Clare’s goal threat could prove crucial

Allianz Hurling Division 1 final: For all the niceties exchanged between Davy Fitzgerald and Derek McGrath since their semi-final wins, there is still a level of uneasiness between the camps.

There remains some coolness between Fitzgerald and Dan Shanahan going back to the former’s time in charge of Waterford and Shanahan’s autobiography (although Dan would have appreciated how Fitzgerald helped out brother Maurice during his difficulties in 2014).

Considering so many of their players will be in close quarters for much of tomorrow’s game, nobody should expect anything but full-bloodedness.

The Munster semi-final is five weeks away so there is enough time to be able to give full commitment to this encounter. But such is the level of competition in each camp at present that no player would be foolish to believe they can this one lightly.

Despite what some might say, Waterford are not strait-jacketed but they have set themselves up as hard to beat.

Austin Gleeson is the quirk in the system but he could also be the X-factor required to hurt a team like Clare who will undoubtedly have studied him in detail.

Clare haven’t been conceding many goals — indeed their only one not via a placed ball came with Jonjo Farrell’s strike in the semi-final. Waterford, up to the Limerick game, haven’t been finding the net much but that shouldn’t worry them too greatly.

Goals will win this game because they are at such a premium and Clare, even with Tadhg de Burca or Darragh Fives minding the space in front of Barry Coughlan, look the best positioned to find them. That could be just about enough to maintain their 100% record for the year.

Verdict:

Clare.


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