Deise make winning start to 2008

The 2008 Waterford Crystal Cup gets underway in earnest over the next two Sundays but the opening game of tournament took place last night at Carrick Beg where Waterford grabbed a morale-boosting win.

The 2008 Waterford Crystal Cup gets underway in earnest over the next two Sundays but the opening game of tournament took place last night at Carrick Beg where Waterford grabbed a morale-boosting win.

Facing a Waterford IT team gearing up for the Fitzgibbon Cup, Justin McCarthy's Deise side battled their way to a 2-15 to 1-10 win with Shane Walsh (1-2) and Shane Casey (1-0) grabbing the goals.

The reigning Munster and National League champions were well on their way to victory by half-time as they led 1-12 to 0-3 at the turnaround.

Corner forward Walsh netted in the fourth-minute and Eoin Kelly and Dave Bennett fired over some excellent points from distance as wind-backed Waterford raced clear.

Just after the break, Kelly and Dan Shanahan combined to set up substitute Casey for Waterford's second major.

Waterford IT replied with a 40th-minute goal from Fintan O'Leary (1-2) and they were much more competitive in the closing quarter-hour.

Eligible to play for both sides, John Mullane decided to line out for the county team but he was kept scoreless before being replaced by Brian Farrell.

Waterford's starting forwards included Jamie and Pa Kearney, while Ballyduff Lower clubman Brian O'Leary, who started in goal instead of the holidaying Clinton Hennessy, had Wayne Hutchinson, John Kindregan and Eoin Murphy in front of him in the full-back line.

Hennessy is expected back for Waterford's meeting with IT Tralee in the next round of the Waterford Crystal Cup in two weeks' time.

Meanwhile, Clare hurling manager Mike McNamara has revealed that he is in talks with legendary goalkeeper Davy Fitzgerald as he prepares his side for two matches this weekend.

A report in today's Irish Examiner quoted McNamara as saying: "It's time for fresh blood," in response to a question about Fitzgerald and his possible return to Clare colours.

The 36-year-old netminder walked away from the Clare panel last year after a disagreement with then manager Tony Considine.

He has been sidelined since suffering a serious finger injury in Sixmilebridge's county championship semi-final defeat to Crusheen in October.

Fitzgerald needed reconstructive surgery to repair damage to a finger on his left hand that was almost severed off and is reported to be making a decision on his inter-county future next month.

Speaking to Clare FM today, McNamara admitted that it will be entirely up to Fitzgerald himself whether he plays for Clare again or not.

The Banner hurlers have two fixtures this weekend - they face Offaly in Scarriff in a challenge match on Saturday and the following afternoon will see them play UL in Meelick in the first round of the Waterford Crystal Cup.

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