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Conlon’s goal crucial as Clare secure winning championship start

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*John Conlon leading the Clare attack. Photograph: Martin Connolly

Clare’s 2019 Munster senior hurling campaign is off to a successful start following a nail-biting one point win over Waterford.

Clare 1-20
Wateford 0-22
Venue: Walsh Park,

11,012 spectators gathered in Walsh Park for the first Munster SHC tie at the venue since 1996, a time when debutant Diarmuid Ryan, second half substitute Aidan McCarthy and his older brother Jason were not even born. All present were on the edge of their seats for the final few moments as Waterford put Clare to the pin of their collars.

It is the second time in as many years that Clare have beaten Waterford in the Munster SHC and now means that since 2009, both teams have defeated each other three times.

John Conlon made it a dream start for Clare goaling in the first two minutes of the contest. Donal Tuohy’s puckout from a missed Stephen Bennett free reached the opposing 21m line, the resulting ruck was retrieved by Shane O’Donnell who broke from the Waterford defence and offloaded to a free John Conlon 13m from goal. The Clonlara attacked rounded Stephen O’Keeffe and could make no mistake in firing to the back of the net. His strike would prove to be the difference at the final whistle.

Two points in succession, one each from Peter Duggan and Tony Kelly followed but Waterford would cancel them via Conor Gleeson and Stephen Bennett.

Clare raided for a second goal with Shane O’Donnell hitting home but referee James Owens disallowed the effort as John Conlon was adjudged to have fouled Noel Connors with nine minutes gone.

Their dominance continued throughout the half with Waterford enduring a ten minute scoring drought, broken by Mikey Kearney at the start of additional time. Peter Duggan picked off the final score of the first half securing an eight point cushion at the interval. The Clooney/Quin man won the placed ball after an excellent catch from a Donal Tuohy puckout. In the battle of the freetakers, Duggan had five from five with Stephen Bennett recording a fifty percent scoring rate from frees.

A fightback from the hosts was inevitable and it duly arrived. Five of the second half’s first seven scores came from Waterford and all bar one were courtesy of Stephen Bennett. Two points on the trot via Tony Kelly and Aidan McCarthy put Clare five ahead with seven minutes of normal time remaining.

However scores from Maurice Shanahan, Austin Gleeson, Tommy Ryan and three from Bennett would leave the smallest of margins between the teams resulting in very tense moments on the sideline.

Fortunately for Clare, they held on and now enjoy a three week break till Tipperary come to Ennis. Tony Kelly not alone hit five points but got through a mountain of work while Colm Galvin, Jack Browne plus the first half exploits of John Conlon and Shane O’Donnell were crucial to Clare’s win.

Scorers for Clare: Peter Duggan 0-8 (7fs), Tony Kelly 0-5, John Conlon 1-1, Colm Galvin, Shane Golden, Shane O’Donnell, Podge Collins, Aidan McCarthy, Ryan Taylor 0-1 each.

Scorers for Waterford: Stephen Bennett 0-11 (8fs, 1 65), Austin Gleeson 0-4, Jamie Barron 0-2, Conor Gleeson, Michael Kearney, Shane Bennett, Thomas Ryan, Maurice Shanahan 0-1 each.

Clare
1. Donal Tuohy (Crusheen)
5. Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge)
2. Pat O’Connor (Tubber – captain)
3. David McInerney (Tulla)
9. Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge)
4. Jack Browne (Ballyea)
7. David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona)
6. Colm Galvin (Clonlara)
8. Shane Golden (Sixmilebridge)
10. Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin)
11. Tony Kelly (Ballyea)
12. Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe)
13. Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg)
14. John Conlon (Clonlara)
15. Podge Collins (Cratloe)
Subs:

24. Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones na Sionna) for Collins (52)

18. Aidan McCarthy (Inagh/Kilnamona) for Golden (58)

21. Ryan Taylor (Clooney Quin) for Ryan (65)

Waterford:

1. Stephen O’Keeffe (Ballygunner)
2. Shane McNulty (De La Salle)
3. Conor Prunty (Abbeyside)
4. Noel Connors (Passage)
5. Philip Mahony (Ballygunner)
6. Tadhg de Burca (Clashmore)
7. Kevin Moran (De La Salle)
8. Jamie Barron (Fourmilewater)
9. Conor Gleeson (Fourmilewater)
10. Austin Gleeson (Mount Sion)
11. Mikey Kearney (Ballyduff Upper)
12. Pauric Mahony (Ballygunner)
13. Shane Bennett (Ballysaggart)
14. Stephen Bennett (Ballysaggart)
15. Peter Hogan (Ballygunner)
Subs:

17. Shane Fives (Tourin) for Connor (17) (Inj)

22. Thomas Ryan (Tallow) for Hogan (HT)
25. Patrick Curran (Dungarvan) for Shane Bennett (56)
20. Jack Prendergast (Lismore) for Barron (56)
26. Maurice Shanahan (Lismore) for Pauric Mahony (65)

Referee: James Owens (Wexford)

Newmarket-on-Fergus native, Páraic McMahon is a freelance journalist and broadcaster currently working for numerous national and local publications including The Clare Echo, The Irish Examiner, The Irish Independent, The Irish Times, RTÉ, TheJournal.ie, The42.ie. A graduate of Mary Immaculate College, Páraic was previously employed by The Clare Herald and Clare FM. If you have a story, tip or some feedback for him then send an email to - paraic@clareecho.ie

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