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*David Reidy made his first championship start of the year. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

CLARE’s senior hurlers marched into the Munster final while storming past the challenge of Waterford on Sunday evening.

Clare 3-31
Waterford 2-22
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis

With the Munster Final on the horizon, Clare made light work of Waterford recording a commanding twelve point victory on a day when eleven different players in saffron and blue registered on the scoreboard while more importantly their workrate far outweighed their Déise counterparts.

Last week’s encounter with Limerick may have brought with it a carnival atmosphere to the county town and a ding-dong battle to boot. Seven days on, there was a hive of activity around Ennis once more but the contest on the field was far from the same level. To their credit, Clare kept a high standard but Waterford were unable to match them.

Cian Nolan became the first Smith O’Briens since Martin McKeogh in 1978 to represent the county in senior championship when he lined out at corner back. The Killaloe defender was one of four debutants to feature in the tie, Adam Hogan viewed by many as a future county full-back plus Wolfe Tones’ Darragh Lohan and Éamonn Foudy both of whom represented Clare at minor and U20 grades were all given championship action for the first time.

Although there was six changes in personnel from the Banner team to beat Waterford, their side was far from weakened. That was to be expected as the players given the opportunity were eager to impress in a bid to stake a claim for the provincial final.

With less than five minutes played, Clare had four points on the board with Waterford yet to register a single blow. It got worse for the visitors as Tadhg de Burca and Jamie Barron were both forced off with injury by the time the tenth minute came around. They put together a brace of 0-04 on the trot to trail by three points with sixteen minutes played, that would be the closest they got as Clare continued to move through the gears.

Key to Clare’s strong displays so far this year is an impressive workrate, this was typified in each of their three green flags. Peter Duggan forced the turnover which ended in David Reidy’s goal on twenty four minutes, a pinpoint pass from Ian Galvin serving as the link between them.

Cathal Malone covered the yards to be a visible option before launching the high ball which Duggan fed to Shane O’Donnell who in turn found David Fitzgerald to pick the net for goal number two on the stroke of half-time, the gap at the interval was 2-16 0-09.

Fitzgerald raided for goal with the first score of the second half, Duggan again doing the unseen work to win back possession for the hosts.

When the nature of the game became apparent, it was always a case of by how much, Clare were going to win and the margin of twelve points is somewhat flattering to a Waterford side who lacked energy, leaders and fight. The same cannot be said of Clare who despite being without more senior players, brushed aside with ease and vigour the challenge of their Munster rivals who according to a vast majority of experts were destined for big things in this year’s championship. Apart from Dessie Hutchison, too many of their players fell short of the standard required for do or die clashes,

Shane O’Donnell’s form continues to be top class for Brian Lohan’s side, his unselfishness coupled with a razor sharp touch and his ability has brought a new dimension to their Clare attack. So too has the return of Peter Duggan who is showing a perfect example of the level of work a modern day forward has to bring to the table. David Fitzgerald at this stage is having his best championship campaign at senior level, greatly helped by the fact he is being kept in the same position. David McInerney has rediscovered his top form and is contributing to the scoresheet as well as the turnover count while the showings from David Reidy, Shane Meehan, Cathal Malone and Cian Nolan were also positive.

Scorers Clare: D Fitzgerald (2-03), P Duggan (0-08 3f, 2’65, 1SC), S O’Donnell (0-05), D Reidy (1-02), C Malone (0-03), D McInerney (0-02), R Taylor (0-02), R Mounsey (0-02), I Galvin (0-01), S Golden (0-01), S Meehan (0-01),

Scorers Waterford: D Hutchinson (1-06), P Curran (1-04 2f), S Bennett (0-05 3f 1’65), C Lyons (0-02), K Bennett (0-02), P Hogan (0-01), P Mahony (0-01), A Gleeson (0-01)

1: Eibhear Quilligan (Feakle)

4: Cian Nolan (Smith O’Briens)
3: Conor Cleary (St Joseph’s Miltown)
2: Rory Hayes (Wolfe Tones)

5: Jack Browne (Ballyea)
6: Aaron Fitzgerald (Éire Óg)
7: David McInerney (Tulla)

10: Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge)
9: Shane Golden (Sixmilebridge)

12: Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg)
8: David Fitzgerald (Inagh/Kilnamona)
15: Ryan Taylor (Clooney/Quin)

11: David Reidy (Éire Óg)
13: Ian Galvin (Clonlara)
14: Peter Duggan (Clooney/Quin)

19: Shane Meehan (Banner) for Galvin (43)
26: Robin Mounsey (Ruan) for Reidy (48)
21: Adam Hogan (Feakle) for Hayes (53)
20: Darragh Lohan (Wolfe Tones) for A Fitzgerald (56)
16: Eamonn Foudy (Inagh/Kilnamona) for Quilligan (59)

1: Shaun O’Brien (De La Salle)

2: Ian Kenny (Ballygunner)
6: Tadhg De Burca (Clashmore-Kinsalebeg)
3: Conor Gleeson (Fourmilewater)

17: Mark Fitzgerald (Passage)
11: Austin Gleeson (Mount Sion)
5: Jack Fagan (De La Salle)

7: Calum Lyons (Ballyduff Lower)
21: Pauric Mahony (Ballygunner)

24: Peter Hogan (Ballygunner)
23: Neil Montgomery (Abbeyside)
10: Jack Prendergast (Lismore)

13: Dessie Hutchinson (Ballygunner)
12: Patrick Curran (Dungarvan)
8: Jamie Barron (Fourmilewater – captain)

4: Shane McNulty (De La Salle) for de Burca (4) (inj)
14: Stephen Bennett (Ballysaggart) for Barron (10) (inj)
18: Kieran Bennett (Ballysaggart) for Fagan (30)
22: Micheal Harney (Bunmahon) for Mahony (HT)
26: DJ Foran (Portlaw) for Montgomery (56)

Referee: Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow)

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