Waterford defeated Clare by 1-10 to 0-9 in the Munster Senior Football Championship Quarter Final on Sunday at Fraher Field Dungarvan.
Clinical Déise dig out victory
Waterford 1-10 Clare 0-9
By Fintan O’Toole for the Irish Examiner newspaper
Monday, May 24, 2010
THE mantle of favouritism is one Waterford footballers are unaccustomed to holding entering championship clashes, but they managed to cope with that pressure effectively at a sweltering Fraher Field, Dungarvan yesterday. They did not replicate the superiority they enjoyed in the league meeting between the sides six weeks previously but Waterford’s professionalism and assurance still proved adequate to sweep them to victory over Clare in this Munster SFC quarter-final. In truth, this clash was never likely to be as lopsided as its NFL Division 4 predecessor. The manner in which Clare manager Micheal McDermott reconfigured his line-up with multiple personnel changes meant Waterford were facing a vastly different team.
Clare played smarter football here, flooding bodies behind the ball when not in possession and operating in a fashion that erased any prospects of conceding an avalanche of points. But Waterford’s progress can be measured in how they responded. They never panicked when the game was going against them in the first half and while their football did not scale the heights of their closing matches in the league, they displayed the grim determination required to tough out championship victories. That steadfast refusal to quit on the task was rewarded when they pounced for the game-breaking score in the 42nd minute. Gary Hurney offered signals of the threat he could pose in the first half with his physique and aerial prowess, and twice Waterford nearly profited from his ball-winning abilities only for possession to slip away from Conor McGrath and Liam O Lionáin as they closed in on goal after Hurney off-loads.
Seven minutes into the second half, the big Ballinacourty man backed himself to go it alone. O Lionáin did brilliantly to win a sideline on the left flank under pressure and the An Rinn player took the kick himself, arcing a long searching pass into the Clare goalmouth. Hurney rose to collect before shrugging off a few challenges and depositing a left-footed shot to the back of the net. It was a defining moment. Still Clare were not killed off and they will lament the other factors that contributed to their defeat. Clare produced a rousing opening to the game as they bossed the first 20 minutes and were full value for their 0-6 to 0-2 lead. Mark Tubridy was policing Waterford danger man Liam O Lionáin, Gordon Kelly played with a captain’s authority at centre-back and the sight of Declan Callinan dashing forward with purpose from his wing-back berth was frequent in early exchanges.
Long-serving David Russell helped them gain a foothold around the middle and with the likes of Callinan feasting on the breaks, the Clare attack were fed a regular diet of possession. Gary Brennan emerged as a perfect focal point when switched in to full-forward early on, Michael O’Shea was lively in the corner and while David Tubridy was well held in open play by Maurice O’Gorman, the Doonbeg attacker’s free-taking was stunning. He hoisted over a placed ball from 50 yards in the 20th minute with a tremendous shot to push Clare four points clear. But Clare’s inability to maintain those high standards compromised their hopes of securing success. After Tubridy kicked their sixth point of the game, they only added three points for the rest of the match and were held scoreless for the closing 22 minutes.
In one sense that was a testament to the clever and attentive defending of Waterford. Their nerves were frayed after that rickety opening but it did not generate chaos in their team, with Shane Briggs and Thomas O’Gorman strengthening their defensive spine. O’Gorman’s twin brother Maurice was the real standout though. Former Waterford manager John Kiely eulogised for years about the Nire man’s defensive abilities and yesterday he showcased them again by nullifying the sizeable threat that Tubridy posed. Their composure even when their football did not hit full speed brought Waterford into contention at the break when they only trailed 0-7 to 0-6. A powerful finish to the half yielded a flurry of scores with Patrick Hurney the key figure as he snared three points from scraps of possession.
Gary Hurney’s second-half goal set the stage for Waterford to power on but as players on both sides toiled in the searing heat, the intensity levels naturally dipped. Waterford struggled to source the scores to push on and Clare capitalised with Alan Clohessy and O’Shea restoring parity. However, Clare’s accuracy was flawed as they spurned a plethora of chances, the best falling to O’Shea in the 62nd minute when he flashed a great goal chance wide. Waterford developed a clinical edge and a chain of points from Tommy Prendergast, Brian Wall, Hurney and O Lionáin sealed their Munster semi-final spot.
Scorers for Waterford: G Hurney 1-1, P Hurney, B Wall (0-2f) 0-3 each, W Hennessy, T Prendergast, L O Lionain 0-1 each.
Clare scorers: D Tubridy 0-4 (0-3f), G Brennan 0-2, M O’Shea 0-2, A Clohessy 0-1.
Waterford subs: S Cunningham for McGrath (54), R Ahearne for P Hurney (56).
Clare subs: E Coughlan for Daly (half-time), G Lynch for O’Dwyer (ht), B Toner for Russell (58).
Referee: A Mangan (Kerry)
CLARE (SFC v Waterford): J Hayes; M Tubridy, B Duggan, B Carrig; M McMahon, G Kelly, D Callinan; G Quinlan, G Brennan; M O’Shea, P O’Dwyer, A Clohessy; D Tubridy, D Russell, D Daly.
Waterford name strong fifteen.
Waterford named a strong starting fifteen for the Munster Senior Football opener against Clare on Sunday next. Ballinameela’s Eamon Walsh comes in for the injured Niall Hennessy and Patrick Hurney gets the nod ahead of Robert Ahearne. Otherwise the team is the same as the one that contested the League Final in Croke Park.
1. Tom Wall
2. Maurice O’Gorman
3. Tomas O’Gorman
4. Kieran Connery
5. Tony Grey
6. Shane Briggs
7. Eamon Walsh
8. Mick Ahearn
9. Tommy Prendergast
10. Brian Wall
11. Connor McGrath
12. Wayne Hennessey
13. Patrick Hurney
14. Garry Hurney
15. Liam O’Lionain