By John Fogarty
Clare and Waterford will meet for the third time in the space of five weeks following a successful Maurice Shanahan free from distance at the death of extra-time.
Replacement Colin Ryan looked to have won the game for Clare when he pointed after Pat O’Connor had claimed a fine ball against substitute Shanahan.
However, the Lismore man was on hand to redeem himself in spectacular fashion to confirm another date, which will take place in Thurles next Sunday (3.30pm), four weeks before the two do battle in a Munster semi-final at the same venue.
A 19,498 attendance were subjected to some dreadful hurling in normal time although it turned into a spectacle in the last quarter. Waterford struck 20 wides to Clare’s 19 across the 90-plus minutes.
Tied 0-15 apiece at full-time, they finished the first half of extra-time on equal terms as well.
Waterford were three up and looking pretty but Clare clawed it back via scores from David Reidy, Tony Kelly and a Conor McGrath free.
Clare had been up by one at the normal time break, 0-7 to 0-6, although much of that was down to Waterford’s erratic shooting. They had chalked up 12 wides by the break to Clare’s six and offered just one point from play in the first half.
Patrick Curran hit three frees wides, Austin Gleeson two more placed balls from further out, and what they had was caught by Shane Bennett after he took over free-taking duties from Curran.
With McGrath’s class shining through in open play as well as from frees, Clare opened up a three-point lead by the 51st minute as the wides continued for Waterford.
But the Banner were pegged back within six minutes when Waterford hit three points on the bounce, all coming from Bennett, and then went ahead with a long-range Gleeson free on the hour mark.
A jersey pull by Barry Coughlan on substitute Shane O’Donnell was punished by McGrath and Podge Collins then capitalised on a poor puck-out. McGrath and Jamie Barron then exchanged points before Bennett punished a foul on him to level it up once more.
Bennett then broke free from a pack to fire Waterford into the lead but a McGrath free from an acute angle forced extra-time.
Scorers for Clare: C McGrath (0-13, 10 frees); T. Kelly (0-3); C. Galvin (0-2); P. Duggan, P. Collins, D. Reidy, C. Ryan (0-1 each).
Scorers for Waterford: S. Bennett (0-9, 6 frees); P. Curran (0-4, 2 frees); A. Gleeson (frees), T. Ryan, M. Shanahan (1 free) (0-2 each); C. Dunford, J. Barron, B. O’Halloran (0-1 each).
CLARE: P. Kelly; P. O’Connor, C. Cleary, C. Dillon; D. Fitzgerald, O. O’Brien, B. Bugler; D. Reidy, C. Galvin; T. Kelly, P.Collins, D. Honan; C. McGrath, P. Duggan, A. Cunningham.
Subs for Clare: S. O’Donnell for P. Duggan (46); C. O’Connell for D. Honan (49); C. Ryan for A. Cunningham (54); A. Shanagher for C. Galvin (62); J. Browne for C. Cleary (77); C. Galvin for P. Collins (inj 80+1); S. Morey for B. Bugler (inj 84).
WATERFORD: S. O’Keeffe; S. Fives, B. Coughlan, N. Connors; T. de Burca, A. Gleeson, Philip Mahony; K. Moran, J. Barron; M. Walsh, S. Bennett, J. Dillon; D. Fives (sweeper), C. Dunford, P. Curran.
Subs for Waterford: B. O’Halloran for C. Dunford (blood, 29-31); T. Devine for C. Dunford (46); M. Shanahan for J. Dillon (57); B. O’Halloran for A. Gleeson (inj 63); C. Gleeson for S. Fives (inj), T. Ryan for P. Curran (both 66); C. Dunford for S. Bennett (87); Pauric Mahony for M. Walsh (88).
Referee: B Gavin (Offaly)