Clare defeated Waterford by 2-17 to 2-12 in the Bord Gáis Energy Munster U21 Hurling Championship Final on Wednesday in Fraher Field Dungarvan.
Honan fires Banner to glory
Clare 2-17 Waterford 2-12
By Fintan O’Toole for the Irish Examiner newspaper
Thursday, July 30, 2009
IT HAS been a year filled with shattering lows for Clare hurling, but last night in Fraher Field Dungarvan their fortunes enjoyed a soaring high. After a compelling Bord Gáis Energy Munster U21HC final, Clare swept to a famous five-point success as they atoned in style for the harrowing nature of their failure at this stage 12 months ago. The U21 hurling grade has provided a series of traumatic tales for Clare but this victory ensured their name will finally be inscribed on the Munster roll of honour. The effects of that achievement could be accurately gauged by the raucous post-match celebrations when captain Ciaran O’Doherty hoisted the trophy into the air from the podium.
It was a match that was feverishly anticipated and 6,635 souls filed into the ground. They were served up with 60 minutes of cracking fare as the sides battled for dominance before Clare made the critical push for the line in the closing stages. The strike that sealed their win was a glorious one. The prospects of a replay were starting to circulate in the 58th minute as Clare lead 1-16 to 2-12 with Waterford pushing hard for a levelling score. Clare wing-back Domhnall O’Donovan executed a relieving clearance from the defence towards the right wing for the tall figure of Darach Honan to chase. The simple option seemed to be to attempt a point, yet Honan went for broke and slalomed his way past the despairing Waterford defence before unleashing a rocket to the net. That stunning goal shoved Clare four points ahead and when Cormac O’Donovan clipped over a point soon after, a historic win was assured. Waterford rained high balls down on the Clare goalmouth late on but a defence – in which Eamon Glynn and Ciaran O’Doherty were in supreme form throughout – were never going to submit the scores Waterford needed.
Yet Clare endured plenty of testing moments in this game. In the opening stages they looked nervous and struggled to get to the pace of the match, as Waterford, backed by their home following, hurled with confidence. Maurice Shanahan began imposingly as he fired over two quick points, while Phillip Mahony and Stephen Daniels gave them a firm foothold in defence. Thomas Ryan was in electric form close to goal and he smashed a splendid strike to the net in the 13th minute, after a perceptive long ball by midfielder Karl Duggan. That left Waterford 1-3 to 0-3 ahead and in fine fettle. But Clare settled admirably. Accurate free-taking helped their bid for recovery, Nicky O’Connell diligently taking care of the long-range duties and Colin Ryan, who was tenaciously marshalled by senior defender Noel Connors, providing expert marksmanship closer to goal. In addition, the Clare management astutely switched Ciaran O’Doherty across to police Thomas Ryan and he nullified that threat successfully for the rest of the game.
Clare began to cope better with the congested nature of the middle third play and the ferocious pressure that Waterford were placing on them. By the 25th minute it was a level game 1-4 to 0-7, and then they stitched together a handsome run of scores before the break with Darach Honan prospering from a move to full-forward. Clare entered the interval with enhanced prospects as they led 0-11 to 1-4, and after the break they powered on again. Caimin Morey clipped over an early point and then Morey challenged around the Waterford square to break possession for Honan, and the Clonlara youngster deftly scooped his shot to the net. 1-12 to 1-5 was indicative of the supremacy that Clare held and Waterford’s hopes looked seriously dented.
BUT the Déise camp never hoisted the white flag. David O’Sullivan had a storming second half in defence, Shanahan’s long-range free taking was marvellous and Shane Casey burst into the match from open play. By the 44th minute they had pared Clare’s lead to 1-14 to 1-10, before Casey skilfully batted a shot to the net after a flowing team move. A point soon after by substitute John Gorman tied the match and the impetus lay with Waterford. It was then Clare firmly asserted their rights to success. They never panicked and refused to let Waterford creep into the ascendancy on the scoreboard. Cormac O’Donovan landed a mighty score from play and Ryan chipped in with a crucial free. Thomas Ryan arced over a sideline at the other end to leave Waterford trailing by one, but any thoughts of a replay were smashed by Honan’s sublime intervention.
Scorers: Clare: D Honan 2-2, C Ryan 0-7 (0-4f), N O’Connell (0-3f), C O’Donovan 0-3 each, C Morey, J Conlon 0-1 each.
Waterford: M Shanahan 0-6 (0-5f), S Casey 1-3, T Ryan 1-1 (0-1 sideline), A Power (0-1f), J Gorman 0-1 each.
CLARE: D Tuohy; J Gunning, E Glynn, C O’Doherty; D O’Donovan, C Duggan, E Barrett; N O’Connell, L Markham; J Conlon, S Collins, C O’Donovan; D Honan, C Morey, C Ryan. Subs: C Tierney for Collins (half-time), P O’Connor for Duggan (half-time), C McGrath for Markham (56).
WATERFORD: A Power; N Connors, S Fives, J Maher; P Mahony, S Daniels, D O’Sullivan; S Walsh, K Duggan; T Connors, P Murray, M Shanahan; B O’Sullivan, S Casey, T Ryan. Subs: J Gorman for Maher (inj) (34), S Power for B O’Sullivan (51), D Twomey for Connors (60).
Referee: Diarmuid Kirwan (Cork).
Honan strikes twice for Clare’s first title
From the Irish Times newspaper
MUNSTER UNDER-21 HC FINAL : IT’S BEEN a bleak season for Clare, but last night in Fraher Field, Dungarvan, their fortunes at last enjoyed an upward swing.
Twelve months after their heartbreaking defeat to Tipperary at the same stage, Clare enjoyed a famous win over Waterford in an engrossing clash. The riotous post-match scenes illustrated how much this meant to the Clare faithful, yet not until the closing stages of the game could they relax, safe in the knowledge success was secured. The decisive incident arrived in the 58th minute with Clare leading 1-16 to 2-12. Wing-back Domhnall O’Donovan dispatched a long ball to the right wing where Darach Honan raced out to collect it. Honan turned and slalomed towards goal, shaking off the challenges of the defence before rocketing a shot past Adrian Power to the roof of the net.
It was a magnificent strike, and a fine point straight after by Cormac O’Donovan gave Clare an ultimately unassailable 2-17 to 2-12 lead. Waterford mounted a series of late attacks but Clare’s defence, who possessed outstanding contributors in Eamonn Glynn and Ciarán O’Doherty, were impenetrable. Waterford had enjoyed the brighter start. They hurled with the greater authority and adjusted the tempo of the match with greater ease. By the 13th minute they led 1-3 to 0-3, yet was an advantage that could easily have been embellished. Thomas Ryan, lightning quick in attack, spurned a gilt-edged goal chance in the eighth minute but made amends five minutes later when he flashed a fine drive to the net.
Clare were a nervy bunch in those opening stages yet they improved considerably as the half progressed. Colin Ryan and Nicky O’Connell were assured in their free-taking and those scores steadied the ship sufficiently to bring them back level, 1-4 to 0-7, by the 22nd minute. Two minutes after the break Honan pounced on a breaking ball to whip a shot to the net. That sent Clare seven points clear and the pendulum had swung firmly in their direction. But Waterford regrouped. They had trimmed the margin down to four, 1-14 to 1-10, by the 45th minute when Casey finished a flowing team move by striking sweetly to the net. But Clare surged to the finish line. Colin Ryan and Cormac O’Donovan pushed them two ahead, then the Banner pounced for the match winner soon after from Honan.
CLARE : D Tuohy; J Gunning, E Glynn, C O’Doherty; D O’Donovan, C Duggan, E Barrett; N O’Connell (0-3, frees), L Markham; J Conlon (0-1), S Collins, C O’Donovan (0-3); D Honan (2-2), C Morey (0-1), C Ryan (0-7, four frees). Subs: C Tierney for Collins, P O’Connor for Duggan (both half-time), C McGrath for Markham (56 mins).
WATERFORD : A Power (0-1, free); N Connors, S Fives, J Maher; P Mahony, S Daniels, D O’Sullivan; S Walsh, K Duggan; T Connors, P Murray, M Shanahan (0-6, five frees); B O’Sullivan, S Casey (1-3), T Ryan (1-1, 0-1 sideline). Subs: J Gorman (0-1) for Maher (inj, 34 mins), S Power for B O’Sullivan (51 mins), D Twomey for Connors (60 mins).
Referee : Diarmuid Kirwan (Cork)
Munster under 21 hurling final
By Michael O’Connor
When Clare GAA followers sit down to recall the year 2009 only one day and time will be considered. Dungarvan 29/7/09 and 9pm the time when 45 years of near misses, close calls and near defeats were swept away as Ciaran O Doherty led Clare to their first ever munster under 21 hurling championship. Should Clare go further in the championship is possible but never forgotten will be the evening beside the sea in Dungarvan.
Redemption day for 2008. The question marks lingered over the real value of the Clare win over limerick in the semi final and the real ability of the decies in their shock but good value win over Tipperary. The tears shed in Cusack park exactly one year previous were to act as a positive motivator in the Clare dressingroom in a quiet way and in the final ten minutes when the game would be in the melting pot. For Waterford the underage scene has taken an upward turn with success at minor and qualification for this decider. 1972, 1974 and 1992 were the three previous occasions when the decies and Clare met at this stage with success and indeed Waterford’s only titles coming in these trio of finals.
A prematch fitness test was initiated for the benefit of Cian Dillon but patently was unable to carry out even the most menial of tests. Clare started with the side that secured the easiest of wins over Limerick whilst Waterford did likewise. The hunt for tickets had haunted the loyal hurling followers ended with plenty for all involved. Waterford won the toss and elected to play from the town goal. The opening seconds saw a free awarded and pointed by Maurice Shanahan to settle decies nerves. He added to this from free within a minute as Clare forwards found no space from the first puck out.
The first scoring chance fell to Colin Ryan after John Conlon won a free which he duly converted. Sean Collins lost good possession and the clearance went to Shane Casey whose rising effort skimmed the crossbar. Both sides had their first wides soon after with Shane Casey and Nicky O Connell off target as the Clare goal lived a charmed life. Clare had their next score when a brilliant ball from Enda Barrett found Colin Ryan who made no mistake after 6 minutes. Thomas Ryan found himself clean through but when trying to place the ball sent it inches wide. Whilst Waterford had pace on the Clare backs they overcarried in the ball looking for goals when points were an option. One such attack broke down and the ball went to Honan who won a free pointed by Ryan to level the game after ten minutes at (0-3) apiece. Nicky O Connell moved to centre back as Duggan went to midfield with Barrett to centrefield.
The goal that was threatening came when a long ball was sent in by Karl Duggan to Ryan at the third time of asking he made to mistake. Clare responded with a Nicky O Connell free to leave just two points in the game at the end of the first quarter. Clare were just hanging in hoping for a reprieve from the determined smart Waterford play. Tommy Ryan, once again won the ball and gave it to Shanahan who won a free he duly converted to restore the goal lead after 18 minutes. again Clare were kept in the game through scores from placed balls by Nicky O Connell and he added another on 20 minutes. the necessary move of Cormac O Donovan to centre forward worked the oracle with his first score and when Colin Ryan hit the equaliser the omens appeared for once after 46 attempts to favour Clare in this grade. Ciaran O Doherty entered the referee’s notebook as Maurice Shanahan’s sent over the lead point for the Decies after 26 minutes. A powerful score by Darach Honan tied up the game within a minute. Nicky O Connell, one of 5 Clonlara men on the panel sent over the lead point for Clare in the 27th minute and when Colin Ryan stretched the lead to two and Honan to three the Clare support were gathering full power in the long suffering voices. At the break Clare led by 3 and within two minutes of the restart were seven clear thanks to a Caiman Morey point and a goal from Honan to go (1-12) to (1-5) clear. Maurice Shanahan hit back with two frees by the 36th minute. The descending sunlight was now in the faces of Donal Touhy’s men as Waterford had settled from the early second half set back.
Donal Touhy was forced to make a smart body block from Tommy Ryan before Shane Casey narrowed the deficit to four points after 38 minutes. Adrian Power once more struck over a long range trademark free as Clare’s lead was now down to a goal. John Conlon and Conor Tierney combined to set up Colin Ryan for a valuable score in the 41st minute as Clare were now (1-13) to (1-9) ahead. A huge catch under the crossbar from Touhy was cleared to Conlon his second cousin who scored a trademark score before Shane Casey hit back with 16 minutes to act out. The game was in teh melting pot when pace once again caught out Clare as Shane Casey finished off a four man move to leave just the minimum between the sides, (2-10) to (1-14) at the end of the third quarter. Waterford hit a number of bad wides in both halves that were hampering their scoring potential. The equaliser came in the 48th minute with substitute John O Gorman on target from 45 yards. Within seconds Clare were back in the lead as Cormac O Donovan set up by Conlon made no mistake in the 50th minute.
The attendance of 6,635 saw the Clare lead stretch to two seconds later when Ryan converted another free to leave the visitors (1-16) to (2-11) ahead. A super sideline cut by Tommy Ryan left the minimum between the sides with seven minutes to go. A long range free by O Connell forced a 65 by Conlon that Ryan sent wide. The Clare attendance estimated to be 2500 but will be swelled by folklore to 25000 in the years to come were stunned by the brilliant goal by Darach Honan. Seconds later his clubmate Cormac ODonovan rounded off the scoring with the final score of the game. Seconds later time was suspended, supporters jumped over whatever man made barriers were put in their way and for an hour after Clare people , milled happily in Dungarvan thankful that this day occurred.
Clare best on the day were John Conlon who when matters were in the melting pot won every ball that came his way. His four clubmates especially Darach Honan were capable deputies whilst Eamonn Glynn was a titan at full back. For Donal Touhy who made a number of crucial stops and catches he was the one man for whom Clare hurling means so much and deserved this success. All others involved carried their corners with style when it was most needed and on a Clare day. Waterford had chances that they spurned in both halves and had they led by 6 points few Clare supporters could have little argument. Best for the vanquished were the excellent Tommy Ryan who could have with good fortune ended with (3-3. He was aided well by Shane Casey, Adrian Power, Shane Daniels, Karl Duggan, Shane Walsh, Philip Mahony, Shane Fives and Maurice Shanahan from frees.
CLARE: DONAL TOUHY, JAMES GUNNING, EAMONN GLYNN, CIARAN O DOHERTY (capt), DOMHNALL O DONOVAN, CILLIAN DUGGAN, ENDA BARRETT, NICKY O CONNELL (0-3), LIAM MARKHAM, JOHN CONLON (0-1), SEAN COLLINS, CORMAC O DONOVAN (0-3), DARACH HONAN (2-2), CAIMIN MOREY, (0-1), COLIN RYAN (0-7). Subs: CONOR TIERNEY FOR COLLINS, PATRICK O CONNOR FOR DUGGAN, CONOR McGRATH for MARKHAM,
WATERFORD: ADRIAN POWER (0-1), JEROME MAHER, SHANE FIVES, NOEL CONNORS, PHILIP MAHONY, SHANE DANIELS (capt), DAVID O SULLIVAN, SHANE WALSH, KARL DUGGAN, THOMAS CONNORS, PAUL MURRAY, MAURICE SHANAHAN (0-6), BRIAN O SULLIVAN, SHANE CASEY (1-3), THOMAS RYAN (1-1). Subs: JOHN GORMAN (0-1) for MAHER, STEPHEN POWER for O SULLIVAN, LIAM TOUHY for O CONNOR,
REFEREE: DIARMUID KIRWAN (CORK).
After the game Chairman of the munster council Jimmy O Gorman presented the munster under 21 hurling cup to a proud Clareman Ciaran O Doherty.
WATERFORD: A Power; J Maher, S Fives, N Connors; P Mahony, S Daniels, D O’Sullivan; S Walsh, K Duggan; T Connors, P Murray, M Shanahan; B O’Sullivan, S Casey, T Ryan.
CLARE: D Tuohy; J Gunning, E Glynn, C O’Doherty; D O’Donovan, C Duggan, E Barrett; N O’Connell, L Markham; J Conlon, S Collins, C O’Donovan; D Honan, C Morey, C Ryan
Munster Under 21 Championship
Roll of Honour