Such was the good form of Donal Moloney at the finish that the Clare joint-manager even had time for a parting joke.
His witty remark was in relation to Shane O’Donnell’s strong showing yesterday, despite the 24-year old having only returned to the Clare squad at the end of March following eight months spent studying at Harvard University in Boston.
“Essentially, he hasn’t played since playing against Galway last summer. Shane is very sharp, he kept his fitness and kept doing some ball work when he was over in Boston, so when he came back in eight weeks ago, it was like he had never been away.
“The trouble is, if he keeps up his form, we’ll get nobody to play in the National League next year,” quipped Moloney.
O’Donnell was central to John Conlon’s third-minute goal, snapping up possession and cutting inside three Waterford players to find the unmarked John Conlon.
“It was a really good boost and, maybe, we had opportunities to get one or two more, but then again, Waterford missed one at the other end as well.
“It was a really good start. We knew from the way the lads were this morning that the mindset was really positive, really good,” Moloney continued.
The Clare joint-manager wasn’t the least bit surprised by Waterford’s late onslaught and he believes the Déise will make a sizeable contribution yet in this Munster campaign.
“Of course, they were going to come strong, it’s their home patch. I’d like to think if the situation was reversed and it was up in Ennis that we’d throw the kitchen sink at it as well. If the ball doesn’t stick at one end, it’s back in your square before you know it. Waterford have some tremendous quality, they have absolutely tremendous players. The last time we were here in March they gave us a hiding.”
He added: “Full credit to Waterford [county board], this place deserves to hold Munster Championship matches, and I’d say that irrespective of the result today.”
Clare are left idle now until June 2 and Moloney would much prefer if they were stepping back inside the whitewash this weekend.
“Ideally. Last year’s set-up was perfect. Even though we lost the first game in Páirc Uí Chaoimh, we had Waterford coming to town the next week and then we had a break.
It starts from scratch again. Today counts for nothing when Tipp come to Ennis. It will be another cliffhanger against Tipperary.