Clare 0-23 Waterford 1-18
Another memorable showing for Clare under 21 hurling in what has been a brilliant effort to lift the doom and gloom from the exit of the senior and minor hurlers at early stages of their respective championhips.
The comparisons between how the Under 21's play with ease and how laboured the senior squad appear to be is somewhat unfair to make as they are two different styles with less physcial emphasis on the the younger age and maybe not as much tactical. However, that aside the 6,634 spectators on a beautiful evening in Cusack park, Ennis saw what they came and craved for.
13 of the Waterford side in action had NHL medals in their back pockets. John Mullane and Tony Browne were amongst their back room team and Austin Gleeson, the new boy wonder of hurling their marquee act with solid supporting cast members who played three days previous in the Munster senior final. There must be an acceptance that the Waterford players were to some degree recovering from the Munster final and Clare had less exposure to the senior team on the Saturday.
Little or no one could have expected that Bobby Duggan and Ian Galvin would score a mammoth 19 points between them with 12 coming from play. The Clare half back line were superb in the second half with little real pressure on the full back line throughout.
Austin Gleeson was wide with the opening effort before Shane Bennett had the first score that was matched by Duggan a minute later. Shane O Donnell was granted a roving role outfield with Stephen Ward and Ryan Taylor inside as Aidan McGuane was playing a loose role defending the full back line as both sides were keeping a close eye on key players. After 10 minutes Clare were adrift by one point (0-4) to (0-3) mostly because they gave away the ball around the midfield and half forward areas. Bobby Duggan drew the sides level before three in a row Waterford scores from Austin Gleeson, DJ Foran and Patrick Curran after 16 minutes left the visitors comfortable three point leaders. Ian Galvin who received a number of passes from Kevin Hehir scored the first of six points as Duggan added Clare's sixth score. However Curran and Conor Gleeson hit back for the decies as they once more held a three point lead (0-9) to (0-6) after 20 minutes.
Ryan Taylor and Bobby Duggan gave respite to Clare with two rapid fire
scores by the 22nd minute. The final five minutes of the half saw the
sides share four points as Mike Kearney and Patrick Curran for Waterford
with Duggan and Shane Gleeson were the sharpshooters to leave Waterford
(0-11) to (0-10) ahead at the interval.
A strong statement of intent was laid down by Clare early in the second half as a hat trick of scores in the opening six minutes from B0bby Duggan, Ian Galvin and a stunning long range effort by Aidan McGuane left Clare (0-13) to (0-11) ahead. Austin Gleeson and Duggan swopped scores before Eoin Quirke with a score similar to McGuane's left Clare (0-15) to (0-12) ahead as both sides began to introduce replacements.
The final twenty minutes were as good as could be viewed in Cusack Park on the evening in particular or any evening and not because Clare won the tie. Ian Galvin played a huge role in this scoring in the 40th. Austin Gleeson responded and seconds later Chris Dunford raced through for a great effort.
There was a stunned silence bar an obscure Waterford cheer when the visitors went for goal and got it courtesy of Patrick Curran and they were (1-14) to (0-16) ahead. Clare showed their maturity and hit back with two Ian Galvin scores to retake the lead that was doubled when Bobby Duggan added three in a row in four minutes as spectators stood up and applauded his efforts especially as Gleeson was now marking the Clarecastle targetman. Patrick Curran and Cathal Curran hit back responses so by the 54th minute Clare led by three points, (0-22) to (1-16). Waterford tried for more scores including a life saving goal that would create extra time. Ian Galvin finished off the perfect game with his sixth point before a late effort from Shane Bennett that he tried to drop in floated over the bar to signal scenes of mass delight and set up a Munster final on July 30th v Limerick in what could be one of the biggest ever gates in Cusack Park before the gates are knocked down to let in the bulldozers.
CLARE: Keith Hogan (Clooney Quin), Shane O’Brien (Clonlara), David Fitzgerald (Inagh/Kilnamona) Eoin Quirke (Whitegate)(0-1), Aidan McGuane (Kilmaley)(0-1)
WATERFORD: Jordan Henley, Conor Gleeson, Kieran Bennett, Shane Mc Nulty, Michéal Harney, Tadhg De Búrca, Tom Devine, Colin Dunford (0-1), Ryan Donnelly (0-1), Shane Bennett, Austin Gleeson (0-5), Stephen Bennett (0-2), Mikey Kearney (0-1), D.J. Foran (0-1), Patrick Curran (1-7) SUBS: Darragh Lyons (Dungarvan) for Harney, Cathal Curran for Donnelly, Seamus Keating for Foran
REFEREE: Johnny Murphy (Limerick).