Clare’s win has set up a semi-final meeting with Tipperary, who had a whopping 21 points to spare over them in the first round, and, on this performance, there is nothing to suggest that they can turn things around next time.
The standard of hurling in the opening half was particularly poor, both sets of attackers guilty of many bad wides.
The first score didn’t come until the eighth minute when Clare full-forward David Barrett pointed and he passed on another three minutes later before Mark Gorman’s opener from a free proceeded half a dozen Waterford wides.
Waterford goalkeeper Darren Ryan denied the outstanding Bernard Gaffney with a great save as Waterford led 0-5 to 0-4 at the break.
The game turned dramatically in Clare’s favour, however, when they struck for vital goals within the space of four second-half minutes. The first came when Gaffney rounded his marker and crashed the ball to the net and an even more decisive goal in the 43rd minute ultimately proved crucial.
It was down to a major goalkeeping blunder as Ryan dropped Jonathan Clancy’s 60-metre delivery and David O’Donoghue gleefully whipped the loose ball to the net.
Gaffney’s 45th minute point put five between them and with James McInerney continuing his Man of the Match display at centre-back the Waterford forwards were struggling to make in-roads.
James Quirke did turn in a fine last quarter for them, however, and his brace of points again put his side within striking distance. The outstanding Tommy Power narrowed the deficit further with a long-range point only for Gaffney to reply with two for Clare, the second of which was unquestionably the score of the game.
With five minutes of additional time indicated, Waterford’s main scorer, Mark Gorman, threw his side a life-line with a well taken 62nd minute goal that narrowed the deficit to the minimum but almost immediately Damien Browne landed Clare’s final point.
Controversially, Tipperary referee Noel Cosgrove blew full time on the puck-out with two of those five extra minutes still remaining. Overall, however, the spoils went to the better side with Clare fully deserving their narrow win.
Scorers for Clare: B. Gaffney 1-4, D. O’Donoghue 1-0, D. Barrett 0-2, D. Browne 0-2, S. O’Brien 0-1.
Waterford: M. Gorman 1-5, J. Quirke 0-3, M. Fives, T. Power 0-1 each.
CLARE: S. Murphy; A. Quilligan, I. O’Halloran, A. Kilmartin, P. O’Hare, J. McInerney, P. Lynch, J. Clancy, K. Sheehan, S. O’Brien, D. O’Halloran, D. Browne, B. Gaffney, D. Barrett, D. O’Donoghue. Subs: M. Flaherty for I. O’Halloran; M. O’Donnell for O;Brien; D. O’Halloran for O’Donoghue; K. Kennedy for D. O’Halloran.
WATERFORD: D. Ryan; J. Morrissey, J. Seward, D. Heffernan, J. Mullen, J. Kindregan, T. Power, J. Nagle, K. Moran, M. Hoban, M. Prendergast, M. Fives, P. Murray, J. Quirke, M. Gorman. Subs: C. Moloney for Murray; S. Lawlor for Prendergast.
Referee: Noel Cosgrove (Tipperary).