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Munster Senior Hurling Champ Rd 2

posted 31 May 2018, 15:40 by John O'Sullivan

CLARE……..2-27     WATERFORD…………2-18

By Michael O Connor.

 Clare never looked like losing this tie as Cusack Park welcomed its first Munster Senior Hurling Championship tie in 21 years in front of 13,746 spectators. There were pre-game suggestions of a number of personnel changes in the side but all that transpired was Jamie Shanahan entering the fray at the expense of his clubmate Seadna Morey.

The odds of Waterford making the last three of the group were long due to having all four games away from home and with a 70% win ratio for home teams in the league this year. A near 100% record in the Leinster and Munster championship round robin to date makes their task near impossible. For Clare this was a must win  and for their part produced the goods for their industry with inspirational target man John Conlon (1-3), Tony Kelly (0-6) and 1-10 from Peter Duggan providing leadership. The three delivered 2-19 of the tally of 2-27 as John Conlon was once again the man of the moment from a Clare perspective.  

Waterford meanwhile, while only making their championship bow, are now in real danger of seeing their championship campaign implode after only one match. Injuries going into the game was bad enough but to lose three or four more during the game with further knocks was a morale knocker.  

Already without Austin Gleeson and Pauric Mahony, the Deise also saw Tadgh de Burca, Noel Connors, Darragh Fives and Barry Coughlan succumb to injury at varying stages. With all that to contend with team manager Derek McGrath has to now plan without veteran Kevin Moran who was sent off at the three quarter mark after a clash with Tony Kelly.   

 Waterford did start the better thanks in the main to a ninth minute goal from Maurice Shanahan who was perfectly after Tom Devine's initial shot was saved by goalkeeper Donal Tuohy. However, This was as good as it got for the visitors to headquarters . The loss of inspirational Waterford star Tadgh de Burca allied to a 17th minute John Conlon-earned penalty saw the momentum shifted irrevocably in Clare's favour thereafter as Peter Duggan stepped up to rifle to the top left corner of the net. Indeed on the Saturday the top scorer for Clare on the day could be seen in Cusack Park lining the pitch for the game.  Suddenly, Clare sparked into life, led by a Shane O'Donnell dispossessing shoulder on Barry Coughlan that resulted in a point for the 2013 hero. Two minutes later, John Conlon bulldozed his way past two defenders for Clare's second goal while a further four point rally without reply, three from Duggan, put the hosts 2-10 to 1-06 clear by the 32nd minute. The Clare support were now at the loudest sensing a win in this game. 

Waterford did hit back with points from Tom Devine, Maurice Shanahan and Kevin Moran to lessen the half-time damage to five at 2-11 to 1-09. However, early retirements for defensive trio Noel Connors, Darragh Fives and Barry Coughlan soon quenched Waterford's hopes as the second half developed. How unlucky could one side get was from a Waterford perspective heartbreaking but as Clare needed the win they did not hold back even though they had a few shaky moments early on in the second half. A goal from substitute Tommy Ryan did wipe out Clare's early blitz from Kelly (2) and Conlon but following the dismissal of captain Kevin Moran, it would prove merely a damage limitation exercise from Derek McGrath's side despite a strong showing from Stephen Bennett. The Waterford subs bench did its job quite well adding (1-4) from  play yet it was the only resistance of note experienced by a now rampant Clare side.

 Peter Duggan continued to add to the home side's advantage  Tony Kelly and Colm Galvin also surged to the fore to ensure that Clare finally ran out easy winners as the only drawback was a late salvo of Waterford scores to reduce the Clare winning tally. Best for the winners included John Conlon, Colm Galvin, Peter Duggan, Tony Kelly, Jamie Shanahan, David Fitzgerald and David Reidy. Waterford will improve from the game but the shortage of players may hamper the extent of this despite the best efforts of Noel Connors, Jake Dillon, Maurice Shanahan, Jamie Barron, Philip Mahony and Shane Fives.  

Clare: Donal Tuohy; Jack Browne, David McInerney, Patrick O'Connor; David Fitzgerald (0-1), Conor Cleary, Jamie Shanahan (0-2); Colm Galvin (0-2), Cathal Malone; Peter Duggan (1-10), Tony Kelly (0-6), David Reidy (0-1); Conor McGrath (0-1), John Conlon (1-3), Shane O'Donnell (0-1) 

Subs: Podge Collins for McGrath, Seadna Morey for Malone, Niall Deasy for Reidy, Mikey O'Neill for O'Donnell, Daragh Corry for Conlon  

Waterford: Stephen O'Keeffe; Barry Coughlan, Shane Fives, Noel Connors; Philip Mahony (0-1), Tadhg de Burca (0-1), Darragh Fives; Jamie Barron (0-1), Conor Gleeson (0-1); Kevin Moran (0-1), Maurice Shanahan (1-06), Jake Dillon (0-2); Michael Walsh, Tom Devine (0-1), Shane McNulty  

Subs: Colm Roche for de Burca, Stephen Bennett (0-2) for Connors, DJ Foran (0-1) for Walsh, Tommy Ryan (1-1) for D. Fives, Ian Kenny for Coughlan  

Referee: Paud O'Dwyer (Carlow)