Munster SHC: Clare defeat Waterford in Ennis
Munster Senior Hurling Championship
Clare 3-31 Waterford 2-22
By Eoin Brennan at Cusack Park
Clare clinched top spot in the Munster Senior Hurling Championship table after brushing aside the disappointing challenge of Waterford in front of 16, 144 in Cusack Park Ennis.
With the Deise craving a victory just to stay alive in the championship, they were no match for a momentum-fuelled Banner that despite already safely through to the provincial decider, rested six players and still eased up to a double figure victory.
Without top-scorer Tony Kelly, 11 different scorers stepped up to the mark especially full-forward Peter Duggan and Shane O’Donnell who proved a real handful to the Waterford defence throughout while David Fitzgerald continued his scintillating current form with a 2-3 haul.
With a strong gale dominating proceedings, Clare used it to effectively put the result beyond doubt by half-time as second quarter goals from David Reidy and David Fitzgerald carved out a 13 point margin by the interval at 2-16 to 0-9.
Already dogged by injuries, Waterford’s luckless campaign continued as they also lost experienced duo Tadhg de Búrca and Jamie Barron inside eleven minutes of the throw-in. Despite the wind in their favour for the new half, things would get considerably worse for the visitors when Fitzgerald doubled his goal bounty after the persistent Duggan intercepted in the 39th minute.
Even when Waterford managed to grab a goal of their own in the 44th minute as Stephen Bennett’s quick 20 metre free to Dessie Hutchinson caught the home defence unawares, Clare answered decisively with seven of the next eight points to soar 19 clear by the turn of the final quarter at 3-24 to 1-11.
The Banner emptied the bench to good effect at Robin Mounsey (2) and Shane Meehan both got in on the scoring action while St Joseph’s Tulla’s Harty Cup winning teenager Adam Hogan also made his debut in defence.
Not even the late concession of a soft Patrick Curran goal could curb the Banner buoyancy that has never been higher ahead of their fourth competitive meeting of 2022 with Shannonside neighbours and four-in-a-row chasing Limerick in Thurles in two weeks time.
Scorers for Clare: 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
Scorers for Waterford: 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
Clare: Eibhear Quilligan; Cian Nolan, Conor Cleary, RoryHayes; Jack Browne, Aaron Fitzgerald, David McInerney; Shane Golden, Cathal Malone; Shane O’Donnell, DavidFitzgerald, Ryan Taylor; Ian Galvin, David Reidy, Peter Duggan
Subs: Shane Meehan for Galvin (43), Robin Mounsey for Reidy (49), Adam Hogan for Hayes (54), Darragh Lohan for Fitzgerald (56), Eamonn Foudy for Quilligan (59).
Waterford: Shaun O’Brien; Ian Kenny, Tadhg de Búrca, Conor Gleeson; Mark Fitzgerald, Austin Gleeson, Jack Fagan; Calum Lyons, Pauric Mahony; Peter Hogan, Neil Montgomery, Jack Prendergast; Dessie Hutchinson , Patrick Curran, Jamie Barron
Subs: Shane McNulty for de Búrca (4, inj), Stephen Bennett for Barron (11, inj), Kieran Bennett for Fagan (31, inj), Micheál Harney for Mahony (HT), DJ Foran for Montgomery (57).
Referee: Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow).