Two late Waterford goals can’t deny superb Clare, who book final meeting with Tipperary

Clare 2-20
Waterford 3-16

Eoin Brennan reports from Fraher Field

LAST GASP WATERFORD goals from Tommy Ryan and Stephen Bennett ultimately weren’t sufficient to stop Clare from advancing to next Sunday’s Co-Op Superstores Munster hurling league final against Tipperary.

Tempers flare between the sides.

Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Leading by 12 points by the 26th minute and still nine by half-time, a razor-sharp Clare did have to contend with an inevitable home second half backlash led by Stephen Bennett and inspirational substitute Kevin Moran to cut the deficit to four by the 58th minute.

A Colin Guilfoyle goal in the next passage of play, his second in the space of a week, appeared to settle matters though as the visitors held a seven-point cushion entering four minutes of additional time.

However, backed by a large home support in the 3,039 attendance, Waterford refused to accept their perceived fate and in a frantic finish, Ryan and top-scorer Bennett finished with a superb haul of 2-12 both raided for goals to slash the arrears to just one before the final whistle sounded on the resulting puck-out.

It was all so different in the opening half as In contrast to their slow start against Cork last time out, Clare hit the ground running with the first five points in as many minutes through Diarmuid Ryan (2), Colin Guilfoyle, Shane Golden and Ryan Taylor.

Jason McCarthy takes on Waterford’s DJ Foran.

Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Stephen Bennett would get the home side off the mark a minute later with a free from halfway but it failed to settle Waterford as a rampant Clare fired six of the next seven points, three from Diarmuid Ryan, to soar 0-11 to 0-2 clear by the end of the opening quarter.

And in truth, the gap could have been much wider at this early stage only for home goalkeeper Billy Nolan to pull off two important stops to deny Aron Shanagher and Mikey O’Neill. Waterford did improve as the half wore on, evidenced by carving out goal chances of their own for Shane Bennett and Tommy Ryan but Donal Tuohy, in his first start of 2019, was equal to both.

And those saves would prove crucial as Tony Kelly showed remarkable anticipation to get in on the end of a half-blocked Aron Shanagher effort for a point in the 26th minute as he flicked the ball past Nolan before pulling to an empty net to give Clare their biggest advantage of the afternoon at 1-13 to 0-4.

Aron Shanagher takes on Conor Prunty.

Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

So while Waterford’s sole first half scorer Stephen Bennett grabbed their first score from play with a 33rd minute goal, in contrast Niall Deasy would finish the half with Clare’s first from a placed ball to take a 1-14 to 1-5 lead into the break.

With the introduction of Kevin Moran, Waterford’s revival gathered pace on the turnover, with five more Stephen Bennett points eventually making it a four-point game.

However, Guilfoyle’s back post goaled finish after an inch-perfect pass from substitute Podge Collins would prove crucial as would Diarmuid Ryan’s sixth point of the afternoon as Clare survived the late home onslaught to set-up a final place against Tipperary for the first time since 2014.

Scorers for Clare: Diarmuid Ryan 0-6; Niall Deasy 0-5 (3f); Tony Kelly 1-2; Colin Guilfoyle 1-1; Shane Golden 0-3; Ryan Taylor, Aidan McCarthy, Davy Conroy 0-1 each

Scorers for Waterford: Stephen Bennett 2-12 (1-10f); Tommy Ryan 1-1; DJ Foran, Kevin Moran, Mikey Kearney 0-1 each

Clare

1. Donal Tuohy (Crusheen)

4. Rory Hayes (Wolfe Tones)
3. David McInerney (Tulla)
2. Jason McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona)

7. Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge)
21. Conor Cleary (St Joseph’s Miltown)
5. Aidan McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona)

8. Shane Golden (Sixmilebridge)
12. Ryan Taylor (Clooney-Quin)

11. Niall Deasy (Ballyea)
23. Tony Kelly (Ballyea) (Captain)
10. Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe)

15. Mikey O’Neill (Kilmaley)
14. Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones)
17. Colin Guilfoyle (Newmarket-on-Fergus)

Subs

20. Jack Browne (Ballyea) for Hayes (13)
13. Gary Cooney (O’Callaghan’s Mills) for Shanagher (52)
25. Podge Collins (Cratloe) for O’Neill (55)
9. Davy Conroy (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield) for Guilfoyle (59)
18. Mikey O’Malley (Kilmaley) for Taylor (60)

Waterford

1. Billy Nolan (Roanmore)

4. Noel Connors (Passage) (Captain)
3. Conor Prunty (Abbeyside)
2. Darragh Lyons (Dungarvan)

5. Micheal Harney (Bunmahon)
6. Austin Gleeson (Mount Sion)
7. Kieran Bennett (Ballysaggart)

8. Jamie Barron (Fourmilewater)
9. Stephen Roche (Mount Sion)

23. Colin Dunford (Colligan)
11. Shane Bennett (Ballysaggart)
12. DJ Foran (Portlaw)

15. Jack Prendergast (Lismore)
14. Stephen Bennett (Ballysaggart)
13. Tommy Ryan (Tallow)

Subs

10. Kevin Moran (De La Salle) for Gleeson (HT)
26. Callum Lyons (Ballyduff Lower) for Harney (HT)
24. Mikey Kearney (Ballyduff Upper) for Shane Bennett (44)
21. Michael Walsh (Stradbally) for Prendergast (52)
19. Jordan Henley (Tallow) for Lyons (70)

Referee: Kevin Jordan (Tipperary)

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