Experimental Banner find top gear to power past McGrath’s Waterford

Clare 2-20 Waterford 0-17

Experimental Banner find top gear to power past McGrath’s Waterford

Centre forward Bobby Duggan was the pick of the Banner players with eight points and Aaron Cunningham drove over three eye-catching points from play.

In an experimental Clare side, Davy Fitzgerald started with seven of this year’s All Ireland Under-21 winners and brought on eight substitutes including the effective Nicky O’Connell and Brendan Bugler. Eleven of Derek McGrath’s 15 had previous senior championship experience and Michael Walsh was trialled at full-forward. The Waterford boss utilised 26 players, with Martin O’Neill and Donie Breathnach showing up well as a midfield pairing and the pair scored 12 points between them.

Waterford generated six goal chances in the opening 20 minutes but failed to take any of them. Shane Bennett missed two, Kevin Moran struck the post, Thomas Connors saw his shot saved by Donal Tuohy while Jake Dillon and Martin O’Neill sent their efforts wide.

Clare scored two early points from Bobby Duggan and Cathal O’Connell. However Waterford’s Martin O’Neill gave an exhibition of point-taking from long range as he accumulated five frees, four 65s and one from play. A nice point close to the sideline by Thomas Connors opened up a five-point gap for the Déise.

Duggan grabbed two back for the Banner but O’Neill finished the half with three in a row to bring his personal total to 10 points. Modeligo’s Munster final hero Tom Devine also burst through for one as the Déise lead increased to seven at halfway (0-13 to 0-6).

Clare then reeled off 1-4 without response when they reemerged.

On 41 minutes, David Reidy’s run was rewarded with a goal. Duggan followed that up with a sweet point straight off his stick as Clare moved the ball about sharply.

Both managers emptied the benches and a fine brace from Aaron Cunningham allowed Fitzgerald’s men hit the front. Substitute Darach Honan capitalised on a spillage in the Waterford defence seven minutes from the end to rustle the net and deliver a deserved nine-point win.

Scorers for Waterford: M O’Neill 0-10 (5fs, 4 65s), D Breathnach 0-2 (1f), T Connors, T Devine, T Waring, P O’Donovan, E Power 0-1 each.

Scorers for Clare: B Duggan 0-8 (5fs), D Reidy 1-1, D Honan 1-0, A Cunningham 0-3, C O’Connell, D Keane (1f), M O’Malley 0-2 each, B Bugler, N O’Connell 0-1 each.

WATERFORD: I O’Regan; S Fives, B Coughlan, J Morrissey; G O’Brien, A Gleeson, S O’Sullivan; M O’Neill, D Breathnach; K Moran, T Connors, M Walsh; S Bennett, T Devine, J Dillon.

Subs used: M O’Brien, DJ Foran, M Harney, P O’Donovan, T Waring, C Curran, P Walsh, M Flynn, C Murray, E Power, E Lynch.

CLARE: D Tuohy; D O’Donovan, C Duggan, S McNamara; G O’Connell, C Cleary, P Flanagan; E Enright, S O’Halloran; D Keane, B Duggan, C Malone; C O’Connell, D Reidy, A Cunningham.

Subs used: P O’Connor, B Bugler, N O’Connell, D Honan, S Golden, M O’Malley, P Kelly, D McInerney.

Referee: M O’Brien (Waterford).

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