Playing a fast moving, direct brand of football in the Dungarvan sun, Oran Curran’s strikeforce outgunned the Banner as two attack-minded outfits traded blows before 277 fans.
Joe Allen (2-4), Conor Gleeson (five points and three assists) and Conor Prunty (two goals) thrived in the free-scoring environment. On the opposite side, Keelan Sexton (2-5) drove a Clare comeback from nine points back with the full-forward line posting 1-7 between them.
Waterford coasted three goals clear (4-4 to 1-4) amid a flurry of first-half activity. Joe Allen produced an unstoppable drive just 12 seconds in, after being played in by Conor Gleeson.
Allen added a point seconds later.
The Banner were always dangerous and a swift turn by Evan Courtney after 14 minutes set up an opening for Darren Nagle to goal.
The Déise supplied Gleeson with regularity and The Nire frontman hit two points and played the final pass in three first-half majors. He transferred to Dylan Guiry who punched to the net after 16 minutes. Aaron Donnelly intercepted a Clare kickout six minutes later and, after an exchange with Gleeson, fired low and hard. Conor Prunty rounded off another move.
The visitors ate into that lead and brought it to within three. Keelan Sexton beat keeper Craig Brown and a pair of Aidan Davidson points left them only a goal behind (4-5 to 2-8).
Waterford eased their anxiety when Conor Prunty slotted his second goal on 42 minutes after a pass from Allen. Two Allen points pushed them out to six with 10 minutes left (5-7 to 2-10).
Two goals in 60 seconds from Keelan Sexton and Evan Courtney suddenly levelled a heart-thumping affair.
A brace of Conor Gleeson eased Déise nerves but Liam Madigan then made it a one-point contest. With a minute left Allen’s second goal settled it. Cork await in the final four.
Scorers for Waterford: J Allen 2-4 (1f); C Prunty 2-0; C Gleeson 0-5 (3fs); A Donnelly, D Guiry 1-0 each.
Scorers for Clare: K Sexton 2-5 (2fs); E Courtney 1-1; D Nagle 1-0; A Davidson 0-4 (1f); L Madigan 0-2.
WATERFORD: C Brown; C O’Neill, J Guiry, M Cronin; J Mullaney, E O’Halloran, M Shine; C Curran, C Prunty; D Guiry, C Murray, A Donnelly; D Lyons, C Gleeson, J Allen.
Subs: J Elstead for Shine (12); M Sweeney for Lyons (40); G Hearne for D Guiry (44); P Whyte for Donnelly (61); C Culloo for Curran (63).
CLARE: K Normoyle; L Tierney, P Lillis, C Downes; C O’Dea, B Cahill, C Pyne; D Nagle, J Woods; M Byrne, K Sexton, N McCarthy; A Davidson, E Courtney, L Madigan.
Subs: E Hanrahan for Pyne (H-T); L Howard for Downes (H-T); M Duffy for M Byrne (50); B O’Connor for Sexton (63).
Referee: D Grogan (Tipperary)