Clare got their Munster hurling campaign back on track with this comprehensive nine-point win over Waterford.
The visitors were hampered by the loss through injury of Tadhg de Burca, Darragh Fives and Barry Coughlan at various stages of the game, with Kevin Moran’s sending-off on 48 minutes effectively sealing their fate.
For Clare, there hurling was far more fluid than was the case in Páirc Uí Chaoimh last weekend. John Conlon was outstanding in the full-forward line, finishing with 1-2 and winning numerous other frees which Peter Duggan converted.
The latter clipped 1-10 from placed balls, while Tony Kelly, with six points, was their top-scorer from play.
They now enjoy a fortnight off before resuming their bid for a top-three place with an away fixture against Tipperary
Clare led 2-11 to 1-9 at the break, the home side recovering from the concession of a 10th minute Maurice Shanahan goal. Maurice followed that with a free to put the visitors 1-4 to 0-3 in front. In the subsequent 25 minutes, however, Clare outscored their opponents by 2-7 to 0-2.
John Conlon, who caused the Déise rearguard endless problems in the opening half, won an 18th-minute penalty which was expertly converted by Peter Duggan.
Conlon turned provider for their second on 23 minutes, breaking away from a ruck to drill a low shot beyond Donal Tuohy.
This second goal moved the Banner into a 2-6 to 1-6 lead, with three Duggan frees and a Colm Galvin effort thereafter establishing daylight between the sides.
Tom Devine’s 36th-minute point was Waterford’s first in 13 minutes and while two further injury-time points narrowed the gap, their first-half was marred by the loss of Tadhg de Burca to a shoulder injury.
Matters went from bad to worse as Noel Connors, also injured, didn’t reappear for the second-half. Darragh Fives hobbled off three minutes into the second-half and their race was run when Kevin Moran received a straight red card for a hit on Tony Kelly in the 48th minute.
Waterford trailed by 2-15 to 2-9 at this juncture (Tommy Ryan delivered their second goal six minutes earlier) and of the next 12 scores, nine went to Clare.
Last year’s beaten All-Ireland finalists battled gamely to the end, but the loss of three key players to injury, added to Moran’s dismissal, left them with a mountain they never looked like scaling. Factor in that Austin Gleeson and Pauric Mahony didn’t tog because of injury and Waterford will be really up against it to get a result next Sunday against Tipperary in the Gaelic Grounds.
Scorers for Clare: P Duggan (1-10, 0-9 frees, 0-1 ‘65, 1-0 pen); T Kelly (0-6); J Conlon (1-2); C Galvin, J Shanahan (0-2 each); D Fitzgerald, S O’Donnell, D Reidy, C McGrath (0-1 each).
Scorers for Waterford: M Shanahan (1-6, 0-6 frees); T Ryan (1-1); S Bennett, J Dillon (0-2 each); T de Burca, P Mahony, J Barron, C Gleeson, T Devine, D Foran (0-1 each).
Clare: D Tuohy; P O’Connor, C Cleary, J Browne; D Fitzgerald, D McInerney, J Shanahan; C Malone, C Galvin; D Reidy, T Kelly, P Duggan; C McGrath, J Conlon, S O’Donnell.
Subs: P Collins for C McGrath (61 mins); S Morey for C Malone (63); N Deasy for Reidy (66); M O’Neill for O’Donnell (68); D Corry for Conlon (68)
Waterford: S O’Keeffe; B Coughlan, S Fives, N Connors; D Fives, C Gleeson, P Mahony; J Barron, S McNulty; K Moran, T de Burca, J Dillon; M Walsh, M Shanahan, T Devine.
Subs: C Roche for de Burca (15 mins, inj); S Bennett for Connors (inj), DJ Foran for Walsh (both HT); T Ryan for D Fives (inj, 38); I Kenny for Coughlan (46 mins, inj)
Referee: P O’Dwyer (Carlow).