In his first season in charge of the Clare senior hurlers, Davy Fitzgerald's report card has an extremely positive look to it.
Clare now have four league wins out of four and, as a result of yesterday's convincing win over Wexford, Fitzgerald's charges have qualified for the final, with one match still to play, away to Offaly next Sunday.
At a sunny Cusack Park, Ennis, yesterday, the Clare men overwhelmed a disappointing Wexford outfit who have only achieved one win in four outings thus far.
Fitzgerald expressed his pleasure with his team's progress. "I'm massively happy to be in the League final. This is a way tougher group than the last few years, so we've made progress already by being there (the final). Whoever we meet, it's going to be a tough one but it's great to know you're there."
From the off, it was evident that Clare were up for the challenge. They took to their task immediately and were well rewarded by a 0-5 to 0-0 lead with the game only eight minutes old.
Conor McGrath opened the scoring with a pointed free in the second minute and Clare never looked back. Wexford were held scoreless until the 19th minute when corner-forward Diarmuid O'Keeffe fired over their first score of the day.
Clare employed a two-man full-forward line early on and it paid off in the 20th minute when John Conlon's shot from the right deceived Wexford 'keeper Niall Breen at the near post for the game's opening goal.
Banner centre-forward Sean Collins added another as the half wore on and when the half-time whistle sounded his side held a merited 2-8 to 0-9 lead.
Conor McGrath added another nail to the Wexford coffin shortly after the break when he goaled within six minutes. And the visitors were reduced to 14 players when full-back Matthew O'Hanlon received his marching orders from referee Alan Kelly for a second yellow-card offence.
In the end, Clare had too much fire-power up front, while their defenders, especially the tenacious Brendan Bugler at wing-back, held their lines and staved off whatever threat the Wexford attacked posed.
Man of the Match: Conor McGrath (Clare)
Scorers -- Clare: C McGrath 1-7 (4f), J Conlon 1-2, S Collins 1-1, N O'Connell 0-3 (1f), L Markham 0-2, F Lynch 0-1. Wexford: J Guiney 0-12 (10f, 1 '65), H Kehoe 0-2, D O'Keeffe, D Lyng, R Kehoe (1f), J Berry 0-1 each.
Clare -- P Kelly 7; E Glynn 7, C Dillon 7, C Cooney 7; B Bugler 8, J McInerney 7, S Morey 7; N O'Connell 7, P Donnellan 6 (capt); J Clancy 6, S Collins 7, F Lynch 6; C Ryan 6, J Conlon 8, C McGrath 8. Subs: C McInerney 7 for Lynch (h-t), L Markham 7 for Glynn (51), A Cunningham for Ryan (53), C Galvin for Donnellan (67).
Wexford -- N Breen 6; J Tonks 6, M O'Hanlon 6, K Rossiter 7 (capt); D Redmond 5, D Stamp 6, C Kenny 5; E Quigley 6, PJ Nolan 6; J Guiney 7, J Leacy 6, H Kehoe 7; R Jacob 5, S Banville 4, D O'Keeffe 5. Subs: D Lyng 6 for Banville (h-t), R Kehoe 7 for Kenny (51), P Morris for Nolan (54), B Kenny for Tonks (54), J Berry for H Kehoe (65).
Ref -- A Kelly (Galway)