Waterford 1-21; Clare 0-16
Waterford began the defence of the Munster minor title in some style when they saw off the challenge of Clare with an eight-point win in Walsh Park last Wednesday evening.
The home side proved too strong, skilful and tenacious for the visiting Banner boys and now await the survivors of the round robin system in June’s semi-final.
Clare started the game promisingly and led by 0-2 to 0-1 in the early stages with the Waterford point coming from a Pauric Mahony free.
Another free from the unerring Mahony brought Waterford level before a superb point by the excellent Jake Dillon put Waterford in front for the first time. Things got even better for Waterford in the eleventh minute when a low delivery from Mahony fell into the path of full-forward, Cormac Heffernan. Heffernan pulled on the ball and sent it flying past Ronan Taaffe to give Waterford a four point lead.
With Darragh Fives hurling up a storm at centre-back and Paudie Prendergast having a sublime game at midfield, Waterford dominated Clare for long periods of the first half. Their work-rate, tackling and score-taking was very impressive with Stephen Roche, Jake Dillon and Eamon Murphy adding on fine points from play.
Other than Niall Arthur, the Clare attack looked rather blunt and after a ropey first quarter Stephen O’Keeffe eventually got to grips with the excellent Clare full-forward.
Mahony proved ultra-reliable from placed balls and as the first half neared a conclusion Prendergast chipped in with two absolute beauties. For his first effort, he stole in behind the Clare defence and fired over from a narrow angle while for his second he shook off the attentions of three Clare defenders and found the range from seventy yards. At half-time, Jimmy Meaney’s charges held a seven point lead on a scoreline of 1-10 to 0-6.
See Friday’s Munster Express newspaper for full match report.