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*Eddie Bourke. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

Smith O’Briens have exited the Munster club championship, their tally of twelve wides proving costly.

Dunhill (Waterford) 0-13
Smith O’Briens 0-11
Venue: Cusack Park, Ennis

Winter hurling showed its head at Cusack Park in what was a chilly encounter that saw the sides level on eight occasions over the course of sixty plus minutes,

Almost two months on from their county glory over An Rinn, Dunhill would take thirteen minutes to register a score. Smith O’Briens who defeated St Josephs Doora/Barefield in the Clare decider on Halloween weekend had two points on the board via Tommy Reddan and Mikey O’Shea at this stage.

With three scores in a row, Dunhil led by a single point at first water break but the Killaloe men responded on the restart through Reddan and the experienced John Cusack to regain the lead. Both sides added a further two scores each before Shane Casey converted two frees in a row to leave the East Waterford outfit 0-07 0-06 in front at half-time.

Smith O’Briens nudged ahead with thirty three minutes on the clock, the elements were in their favour and Tommy Reddan was on target with his first two frees of the second half. The visitors responded with three points in succession before Marc O’Halloran and Ben Gallagher traded efforts leaving Dunhill one point clear at the final water break.

Two Reddan frees were all the East Clare men could muster in the final quarter while Dunhill tapped on the last two scores of the game to seal their place in the Munster semi-final.

In their Clare IHC final win over St Josephs Doora/Barefield, Smith O’Briens survived by scoring only 0-02 from play, their return on this occasion was more than double that. Unlike their most recent appearance in Cusack Park, big questions were asked of their defence and they did not adequately respond to these. This plus poor shooting undid their efforts to progress to a provincial semi-final.

Their year undoubtedly is a positive with a return to the senior ranks confirmed. Increasing their prowess up front will be an area to consider over the next few months while their defence on their day is very difficult to break down. Mark Stritch, Michael Gough, John Cusack and Cian Nolan were the standout performers for Tony Gleeson’s side.

Dunhill’s Eamonn Murphy was a constant thorn in the side of his opponents, he caused plenty of problems up front, others to impress for the winners included Conor Quinn and Daniel Phelan.

Scorers Dunhill: S Casey (0-07 6f 1’65), C Quinn (0-02), E Murphy (0-02), B Gallagher (0-01), D Murray (0-01).

Scorers Smith O’Briens: T Reddan (0-06 5f), M O’Shea (0-02), J Cusack (0-01), M Ryan (0-01), M O’Halloran (0-01).

1: Donal Carey

4: Walter Hally
3: David Phelan
2: Jonathan Fenton

5: Sean McDonald
6: Micheál Harney
7: Conor Quinn

9: Cian Hally
8: Darragh Murray

12: Michael Murphy
11: Tomás Casey
10: Ben Gallagher

13: Dylan Power
14: Shane Casey
15: Eamonn Murphy

22: Mike Hally for Power (17)
23: Eoghan Casey for T Casey (28)
18: Gearoid Murphy for Hally (55)

Smith O’Briens:
1: Mark McInerney

5: David Gough
3: Cian Nolan
4: Mark Stritch

20: Dwayne Sheedy
6: Cathal Stritch
7: Eddie Bourke

9: Marc O’Halloran
8: Micheál Ryan

14: John Cusack
12: Mikey O’Shea
2: Evan Connolly

15: Tommy Reddan
11: Michael Gough
13: David O’Shea

21: Kevin Walsh for Connolly (40)
18: Patrick Aherne for D O’Shea (47)
22: Cian Maloney for M Stritch (63) (Inj)

Referee: Kevin Jordan (Tipperary)

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