Waterford 0-22; Clare 1-15
The quality of the hurling may not have been at the level of the first round game between Cork and Tipperary but for sheer excitement and drama, nothing could match last Monday’s encounter in Thurles. John Mullane spoke out about the disadvantages of staging the game on a Bank Holiday Monday and he was right, as there were only 11,028 souls inside Semple Stadium to witness an epic semi-final.
Waterford started brightly enough when Stephen Molumphy pounced on a loose ball in the Clare defence to fire over the game’s opening score in the second minute. Waterford doubled their lead, two minutes later when John Mullane won the ball wide on the right hand side, cut inside to improve his angle before scoring.
However, these scores only papered over the cracks in the Waterford side. Although Shane O’Sullivan and Richie Foley were working hard in midfield, Clare were winning all the breaks and providing their forwards with ample possession. Nicky O’Connell in particular was vey successful in gaining possession for his team.
Wing-forward Sean Collins scored the first of his two first-half points in the eight minute to open Clare’s account and this was quickly followed by points from Jonathan Clancy and John Conlon as Clare went into the lead for the first time.
A foul on John Mullane did enable Eoin Kelly to level the scores with a free but meaningful Waterford attacks were few and far between as the hungrier Banner men ruled the roost around the centre of the field.
Clare took over all over the field and scored five points on the trot as the Deise men got swamped by the saffron and blue army. Nicky O’Connell put Clare back in front with a well-taken point before Collins swooped for his second of the afternoon. O’Connell added a long-range free and took his tally to three with a massive effort from out on the right touchline as the Banner supporters raised the decibels even further.
See The Munster Express newspaper for full match report and photos.