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'we're the real deal': boss fitz'

Bugler inspires Banner in second half

DAVY FITZGERALD hailed his Clare heroes as the "real deal" following yesterday's Munster SHC quarter-final victory (2-20 to1-15) over Waterford at Semple Stadium.

Clare scored a first provincial championship victory since defeating Limerick in 2008 – and this was also the first time that the Banner County had beaten Waterford in championship hurling since the first round five years ago.

In the proverbial game of two halves, Clare ruled the roost after half-time in front of 12,103 spectators in Semple Stadium, Thurles.

Waterford, boosted by Jake Dillon's eighth minute goal, led by 1-9 to 0-8 at half-time and it could have been more but for nine first half wides - they were misses that the Decies were left to rue.

But Clare won the second half by 2-12 to 0-6 as they set up a semi-final meeting with Jimmy Barry Murphy's Cork on June 23.

Shane O'Donnell netted in the 55th minute and Conor McGrath struck eight minutes from time as Fitzgerald masterminded a first victory in three outings against his former 'employers'.

All Star Brendan Bugler claimed the man of the match award on the back of a thunderous display in the Clare half-back line but Jamie Nagle was equally good on the opposite '40' for Waterford.

This was a really good day at the office for a Clare side that finished with just four goals in the National League – but as the leading points scorers in Division 1A.

And Fitzgerald gushed: "This is a good bunch. It might not be this year but it will come for them.

"They are the real deal – they will work very hard and they're as honest as they come. They just need to mature and I hope people give them time to mature."



Clare appeared to have the edge on Waterford in the fitness stakes but Déise boss Michael Ryan disagreed.

He reflected: "It looks that you are physically fitter and stronger when you are going well and on a run.

"It didn't look that way in the first-half.

"I don't think our physical conditioning was the problem.

"It's just that we didn't nail them when we had the chance to.

"Having said that well done to Clare, they fully deserved their victory, no qualms about it," added the Waterford boss.