Allianz HL Q-F: Impressive Waterford advance
Allianz Hurling League Quarter-Final
WATERFORD 0-31 CLARE 1-14
By Dermot Keyes at Walsh Park
Stephen Bennett’s 16-point haul, in addition to the five-point contributions by Austin Gleeson and Pauric Mahony, steered Waterford to an impressive win against a Clare side who ended this fixture with 13 players.
In front of a paying gate of 2,763, the hosts put their Munster rivals to the sword, ‘winning’ the second half by 0-20 to 1-3, to the delight of a vocal home following. Bennett’s unerring free taking was as notable as Waterford registering only three wides, while the scoring cameos provided by Gleeson and Mahony will have whet the appetite for next Sunday’s semi-final clash with Galway.
At the break, despite playing with a strong wind, Clare led by just two points (1-10 to 0-11) on a surface which held up well despite the morning’s rain.
Pauric Mahony put the hosts ahead after 40 seconds, with Tony Kelly seeing that effort and raising it to put Clare ahead inside two minutes. Austin Gleeson, deployed in a more offensive position by Paraic Fanning, landed a fine point from the right flank following Shane Bennett’s clever pass.
Cathal Malone put the wind to good use with an excellent fourth minute point from the halfway line before Pauric Mahony struck an equally impressive point into the wind from Waterford’s next attack. Peter Duggan converted a seventh minute free following a foul on the lively Gary Cooney, before the impressive Jamie Barron picked out Colm Roche with another excellent strike from distance.
Peter Duggan, scorer of 1-4 in the opening half, turned over a fine free in the 10th minute and he repeated the feat three minutes later after Cooney drew a foul from Deise captain Noel Connors.
On the quarter hour, Shane McNulty’s misplaced pass was intercepted by the onrushing Gary Cooney. And while Stephen O’Keeffe guessed correctly and went to his right, Peter Duggan’s well-struck penalty found the net via the Waterford goalkeeper’s stick to leave Clare five points clear. Pauric Mahony instantly replied with a point before Clare’s Cathal Malone turned over a monstrous effort from his own 65.
Stephen Bennett, still on free-taking duties for the hosts, landed three successive frees before the excellent Peter Duggan found his range over a dead ball placed just outside his own 45 after 25 minutes. Aaron Shanagher was next to score after 27, with Stephen Bennett converting another free a minute later following excellent play by the on-fire Barron. Three minutes from the break, Barron picked out Austin Gleeson down the left flank, from where the former Hurler of the Year nonchalantly bisected the Keane’s Road uprights.
Two minutes later, Conor Cleary completed the Banner’s first half tally, which was soon followed by Stephen Bennett’s fifth free during the first of three additional minutes played by referee Sean Cleere.
The second half was colonised by the hosts, who were level by the 37th minute thanks to points from Stephen Bennett (another monstrous free) and Peter Hogan. Shane Bennett steered over a superbly cut sideline to edge Waterford ahead and from that point on they never looked back, with brother Stephen adding a further free just shy of the 40th minute. Peter Duggan (sent off in the closing moments for a second bookable offence) cut over a sideline ball himself six minutes later but in the context of the second half that proved as good as it got for the Banner. Only Duggan, with two further points, and Tony Kelly would add to Clare’s tally thereafter. And they suffered a further blow in the 61st minute when Conor Cleary received a straight red card following a coming together with Stephen Bennett.
Bennett, in addition to Jamie Barron, Pauric Mahony and Austin Gleeson, proved outstanding, with late scores from Peter Hogan and corner back Shane McNulty providing the icing on top for a Waterford side that was by then brimming with confidence.
Scorers for Waterford: Stephen Bennett 0-16 (14fs), Pauric Mahony, Austin Gleeson 0-5 each, Peter Hogan 0-2, Colm Roche, Shane McNulty, Shane Bennett (Sl) 0-1 each.
*Scorers for Clare: *Peter Duggan 1-8 (1-0 pen, 5fs, 0-1 sl), Tony Kelly 0-3, Cathal Malone 0-2, Conor Cleary, Aaron Shanagher 0-1.
WATERFORD:Stephen O’Keeffe; Shane McNulty, Philip Mahony, Noel Connors; Callum Lyons, Kevin Moran, Austin Gleeson; Jamie Barron, Colm Roche; Jack Prendergast, Mikey Kearney, Pauric Mahony; Peter Hogan, Stephen Bennett, Shane Bennett. *Subs: *Colin Dunford for Prendergast (57), Maurice Shanahan for Kearney (59), Stephen Roche for Barron (68), DJ Foran for Shane Bennett (68), Michael Walsh for Gleeson (69).
*CLARE: *Donal Tuohy; Seadna Morey, David McInerney, Jack Browne; Patrick O’Connor, Conor Cleary, Cathal Malone; Shane Golden, Colm Galvin; Peter Duggan, Tony Kelly, Aidan McCarthy; Gary Cooney, Aaron Shanagher, Podge Collins. *Subs: *Ryan Taylor for Golden (HT), David Fitzgerald for Morey (45), Diarmuid Ryan for Galvin (52), Colin Guilfoyle for Shanagher (56), Michael O’Malley for Collins (58).
Referee: Sean Cleere (Kilkenny)