Disappointing Déise Defeat After Bright Start
The loss of midfield pair Shane Aherne and Tommy Prendergast in the first-half to black cards, the former after barely 90 seconds, disrupted and eventually dismantled the Deise’s brave grip on this Munster Senior football quarter-final replay.
Similar to the plight of the county’s hurlers a week previous, Waterford started bright but played out the last 20 minutes as a beaten team.
So encouraging was the opening period for Waterford, they led Clare 0-4 to 0-0 after 11 minutes, many in the 1,357 strong crowd anticipated a famous night could be on the cards.
It was not to be. Clare turned the screw mid-way through the first half and didn’t look back. Captain Gary Brennan was magnificent for the visitors, exploiting the loss of Aherne especially as he lorded the exchanges under the high ball, as well as contributing 1-2 to the Clare scoreline.
A Paul Whyte free opened the scoring for Waterford after 45 seconds, his Kilrossanty team-mate Tommy Prendrgast claimed the throw-in and eventually succumbed to Clare fouling 25 metres from goal.
Whyte would add another two points before the tenth minute. The first came from a placed ball, a right footed ground effort as opposed to left foot and out of his hands as was the opener, and the second coming following good link up play between Conor Phelan and Wayne Hutchinson.
Hutchinson was replacement for Aherne in midfield, deemed by referee Mauice Deegan to have fouled Martin McMahon in a cynical manor after three minutes.
Aherne threw a stiff arm down onto McMahon’s shoulder as he crossed Waterford’s 65 metre line, a challenge as lazy as it was innocuous looking, however Deegan felt he had no choice but to usher the Stradbally club man to the stand.
Unfazed Waterford went about their duties, Maurice O’Gorman and Oran Keevers particularly noteworthy in their dominance in defence at this time, while JJ Hutchinson was about to spring to life in front of goal.
He hit Waterford’s next three scores, the last coming after 22 minutes to give the home side a 0-6 to 0-3 lead. This was as good as it got.
Clare began to counter on the break, with pace they exploited Waterford’s eagerness to get forward and struck their opening goal on 24 minutes.
Gary Brennan was set free with a perfect pass from Shane Hickey, the big midfielder swatted away the challenges and slotted past Stephen Enright in goal.
Shane McGrath hit two points in succession and the nimble Sean Collins found the range with his second point before Waterford were dealt another serious blow.Tommy Prendergast was judged to have tripped McGrath and was sent walking, replaced by Declan Allen three minutes before the break.
Waterford went all of 30 minutes without a score between the 22nd and 52nd minute, while Clare hit 2-6 in this period.
Their second goal came on 48 minutes, when Shane Brennan reacted quickest when brother Gary hit the post from distance, and the full-forward was left with a simple finish to the net.
Shane Briggs picked out Declan Allen for a point when perhaps the goal was gaping, and two further frees from Whyte cancelled out points from Brennan and Ciaran Russell at the other end.
Clare’s third goal came with nine minutes remaining, as substitutes Eoin Cleary and Rory Donnelly combined to set the latter up to shoot past Enright in the Waterford goal.
The tireless Liam O’Lonain added two late scores, one down each channel and the latter accompanied by a delicate dummy before slotting over off his left.
Between these points was JJ Hutchinson’s fourth of the night, a tight-angled effort bouncing over Joe Hayes’ crossbar in the Clare goal.
The game had long finished as a competitive spectacle by the time Maurice Deegan blew for full-time, only a rueful disappointment at what could have been for Waterford remained.
WATERFORD: Stephen Enright, Dean Crowley, Thomas O’Gorman, Maurice O’Gorman, Conor Phelan, Shane Briggs, Oran Keevers, Shane Aherne, Tommy Prendergast, Michael O Gorman, Liam O’Lonáin, Tadhg O’ hUallacháin, Brian Wall, Paul Whyte, JJ Hutchinson. Subs: W Hutchinson for Aherne (B/C) (3), Declan Allen for Prendergast (B/C) (32), M Curry for Hutchinson (35), C O’Keeffe for Phelan (45), D Grey for Hutchinson (69).
CLARE: Joe Hayes, Dean Ryan, Kevin Hartnett, Martin McMahon, Shane Hickey, Gordon Kelly, Ciaran Russell, Gary Brennan, Shane McGrath, Sean Collins, Enda Coughlan, Barry Hartnett, Martin O’Leary, Shane Brennan, David Tubridy. Subs: J Malone for Hartnett (25), R Donnelly for Coughlan (55), E Cleary (59), L Healy for McMahon (62), P McMahon for Collins (65), S McNelis for Hickey (65).
WATERFORD: P Whyte (0-5), JJ Hutchinson (0-4), L O’Lonain (0-2), D Allen (0-1).
CLARE: G Brennan (1-2), Shane Brennan (1-1), Shane McGrath (0-3), Sean Collins (0-3), Rory Donnelly (1-0), Ciaran Russell (0-1), Sean Tubridy (0-1), Jamie Malone (0-1).
REFEREE: M Deegan (Laois)
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