By Mike Fitzpatrick
Clare 3-17, Waterford 2-7
With the dreadful injury to Fintan O’Shea 10 days ago still fresh in the minds of all the players, Sunday’s senior hurling game at Gaelic Park could have gone either way: Either a cautious game was on the cards or both sides would try to perform at their best to leave the spectators with a note of optimism about the game in general.
Thankfully, O’Shea’s damaged kidney seems to be on the mend, though it may be some time before we see his hurling grace the stage of Gaelic Park. Clare were always on top in this game, despite the efforts of Ray Duggan, Mick Malomphey and Jimmy Duggan in goal, who all played very well. Unfortunately for their side, their efforts were not enough against this rampant Clare team. Clare are on a good run of late, coming up against and defeating both Westmeath and Cork in recent games, and with players of the caliber of Donal Carr, Niall Hayes and Seamus Murphy in such good scoring form, they were always going to prove to be a handful for Waterford.
Jimmy Duggan prevented a certain goal from Donal Carr early on, with the Waterford goalkeeper at full stretch to keep Carr’s shot out of the Waterford net. This, however, proved to be a mere warning for Waterford as Seamus Murphy opened the scoring with a fine goal early on in the first half. Murphy continued his good streak with another point shortly after, and Niall Hayes got in on the act by grabbing a goal and a point for his side after some delightful play from Brian Chambers.
The Clare players continued the onslaught on the Waterford goal, and only for the fine goalkeeping of Waterford’s veteran Jimmy Duggan, the score may have been a lot higher. Waterford were not merely there to make up the numbers, however, and Ray Duggan and Mike Malomphey set out to prove this, both scoring points for their team, Duggan’s resulting from some great on the ball running from Keith Hennessy. Hayes added to his tally before the break with another finely tuned move among the Clare forwards, to add to his impressive scoring record for the season.
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Though Malomphey played well in the Waterford back line, he could do little to prevent the aggressive attacking hurling of Kyle Quinn, Murphy and Hayes. Donal Carr, though having a quieter game than he has had recently, scored a point for Clare at the break and Clare went in to halftime 3-5 to 0-4 ahead. This was thanks to Hayes’s two goals and Quinn’s solitary strike. Points for Waterford came courtesy of Malomphey and Ray Duggan.
Clare carried on their scoring feats in the second half, with Quinn, Hayes and Murphy all grabbing more points to really put the tie out of reach for the Waterford players. Some good interactive hurling between Ray Duggan and Keith Hennessy resulted in a goal apiece for the two Waterford men, but the light at the end of the tunnel was quickly dimmed by more points from Clare’s Hayes and substitute Gabriel Moore.
At the end of the game the result said quite a lot. Clare did play very well but not quite to the limits of their talents and Waterford had some outstanding performers on the day. Notably, Ray Duggan, Malomphy, Jimmy Duggan and goalscorer Keith Hennessy.
Clare: Aidan O’Connor, Tony Byrne, Noel McGovern, Brian Adams, John Hennessy, John Kennedy, Brian Chambers, Donal Moore, Niall Hayes, Barney Breen, Donal Carr, Kyle Quinn, Seamus Murphy. Subs, Joe Egan, Gabriel Moore, Gearoid Cleary.
Clare scorers: Quinn 1-3, Hayes 2-5, G. Moore 0-3, Kennedy 0-2, Murphy 0-3, Donal Moore 0-1.
Waterford: Jimmy Duggan, Tom Bermingham, Anthony O’Gorman, Mike Malomphey, Paul Stewart, Jo Jo O’Sullivan, Jamie Duggan, Richie Purcell, Ray Duggan, Keith Hennessy, Johnny Whelan, Declan Dorian, Joe Coughlan.
Waterford scorers: Malomphy 0-2, Ray Duggan 1-5, Keith Hennessy 1-0.