Waterford cruised to a win in this NHL quarter-final, with the 2,753 in attendance rewarded with an entertaining first half that gave way to a second-half stroll for the home side.
Clare had the strong wind in the first half, attacking the scoreboard end, and the visitors led a free-flowing game 0-6 to 0-4 on 14 minutes, Peter Duggan hitting their last three points from frees.
On 15 minutes Gary Cooney won a Clare penalty Stephen O’Keeffe got a stick to Duggan’s shot but it still found the net. Pauric Mahony and Cathal Malone swapped points immediately afterwards and it was 1-7 to 0-5.
Stephen Bennett hit three Waterford frees in a row before Duggan (free) and Aaron Shanagher responded. Another Bennett free and an Austin Gleeson beauty made it 1-9 to 0-10 before Cooney missed a sitter for Clare. Conor Cleary and Bennett (free) swapped points to leave it 1-10 to 0-11 at the break.
Waterford were level just after the second half started, thanks to Bennett (free) and Peter Hogan; Shane Bennett adding a sideline cut and brother Stephen two frees: 0-16 to 1-10 on 47 minutes.
Duggan cut over a sideline but Gleeson responded, and Clare began to leak frees, Bennett pushing Waterford to 0-20 to 1-11 ahead 50 minutes in.
Entering the last ten minutes Bennett’s accuracy had Waterford 0-24 to 1-12 ahead, and the home side were cruising.
Conor Cleary’s straight red with eight minutes left heaped misery on Clare, and Peter Duggan got a second yellow - and was dismissed in additional time as Waterford broke the 30-point barrier in injury time.
Scorers for Waterford: S. Bennett (0-16)(14 frees); A. Gleeson P. Mahony (0-5 each); P. Hogan (0-2); C. Roche, Shane Bennett (sideline), S. McNulty (0-1 each).
Scorers for Clare: P. Duggan (1-8)(1-0 penalty, 0-7 frees, 1 sideline); T. Kelly (0-3); C. Malone (0-2); C. Cleary (0-1).
WATERFORD: S. O’Keeffe, S. McNulty, C. Lyons, N. Connors (c), K. Moran, Philip Mahony, C. Roche, J. Barron, J. Prendergast, M. Kearney, Pauric Mahony, A. Gleeson, P. Hogan, Stephen Bennett, Shane Bennett.
Subs: C. Dunford for Prendergast (56); M. Shanahan for Kearney (60); S. Roche for Barron and DJ Foran for Shane Bennett (66); M. Walsh for Gleeson (69).
CLARE: D. Tuohy, S. Morey, D. McInerney, J. Browne, P. O’Connor (c), C. Cleary, A. McCarthy, S. Golden, C. Galvin, P. Duggan, T. Kelly, C. Malone, G. Cooney, A. Shanagher, P. Collins.
Subs: R. Taylor for Golden (HT); D. Fitzgerald for Morey (45); D. Ryan for Galvin (52); C. Guilfoyle for Shanagher (55); M. O’Malley for Collins (57)
Referee: S. Cleere (Kilkenny).