McGrath Cup Football S-Final – Clare 1-10 Waterford 0-10

New recruit vital in Clare win

by Brendan Larkin for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Monday, January 24, 2011

Clare 1-10 Waterford 0-10

DAVID O’CONNOR, one of the players from outside the county recently called onto the Clare panel, scored the crucial goal in this mundane McGrath Cup semi-final at Ardmore yesterday. Banner manager Micheal McDermott has injected new talent into his squad under the rule which allows players to represent the county of their parents, and the policy has worked well with this victory setting up a decider with Kerry on Saturday night. In a game that won’t be remembered for the purity of its football, both sides enjoyed periods of dominance. But a combination of some excellent defending and poor shooting meant scores were at a premium.

Waterford made the better start with a brace of points from frees by Michael Donnelly as Clare struggled to find momentum. The visitor’s approach work was good, but a combination of poor finishing and excellent defending by Tomas O’Gorman and Shane Briggs in particular meant they went without a score for 13 minutes. Niall Browne eventually opened their account with a point. The former Kildare underage star was another making his first appearance in a Clare jersey and his height and strength in midfield allowed the visitors enjoyed a lot of possession in that area.

Waterford endured a scoring drought until Kieran Power kicked a great point from 40 metres. That helped the hosts regain the initiative for the remainder of the half and they finished strongly with three points in a row, the best of which was a Patrick Hurney effort, to lead 0-6 to 0-5 at half-time. Both sides used their bench for the second half, Clare bringing on O’Connor, and he made an immediate impact. After Alan Cloghessy levelled the scores for the third time with his third point, O’Connor was on the end of a great move involving Cloghessy and Rory Donnelly, to slip home the decisive goal. Waterford needed a similar store to stay in contention. But while they enjoyed plenty of possession, they couldn’t break down a solid Clare defence in which goalkeeper Joe Hayes, Barry Duggan and Gordon Kelly gave nothing away. Both sides swapped points to keep the game alive, before Hayes saved well from substitute Michael O’Gorman.

Scorers for Clare: D. O’Connor 1-0; A. Cloghessy (2 frees), C. O’Connor 0-3 each; D. Tubridy 0-2 (1 free); N. Browne, D. Donnelly 0-1 each.

Scorers for Waterford: M. Donnelly (frees), P. Hurney (0-1 free) 0-3 each; S. Fleming 0-2; K. Power, P. Whyte 0-1 each.

CLARE: J. Hayes; L. Healy, B. Duggan, M.McMahon; Graham Kelly, Gordon Kelly, John Hayes; C. O’Connor, C. Ryan; D. Daly, D. Tubridy, N. Browne; R. Donnelly, T. Ryan, A. Cloghessy.

Subs: G. Fannin for G. Kelly (33); D. O’ Connor for C. Ryan (half-time); D. O’Brien for T. Ryan (56); D. O’Neill for C. O’Connor (65).

WATERFORD: T. Walsh; K. Connery, T. O’Gorman, J. Hurney; E. Walsh, S. Briggs, J. Phelan; B. Phelan, T. Prendergast; M. Donnelly, K. Power, B. Wall; JJ Hutchinson, P. Hurney, P. Whyte.

Subs: M. Aherne for K. Power (half-time); S. Fleming for Hutchinson (half-time); W. Hennessy for Whyte (56); M. O’Gorman for Prendergast (55); J. Veale for Donnelly (65).

Referee: J. O’Mahony (Tipperary)