Twomey (0-4f); Conor Tobin (1-1); Billy O’Connell (sl), Sean Mackey, Peter Cummins (0-1 each)

Referee: Eamon Stapleton (Limerick)

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