By John Fogarty
Waterford 1-21 Clare 0-17
Waterford made it a second Munster final in a row after they made up for their Division 1 final replay defeat to Clare in impressive fashion.
Watched by a disappointing 19,715 crowd in Semple Stadium, Austin Gleeson gave a scintillating display, scoring six points including one from a sideline.
The Déise were in command from half-time when they lead 1-9 to 0-8 and were seven points up on four occasions between the 39th and 46th minutes. Clare threatened a revival with three consecutive scores but Gleeson’s sideline cut and a Kevin Moran steadied them.
The closing stages were almost processional as Clare struggled to get any clear sight of Stephen O’Keeffe’s goal.
Clare looked a little startled by Gleeson’s positioning in the full-forward line at the outset and that consternation appeared to led to Maurice Shanahan’s goal in the fourth minute when he ground-stroked past a couple of bodies to the net.
The score came after O’Keeffe made a majestic save from David Reidy, which went out for a 65, one of five wides Conor McGrath chalked up in the first half and 11 in total for Clare.
The Banner were settled by the 14th minute when Colm Galvin sent over the equaliser although Clare never led in the first half. Waterford went two ahead via points from Shanahan and Darragh Fives, who was the star performer in the opening period.
David Reidy’s positioning around centre-back was cutting off some of Waterford’s supply to the likes of Shane Bennett and Patrick Curran. Still, Waterford were able to drive at the Clare defence and profited, Gleeson and Bennett finishing out the score for the half although the latter could have put Curran in for a goal.
Scorers for Waterford: Pauric Mahony (5 frees), A. Gleeson (1 sideline) (0-6 each); M. Shanahan (1-2); K. Moran (0-3); D. Fives, Shane Bennett, Philip Mahony, J. Dillon (0-1 each).
Scorers for Clare: C. McGrath, C. O’Connell (0-3, 2 frees each); P. Collins, C. Ryan (1 65’) (0-2 each); C. Cleary, C. Galvin, T. Kelly, J. Conlon, B. Bugler, D. Fitzgerald, D. Reidy (0-1 each).
WATERFORD: S. O’Keeffe; B. Coughlan, N. Connors, S. Fives; D. Fives, T. de Burca, Philip Mahony; J. Barron, K. Moran (c); M. Walsh, Pauric Mahony, Shane Bennett; A. Gleeson, M. Shanahan, P. Curran.
Subs for Waterford: T. Devine for S. Bennett (54); J. Dillon for P. Curran (57); B O’Halloran for Pauric Mahony (63); C. Dunford for M. Shanahan (70); Stephen Bennett for M. Walsh (70+5).
CLARE: P. Kelly; C Dillon (jc), P. O’Connor, C. Cleary; O. O’Brien, D. Reidy, B. Bugler; D. Fitzgerald, C. Galvin; P. Collins, T. Kelly (jc), C. McGrath; D. Honan, J. Conlon, S. O’Donnell.
Subs for Clare: J. Browne for C. Cleary (blood, 25-27); C. Ryan for D. Honan (43); C. O’Connell for C. McGrath (50); D. McInerney for D. Fitzgerald (54); A. Shanagher for P. Collins (58); A. Cunningham for C. Galvin (67).