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Photography by Natasha Barton

HURLING: Unbeaten Banner only getting better

Munster Senior Hurling Championship Round 5
Clare 3-31 Waterford 2-22

CLARE deservedly soared to the summit of the Munster Senior Championship table after producing a spectacular finale to decimate the Deise in Cusack Park Ennis this afternoon, reports Eoin Brennan.
Having qualified for the Munster Final with a game to spare, Brian Lohan made six changes for their final group outing against a Waterford side desperate to stay afloat in the championship. However, a new-look Clare gelled with immediate effect as eleven different scorers allowed the hosts to lead comfortably from start to finish and soar as much as twenty points clear at one stage of the second half.
Central to the latest command performance was the scoring feats of the untrackable David Fitzgerald (2-3), the tireless work-rate of Peter Duggan (0-8) and a classy yet clinical display from Shane O’Donnell (0-5) who combined for 2-16 of their side’s handsome tally.
There were debuts for Cian Nolan, Aaron Fitzgerald and St Joseph’s Tulla’s Harty Cup winning full-back Adam Hogan while David Reidy and Shane Golden’s first starts of this year’s championship yielded scores as did the introduction of Robin Mounsey and Shane Meehan.
Indeed, Clare could do no wrong as their unstoppable collective momentum has propelled them to new heights with second quarter goals through David Reidy and David Fitzgerald capitalising on a sizeable wind at their backs to power 2-16 to 0-09 ahead by half-time.
Contrary to expectations, that dominant pattern would remain on the restart as Fitzgerald’s second major only four minutes into the new half effectively killed off any residual resistance from a deflated Waterford.
Dessie Hutchinson did pull back a badly-needed goal for the visitors in the 44th minute but that only seemed to ignite Clare’s challenge once more as the home side answered with seven of the next eight points to ease 3-24 to 1-11 ahead by the turn of the final quarter.
A three point blitz from captain Cathal Malone allied to some superb leadership from O’Donnell and Duggan kept the scoreboard ticking over as not even an injury-time goal for Patrick Curran could dampen the home high spirits.
The countdown to the ultimate Shannonside derby showdown in the Munster Final in Thurles in a fortnight’s time start here.

Clare: Eibhear Quilligan (Feakle); Cian Nolan (Smith O’Brien’s), Conor Cleary (St Joseph’s Miltown), Rory Hayes (Wolfe Tones); Jack Browne (Ballyea), Aaron Fitzgerald (Éire Óg), David McInerney (Tulla); Shane Golden (Sixmilebridge), Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge); Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg), David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona), Ryan Taylor (Clooney-Quin); Ian Galvin (Clonlara), David Reidy (Éire Óg), Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin)
Subs: Shane Meehan (Banner) for Galvin (43), Robin Mounsey (Ruan) for Reidy (49), Adam Hogan (Feakle) for Hayes (54), Darragh Lohan (Wolfe Tones) for Fitzgerald (56), Eamonn Foudy (Inagh-Kilnamona) for Quilligan (59)

Scorers: David Fitzgerald (2-3); Peter Duggan (0-8, 3f, 2’65, 1s/l); Shane O’Donnell (0-5); David Reidy (1-2); Cathal Malone (0-4); David McInerney, Robin Mounsey, Ryan Taylor (0-2 each); Ian Galvin, Shane Golden, Shane Meehan (0-1 each)

Waterford: Shaun O’Brien (De La Salle); Ian Kenny (Ballygunner), Tadhg de Búrca (Clashmore/Kinsalebeg), Conor Gleeson (Fourmilewater); Mark Fitzgerald (Passage), Austin Gleeson (Mount Sion), Jack Fagan (De La Salle); Calum Lyons (Ballyduff Lower), Pauric Mahony (Ballygunner); Peter Hogan (Ballygunner), Neil Montgomery (Abbeyside), Jack Prendergast (Lismore); Dessie Hutchinson (Ballygunner), Patrick Curran (Dungarvan), Jamie Barron (Fourmilewater)
Subs: Shane McNulty (De La Salle) for de Búrca (4, inj), Stephen Bennett (Ballysaggart) for Barron (11, inj), Kieran Bennett (Ballysaggart) for Fagan (31, inj), Micheál Harney (Bunmahon) for Mahony (HT), DJ Foran (Portlaw) for Montgomery (57)

Dessie Hutchinson (1-6); Patrick Curran (1-4, 2f); Stephen Bennett (0-5, 3f, 1’65); Calum Lyons, Kieran Bennett (0-2 each); Peter Hogan, Pauric Mahony, Austin Gleeson (0-1 each)

Referee: Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow)

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