Clare were lucky to emerge victorious in their Munster football championship encounter with Waterford after the visitors mounted a second-half comeback in front of 2,136 at Cusack Park in Ennis.

In what can only be described as a most disappointing contest, Clare saw a half time lead of six points reduced to the minimum on an evening when they could only score one point in the second half.

The visitors set out determined to limit Clare’s scoring chances and there were many times in the opening half when all fifteen Waterford players were in their own half.

While Clare experienced great difficulty in breaking down this system they did manage to build up a six-point lead in the opening half and went to the break with the scoreline reading 0-8 to 0-2.

Clare led o-4 to 0-0 at the end of the opening quarter, all four points having come from centre forward Eoin Cleary.

A further three minutes elapsed before Shane Ahearne opened the visitor’s account when he converted a 35m free but Cleary responded with two more while Jamie Malone and Dean Ryan also hit the target for the winners before the half time whistle.

Clare landed the opening score of the second half through Jamie Malone but from here on Waterford dictated matters.

Substitutes Dessie and J.J. Hutchinson improved matters for the visitors who had rallied to within two points of the home side with five minutes of regular time to play.

However from here to the end which included four minutes of additional time, Waterford only managed one more point and favourites Clare held on for victory which means a provincial semi-final clash, at the Ennis venue, with holders Kerry at the beginning of June.

There will have to be huge improvement in form if the Banner side is to trouble the raging hot favourites.

Speaking after the victory Clare manager Colm Collins said: "I'm not happy with the performance but championship football is all about winning and whether it be one point or twenty one it doesn’t matter as long as you are in the next round.

"We have a lot of things to work on and nobody will be under any illusions about where we are after today. We missed a lot of chances. We will just look now to June 1st."

Clare: Stephen Ryan; Kevin Hartnett, Cillian Brennan, Gordon Kelly; Sean Collins, Aaron Fitzgerald, Dean Ryan (0-1); Gary Brennan, Darragh Bohannon; Kieran Malone, Eoin Cleary (0-6, 3f), Jamie Malone (0-2); Cormac Murray, Gavin Cooney, Cian O’Dea

Subs: Gearoid O’Brien for K. Malone, Conal O’h-Ainifein for Cooney, Cathal O’Connor for Bohannon (black card), Dale Masterson for Murray, Davy O’Halloran for Collins.

Waterford: Darren Mulhearne; Sean O’Donovan, Ray O’Ceallaigh, James McGrath; Brian Looby, Shane Ryan, Tadhg O h-Uallachain (0-1); Shane Ahrene (0-1, f), Tommy Prendergast; Sean Whelan-Barrett, Dylan Guiry, Conor Murray (0-2); Jack Mullaney, Fergal O’ Cuirrin, Michael Curry

Subs: Dessie Hutchinson (0-2) for Whelan-Barett, J.J. Hutchinson (0-2) for Mullaney, Donie Fitzgerald for O’Cuirin, Jason Curry for Guiry, Billy O’Keeffe for O’h-Uallachain, Brian Lynch for Murray.

Referee: B. Cawley (Kildare)