Clare 1-20 Waterford 1-9: Two counties with different pre-season priorities clashed on an afternoon where padded coats, woolly hats and umbrellas were all out in force at an icy Carriganore.
Waterford and Clare will meet again in the white heat of the Munster Championship on June 5 but no secrets got out here.
A scan through the starting fifteens revealed the likely victor of this low-key encounter.
A more familiar looking Clare, with six of last year’s championship side on show, got the win they required to make the final of this competition at the end of the month. Paudie Prendergast and Thomas Ryan were the only players with previous championship experience under their belts for Waterford as management auditioned six rookies in order to settle on a panel for the next month’s league.
“The Munster league is about how you use it,” explained Davy Fitzgerald. “We had some of our first team players out there and we use it as part of our training. Waterford probably did it differently, they used it to sort out their panel. You won’t judge anything on today. It’s a million miles away from what will happen in June but I’m happy with my lads.” Waterford in the first half showed some lovely passages of play. But it’s just nothing near what’s going to happen in May, June and July,”
Derek McGrath stated that Waterford are a “work in progress” with squad building of most significance. “We’ve made no secret of the fact that we’re using the Munster league to finalise a panel and to try and unearth a couple of players.
“We’re not trying to be dismissive of the competition itself, we are working very hard and trying to balance the amount of game time that lads are being given.”
UCC played a full game against Oulart the Ballagh and we had six players with UCC. We have five players with WIT who are playing a challenge against UL so we are trying to balance the amount that fellas are doing.” Colin Ryan (0-5) and John Conlon (0-4) dominated the first half scoring as Clare opened up a nine point half-time lead (1-12 to 1-3). With the wind, they struck four wides in six minutes before finding their rhythm.
Midfielder David Reidy punished a Jordan Henley slip after 12 minutes as he beat Paddy Cooke at his near post for the opening goal.
Two Thomas Ryan frees kept Waterford in touch but a run of seven unanswered points put Clare well out of sight. Colin Ryan was accountable for five of those. Conlon grabbed two, including one that skimmed Cooke’s crossbar.
On 25 minutes, the home crowd got something to cheer as Ryan accelerated past five Clare defenders to allow last year’s county minor Andy Molumby billow the net. Paudie Prendergast added Waterford’s first point from play but Clare claimed the last three scores before the break.
2013 hurler of the year Tony Kelly made his entrance at half time.
Corner forward Michael O’Malley then widened the gap when pointing. Although debutant Brian Nolan belted over a fine score from 60 metres, the Déise couldn’t make any inroads. Clare continued to score freely with subs Kelly and Cathal O’Connell compounding matters for Waterford. With 12 minutes remaining, Molumby intercepted Donal Tuohy’s short puckout but he was cynically brought to ground by David McInerney as the Cappoquin teenager sought a second major. He was one of those to make an imprint in Waterford’s dazzling new white shirts along with Thomas Ryan who ended with seven points.
As supporters filed out of the ground, Clare accumulated a dozen wides in total yet still wound up handsome eleven point winners.
Scorers for Clare:
C Ryan 0-7 (4fs, 1 65); J Conlon 0-5; D Honan 0-4; D Reidy 1-0; M O’Malley 0-2; T Kelly, C O’Connell 0-1 each.
Scorers for Waterford:
T Ryan 0-7 (6fs); A Molumby 1-0; P Prendergast, B Nolan 0-1 each.
D Tuohy; E O’Brien, J Browne, P Flanagan; C Dillon, D McInerney, C Cleary; G O’Connell, D Reidy; P Duggan, C Ryan, B Duggan; M O’Malley, D Honan, J Conlon.
T Kelly for P Duggan (H-T); C O’Connell for B Duggan (53); D Fitzgerald for Conlon (60); D Conroy for O’Connell (62); E Quirke for McInerney (66).
P Cooke; J Henley, K Bennett, R Brown; S Ryan, P Prendergast, F McGrath; H Barnes, M O’Brien; M Harney, T Ryan, S Keating; A Molumby, C Guiry, B Nolan.
E Madigan for Keating (50); T Waring for Guiry (56).
J O’Brien (Tipperary).
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