CLARE’s senior footballers will contest back to back Munster finals for the first time since 1937.

Clare 2-20
Waterford 1-9
Venue: Fraher Field, Dungarvan

As expected Clare’s senior footballers proved too strong for Waterford on Saturday evening to seal their place in the Munster SFC final and also guarantee their inclusion in the All-Ireland SFC for 2024.

Mark Fitzgerald’s charges were the superior side and deservedly booked their passage to the provincial final where they will meet Kerry for the second year in a row, the tie is scheduled for May 5th.

Injury ruled out both Daniel Walsh and Micheál Garry for the tie, the duo are expected to be back in contention for the Munster final. Clare welcomed back Cillian Brennan and Darragh Bohannon for their first games of the year and the duo made their experience count.

Without question they’ll acknowledge that the challenge is going to be much tougher the next day out, their objective for this tie was to leave Waterford with a win and that was achieved, a task that has proved to be very difficult for Clare teams in the past.

An array of scorers helped Clare build up an early cushion and by the twelfth minute, they led 0-6 0-1, excellent points from Dermot Coughlan and Emmet McMahon in this spell lifting the spirits of the travelling Banner contingent.

Aided by better shooting efficiency and an ability to move the ball, Clare were able to stay ahead of their opponents throughout. Waterford’s best run in the opening half was to put back to back points together between the twenty fourth and twenty sixth minute, defenders Robbie McGrath and Ross Browne hitting the target.

Clare responded to this with 1-2 on the bounce to go in leading by ten points at the interval. Emmet McMahon kicked the first of these points, there was confusion on this white flag with referee David Murnane having to consult with his umpires and for some reason the officials ended up awarding Clare two points for this shot, a matter that was not resolved until just before the second half commenced.

Paudie Hunt’s subsequent kickout went straight out over the sideline and from here Clare quickly pounced with McMahon raiding for a green flag on a rebound. Mark McInerney closed out the scoring in the half to see Clare hold a 1-11 0-4 advantage at the interval.

There was almost an immediate goal on the restart but Aaron Griffin’s effort missed the target. Darragh Bohannon and Ciaran Downes extended the distance between the teams before Mark McInerney palmed home to the net on forty six minutes, the green flag arising after Alan Sweeney turned over possession in defence before powering forward.

Waterford responded immediately with a goal of their own as Tom O’Connell got between Cillian Brennan and Stephen Ryan to slip the ball into the net.

Aaron Griffin with two and one from Ciaran Downes saw Clare kick three points on the bounce, they almost had a goal with this sequence but Cormac Murray was deemed to be in the square and his goal disallowed, ironically this was not the first time the Miltown Malbay man was denied by David Murnane this year.

Mark Fitzgerald and his management emptied the bench as the contest continued with championship debuts for Diarmuid O’Donnell who kicked two excellent points, Cian Burke and Tom McDonald.

What could have been a banana skin has been overcome by Clare with ease, along with the result in the bag they leave Waterford with no extra injuries and begin preparing for a Munster final. In what was a dominant collective display from Clare, Ronan Lanigan, Darragh Bohannon, Dermot Coughlan, Aaron Griffin and Mark McInerney impressed.

Scorers Clare: E McMahon (1-3 1f), A Griffin (0-5), M McInerney (1-02 1f), C Downes (0-4 1’45), D Bohannon (0-2), D O’Donnell (0-2), G Murray (0-1)

Scorers for Waterford: Tom O’Connell 1-1 (1f), Alan Dunwoody 0-3 (2fs) Jason Curry 0-2 (1f), Ross Browne, Robbie McGrath, Seán Whelan-Barrett 0-1 each.

Clare:
1: Stephen Ryan (Kilrush Shamrocks)

2: Manus Doherty (Éire Óg)
3: Cillian Brennan (Clondegad)
4: Ronan Lanigan (Éire Óg)

5: Alan Sweeney (St Breckan’s)
6: Cillian Rouine (Ennistymon)
19. Ikem Ugwueru (Éire Óg)

8: Brian McNamara (Cooraclare)
9: Darragh Bohannon (Shannon Gaels)

10: Gavin Murray (Éire Óg)
11: Dermot Coughlan (Kilmurry Ibrickane)
12: Ciaran Downes (Kilmihil)

13: Emmet McMahon (Kildysart)
14: Aaron Griffin (Lissycasey)
15: Mark McInerney (Éire Óg)

Subs:
20: Cormac Murray (St. Joseph’s, Miltown) for McMahon (45)
23: Joe McGann (St. Breckan’s) for Bohannon (51)
24: Diarmuid O’Donnell (Kildysart) for McInerney (54)
18: Cian Burke (St Breckan’s) for Sweeney (58)
25: Tom McDonald (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield) for Coughlan (67)

Waterford:
1: Paudie Hunt (Rathgormack)

2: Ross Browne (Colligan)
3: Caoimhin Walsh (Kilrossanty)
4: Liam Fennell (Stradbally)

6: Dermot Ryan (Nire)
5: Billy O’Keeffe (Gaultier)
7: Robbie McGrath (Ballinameela)

9: Jason Curry (Rathcormack)
8: Michael Curry (Rathcormack)

18: Sean Whelan-Barrett ((Abbeyside/Ballinacourty)
15: James Power (Rathcormack)
12: Willie Beresford (Abbeyside/Ballinacourty)

13: Stephen Curry (Rathcormack)
14: Tom O’Connell (Brickey Rangers)
11: Donie Fitzgerald (Kilrossanty)

Subs:
21: Jame Walsh (Modeligo) for Fitzgerald (38)
10: Caolan Mac Craith (An Rinn) for Beresford (42)
17: Alan Dunwoody (Kilrossanty) for Browne (46)
20: Billy Hynes (Shamrocks) for McGrath (60)
22: Michael O’Brien (Stradbally) for J Curry (65)

Referee: David Murnane (Cork)

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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