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*Shane Meehan. Photograph: Burren Eye Photography

Clare’s senor hurlers have advanced to the Munster Hurling Cup Co-op Superstores final following a merited five point victory over Waterford.

Clare 2-24
Waterford 1-22
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis

Eleven different players registered on the scoreboard as year three of the Brian Lohan tenure began with a win at a cold Cusack Park in front of an attendance of 1,817 die-hard supporters.

In a typical pre-season competition clash, there was little to set the pulses racing. Darragh Lohan was introduced to the Clare team as a late replacement for David McInerney with the move of Rory Hayes to wing-back offering an attacking platform which resulted in the Shannon man providing two assists in succession to help bring the Banner to life in the second quarter.

By the first water break, Waterford led 0-05 0-03 all but one of their tally coming from play while two David Reidy placed balls accounted for Clare’s return along with a long-range Jason McCarthy score.

On the restart, Clare were sharper and had five of the next six scores including a green flag from Mark Rodgers. Shane Golden secured possession in his own half-back line before finding Diarmuid Ryan, his excellent delivery was controlled first-time by Rodgers and he calmly batted the ball past Shaun O’Brien on twenty six minutes. This aided the Banner to have a 1-10 0-10 cushion at half-time.

Crucially Rodgers’ goal would give the Clare just an inch of breathing space which they maximised to create a strong lead from which they were never caught.

Fresh legs duly added to Clare’s cause with Shane Meehan racking up a 1-03 tally in an eighteen minute period while Ian Galvin and Domhnall McMahon added to the scoreboard, at the other end Mike Gough tightened up with Colm Galvin collecting an assist for goal number two.

While Clare led by seven points with ten minutes remaining, Austin Gleeson got into his groove to fire home 1-04. Supporters will recall that last year, one downfall during the National Hurling League was how Clare finished games, drawing at home to Wexford when a win should have been achieved a case in point.

Colm Galvin played a key role in boosting this margin once again, he excellently found Cathal Malone in space but his effort was well stopped by O’Brien only for the razor sharp Meehan to tap the rebound home.

Without question, Clare played the stronger team on paper that were visibly more familiar with playing alongside each other, particularly in the backs when patience was on show to put moves together in working the ball up the field.

Trying fresh talent and established players in new positions is arguably the primary objective of this competition and from this outing, it can be a considered a successful run-out for Brian Lohan and his management. Rory Hayes at wing-back showed very well, though his absence from the full-back line would be more telling against a very pacy inside line. Paddy Donnellan did well at midfield and distributed the ball well while the electricity and calmness of both Shane Meehan and Mark Rodgers is most encouraging. Diarmuid Ryan, David Reidy and Paul Flanagan produced solid displays.

Scorers Clare: D Reidy (0-09 5f 1’65), S Meehan (1-03), M Rodgers (1-01), D Ryan (0-02), C Malone (0-02), J McCarthy (0-01), A Shanagher (0-01), G Cooney (0-01), D McMahon (0-01), I Galvin (0-01), S Golden (0-01).

Scorers Waterford: P Curran (0-09 8f), A Gleeson (1-04), C Dunford (0-02), DJ Foran (0-02), S Bennett (0-02), M Kiely (0-01), C Wadding (0-01), B Power (0-01)

1: Eibhear Quilligan (Feakle)

19: Darragh Lohan (Wolfe Tones)
3: Conor Cleary (St Josephs Miltown)
4: Paul Flanagan (Ballyea)

5: Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe)
6: Jason McCarthy (Inagh/Kilnamona)
2: Rory Hayes (Wolfe Tones)

8: Jack Browne (Ballyea)
9: Paddy Donnellan (Broadford)

10: Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge)
11: David Reidy (Éire Óg)
12: Shane Golden (Sixmilebridge)

13: Mark Rodgers (Scariff)
14: Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones)
15: Gary Cooney (O’Callaghans Mills)

25: Mike Gough (Smith O’Briens) for Lohan (HT)
21: Domhnall McMahon (Michael Cusacks) for Shanagher (HT)
20: Ian Galvin (Clonlara) for Cooney (52)
17: Shane Meehan (Banner) for Rodgers (52)
24: Darren O’Brien (Éire Óg) for Browne (57)
22: Colm Galvin (Clonlara) for Donnellan (60)
23: Aaron Fitzgerald (Éire Óg) for Malone (62)

1: Shaun O’Brien (De La Salle)

2: Conor Gleeson (Fourmilewater)
3: Iarllaith Daly (Lismore)
4: Darragh Lynch (Passage)

5: Shane McNulty (De La Salle)
6: Tom Barron (Fourmilewater)
7: Conor Dalton (Clonea)

9: Billy Power (Clonea)
8: Cian Wadding (Roanmore)

10: Michael Kiely (Abbeyside)
12: Austin Gleeson (Mount Sion)
14: DJ Foran (Portlaw)

11: Patrick Curran (Dungarvan)
15: Shane Bennett (Ballysaggart)
13: Colin Dunford (Colligan)

17: Cathhrach Daly (Lismore) for Lynch (HT)
22: Seamus Keating (Ardmore) for Power (46)
19: Sam Fitzgerald (Clashmore/Kinsalebeg) for McNulty (47)
21: Ian Beecher (Tallow) for Kiely (52)
20: Gavin Fives (Tourin) for Foran (52)
18: Michael Kiely (Dungarvan) for I Daly (55)
10: Michael Kiely for Bennett (57)
16: Billy Nolan (Roanmore) for O’Brien (65) (Inj)

Referee: Michael Kennedy (Tipperary)


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