WATERFORD 3-27 CLARE 3-18 Waterford into the last four as they beat Clare at Pairc Ui Chaoimh
Waterford, the team that forgot how to win, are into the last four in the race for the Liam MacCarthy Cup after pulling away to a nine-points win against Clare at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.
Having gone two full seasons without a victory, this was a magnificent display from Liam Cahill’s men, setting up a South-East derby against Kilkenny next Saturday in Croke Park.
They led by just a goal at half-time after a spectacular opening 35 minutes, but Clare then fella away in the second-half with the previously unstoppable, Tony Kelly, gradually drifting to the periphery.
Waterford signalled their intentions to go for the jugular almost from first whistle, Dessie Hutchinson burying a 2nd minute goal after Clare goalkeeper, Eibhear Quilligan, had brilliantly parried an Austin Gleeson pile-driver.
Four minutes later the Ballygunner man had a second, this time latching onto breaking ball from a monster Stephen O’Keeffe delivery and firing past the unprotected Quilligan.
It was a nightmare opening for Clare, their defenders palpably spooked by Waterford’s hunger for goals.
Brian Lohan had made three changes to the Clare team announced, Jack Browne, David McInerney and Aaron Shanagher coming in for David Reidy, David Fitzgerald and Colin Guilfoyle. With Calum Lyons given the task of marshalling ‘Hurler of the Year’ candidate, Kelly, Shanagher found himself a relatively isolated figure on Clare’s inside attacking line.
Waterford led 2-5 to 0-6 before Shanagher finally got in on the act, burying his shot past O’Keeffe for an 18th minute goal after brilliant build-up play between McInerney and Ryan Taylor created an overlap.
Incredibly, Clare were in front two minutes later, Shanagher again, the big Shannon man finding the net after a long delivery from Patrick O’Connor.
That left the score 2-6 to 2-5, Clare appearing to benefit most from the first water-break and, though Kelly was being well marshalled by Lyons, the Banner seemed to be easing away approaching the half-hour before two terrific Stephen Bennett points drew Waterford level.
From there, it was nip-and-tuck to the stroke of half-time before Hutchinson brilliantly set up Jack Fagan for Waterford’s third goal, sending Liam Cahill’s men in at the interval leading 3-10 to 2-10.
A 57th minute Aidan McCarthy goal for Clare reduced the deficit to four points and but for a wonderful Stephen O’Keeffe save from Aaron Cunningham three minutes later, there might have been a different conclusion. But Waterford just had far too much firepower for the Banner in the end and ran out convincing winners.
SCORERS: Waterford –S Bennett 0-10 (0-7 frees), D Hutchinson 2-2, J Fagan 1-1, K Bennett 0-3, A Gleeson, J Barron and C Gleeson 0-2 each, C Lyons, T de Burca, N Montgomery, D Lyons 0-1 each.
Clare – T Kelly 0-80-6 frees0, A Shanagher 2-1, A McCarthy 1-0, C Malone 0-4, S O’Donnell 0-2, R Taylor and D Reidy 0-1. D McInerney 0-1 (line cut).
WATERFORD: S O’Keeffe, I Kenny, C Prunty, S McNulty, C Lyons, T de Burca, K Moran, J Barron, J Dillon, J Fagan, K Bennett, S Bennett, D Hutchinson, A Gleeson, J Prendergast. Subs – N Montgomery for Prendergast (half-time), D Lyons for Dillon (45 mins), P Curran for Fagan (60), C Gleeson for A Gleeson (66 mins), C Kirwan for Hutchinson (72 mins)
CLARE: E Quilligan, J Browne, R Hayes, C Cleary, S O’Halloran, A McCarthy, S Morey, P O’Connor, D McInerney, J McCarthy, T Kelly, C Malone, S O’Donnell, A Shanagher, R Taylor. Subs – D Fitzgerald for Browne (half-time), D Ryan for McCarthy (52 mins), A Cunningham for McInerney (56 mins), D Reidy for Fitzgerald (56 mins), C McInerney for Taylor (61 mins)
Referee – P O’Dwer (Carlow)
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