Waterford champions Dunhill advance to a Munster club IHC semi-final after Saturday's merited two point win over Clare title-holders Smith O’Brien’s at Cusack Park Ennis.
Played in bitterly cold conditions, this game was slow to ignite, with Smith O’Brien’s having the best of the early chances but Eddie Bourke and Mikey Gough failed to convert opportunities.
The Killaloe outfit finally got off the mark in the 5th minute from a long-range Tommy Reddan free before Michéal O’Shea doubled the tally from play, three minutes later.
Dunhill grabbed their opener, wind-assisted, through Conor Quinn in the 13th minute and scores by Shane Casey and Eamonn Murphy edged them ahead at the first water break. In the second quarter, the teams were level on three occasions with Dunhill taking a one point lead (0-7 to 0-6) at the interval.
The East Clare club regained the lead early in the second half with a pair of points by Tommy Reddan. Dunhill's Conor Quinn grabbed his second point of the afternoon to equalise by the 55th minute before free-taker Shane Casey pushed the Waterford club in front, with an effort from out on the right wing. Marc O’Halloran and Dunhill’s Casey, once more, exchanged scores and then wing forward Ben Gallagher’s effort sailed between the posts just before the referee signalled for the second water break. Dunhill enjoyed a 0-11 to 0-9 advantage at this juncture. Smith O’Brien’s managed to gain parity early in the last quarter with a pair of pointed frees by Reddan. But the visitors finished in bullish fashion. Midfielder Darragh Murray fired over a point in the 58th minute and when Dunhill were awarded a ’65 deep into injury time Shane Murphy made no mistake, ensuring victory and a passage to the last four.