Waterford 0-22 Clare 1-15

Updated: Tuesday, 08 Jun 2010 09:35

Maurice Shanahan of Waterford with Clare's Conor Cooney in close attention
Maurice Shanahan of Waterford with Clare's Conor Cooney in close attention


Waterford overcame Clare’s battling youngsters to reach the Munster SHC final at Semple Stadium.

A cracking Bank Holiday encounter was level seven times, hung in the balance right until the final stages, before the experienced Decies pushed for home with a powerful surge.

Clare boss Ger O’Loughlin handed out six debuts, and by the end of the game, 10 members of last year’s all-Ireland U21 winning team had joined the action.

But it was the Waterford bench that turned the tide after the banner had gone in at the break with a four points lead.

Declan Prendergast fired over three superb points, with Seamus Prendergast and Ken McGrath also coming on to shoot inspirational scores.

Despite their inexperience, Clare embraced the challenge with confidence and conviction, and looked intent on causing an upset with their high energy approach in the first half.

It looked as if the script was to be followed to the letter when Stephen Molumphy and John Mullane flighted over early Deice points.

But Clare, with Pat Donnellan and Cian Dillon performing heroics at the back, tackled like demons, and forced a series of turnovers which created the scoring opportunities for Sean Clancy, Jonathan Clancy and John Conlon to put away.

By the 21st minute, they had opened out a 0-8 to 0-3 lead, with rookie midfielder Nicky O’Connell helping himself to three excellent scores.

Eoin Kelly kept a flagging Waterford side in touch with long range frees, and Mullane executed an overhead gem for the second time.

Waterford had narrowed the gap to two points when Banner full forward Darach Honan picked up a loose ball to blast home a brilliant 33rd minute goal.

Kelly and Kevin Moran responded with points, but at the break, it was the Clare men who led by 1-10 to 0-9.

Once the Decies got the wind in their backs in the second half, they carried a much greater threat.

With 37-year-old veteran Tony Browne driving his younger colleagues on from the half back line, they set about dismantling Clare’s lead.

Kevin Moran, Molumphy, Maurice Shanahan and Mullane were all on target, with Declan Prendergast firing over three gems.

Clare were far from finished, though, and went back in front through substitute Cormac O’Donovan and Honan.

But Waterford had the will to produce a response each time their opponents registered, and late scores from Kelly, McGrath and Seamus Prendergast sealed the win and a place in the decider.

Waterford: C. Hennessy, E. Murphy L Lawlor N Connors, T. Browne, M Walsh, J Nagle, R Foley, S O'Sullivan, D Shanahan, K Moran (0-2), S Molumphy (0-3), J Mullane (0-3), E Kelly (0-6, 4f), M Shanahan (0-2).
Subs: D Prendergast (0-3) for Nagle (h-t), S Prendergast (0-2) for M Shanahan (49), S Walsh for D Shanahan (59), K McGrath (0-1) for Moran (64), E McGrath for Molumphy (70)

Clare: D Touhy, P Vaughan, C Dillon, C Cooney, B Bugler, D McMahon, P Donnellan, B O’Connell, N O’Connell (0-3, 1f), S Collins (0-2), J Conlon (0-1), J Clancy (0-3), F Lynch, D Honan (1-3), C Ryan (0-1).
Subs; C O’Donovan (0-1) for Ryan (44), D O’Donovan for B O’Connell (51), D Barrett (0-1) for Lynch (56), A Markham for Clancy (65)

Referee: B Galvin (Offaly)