Captain Ryan Proud of the Deise’s Resolve

Waterford’s Conor Prunty beats Clare’s Michael O’Shea to the ball.

Waterford’s Conor Prunty beats Clare’s Michael O’Shea to the ball.

Waterford captain Shane Ryan saluted the resolve of a team conditioned on victory after a sensational finish to last Wednesday’s Munster MHC semi-final.

“The strength of our squad showed again there tonight,” said the De La Salle clubman, as the Deise progressed to a fifth final at this grade in six summers.

“The subs coming in, Eddie Meaney again – it just shows the strength in depth of our squad,” adding, after exhaling in relief, “I just don’t know what to make of it, but it’s great to get the win”.

Clare, despite being reduced to 14 men for most of the second half, couldn’t have provided the All-Ireland champions with a sterner test. In the skipper’s view, that Waterford prevailed in such circumstances was testament to their mental toughness.

“We came in as favourites, but thankfully we got through, and it showed how much Clare have come on that they did so well after going a man down. They’re a serious outfit but hopefully we can drive on now with the Munster Final in mind…I just hope we can show the same character and produce the same effort the next time out.”

And what about that save from Billy Nolan?

“He’s some hurler; he’s serious skill for a lad of his age – serious skill and a serious character, it was one hell of a save alright.”

And now the Munster Final awaits, and a rematch with Limerick, who saw off Cork in the following night’s semi-final, which of course comes with the guarantee of a place in the All-Ireland Series.

“We’re just taking every game as it comes, just like the game tonight, beforehand we weren’t thinking about anything only Clare, and we’ll have the same approach now for the next match, because the only one that matters to us right now.

“This game tonight was going to define our whole summer; all the work this group has done in the last few years could have gone down the drain, but that didn’t happen and now we have a long summer ahead of us.”

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