Dominant Déise cruise past Clare

ALTHOUGH the game itself never bettered mediocrity, defending champions Waterford were the clear masters of this first round Munster MHC game at Walsh Park last night.

Clare actually made the brighter start and they were in front inside 40 seconds when their most dangerous attacker, Niall Arthur, fired over a superb point. They led again on seven minutes when Aaron Cunningham found the range, but once Jake Dillon edged the home side in front for the first time three minutes later they were never headed again.

With the Déise defence well in control and their midfield pairing of man-of-the-match Padraig Prendergast and Gavin O’Brien also running the show in their sector, Waterford were in cruise control to the interval.

The game’s only goal came on 11 minutes, a real beauty too as full forward Conor Heffernan snapped up Paudie Mahony’s delivery and he gave goalkeeper Ronan Taaffe no chance from close range.

That score really set the champions alight and three further points in as many minutes from the flying Stephen Roche, Jake Dillon, and Eamonn Murphy had Clare on the ropes.

Waterford were well deserving of their 1-10 to 0-6 half-time lead with Clare almost totally reliant on the accuracy of full forward Niall Arthur for their scores. But with little support his was hopeless.

Although Waterford forged further ahead with points from Dillon and Roche within two minutes of the restart, Clare did promise a rally when Arthur (0-2) and David O’Halloran responded with points.

The deficit was down to a manageable five, 1-16 to 0-14,with 13 minutes remaining but the Clare revival was then sharply and decisively halted as Waterford regained the initiative.

Daragh Fives and his defensive colleagues put up the shutters, Prendergast continued to dominate at midfield while Roche and Eamonn Murphy from play and the unerringly accurate Paudie Mahony from frees extended their side’s lead.

Clare managed further responses from Colm Galvin and Paul Flanagan, but they were by now a well beaten side and it was Waterford with the final say as Eoin Madigan and Murphy completed the scoring with points right out of the top drawer.

For Clare it’s the back door route and a losers’ group game against Kerry next Saturday.

Scorers for Waterford: P Mahony, 0-7 (7f); S Roche, 0-4; C Heffernan, 1-0; P Prendergast, J Dillon, E Murphy, 0-3 each; E Madigan, 0-1.

Scorers for Clare; N Arthur, 0-10 (8f); A Cunningham, P Collins, D O’Halloran, D McInerney, C Galvin, P Flanagan, 0-1 each.

WATERFORD: D Duggan; J Barron, S O’Keeffe, L Egan; M O’Neill, D Fives, E Madigan; P Prendergast, G O’Brien; C Curran, E Murphy, P Mahony; J Dillon, C Heffernan, S Roche.

Subs: S Ryan for O’Neill (42); K Chester for Heffernan (58).

CLARE: R Taaffe; H Vaughan, N Purcell, S Morey; P Flanagan, K Lynch, S O’Halloran; P Collins, T Kelly; D O’Halloran, D Keane, A Cunningham; A Mulready, N Arthur, C Gavin.

Subs: J Shanahan for Cunningham (ht); D McInerney for Keane (ht); E Boyce for Vaughan (41); C O’Connell for Mulready (52).

Referee: C Lyons (Cork).

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