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New recruit O'Connor nets decisive strike for the Banner

Making his first competitive appearance in a Clare jersey, second-half substitute David O'Connor scored the game's only goal as Clare overcame Waterford in the semi-final of the McGrath Cup at Ardmore yesterday.

The goal, eight minutes into the second half, came after a move which began with 'keeper Joe Hayes and gave Clare a lead they held to the end. The sides were level at 0-6 each at the time. The move involved six players and ended with David Tubridy giving O'Connor -- who plays with St Brigid's of Dublin -- the easiest of chances.

O'Connor is one of three players whose parents come from Clare who were cleared to play with the Banner side only last Friday. Niall Browne, who plays with Twomilehouse in Kildare, was in the starting 15 and scored Clare's opening point in the 13th minute.

Adrian Cahill, a member of Celbridge in Kildare, was also in the panel but wasn't called upon.

As a result of this win, Clare will play Kerry in the final on Saturday under lights in Tralee.

Waterford started well and scored the game's opening two points. As the end of the first quarter approached, Clare found their range and four points in as many minutes brought them into it. They trailed by a point at half-time, 0-5 to 0-6, but they grabbed the initiative on the resumption and O'Connor's goal gave them the edge.

Lawrence Healy, Barry Duggan and Martin McMahon excelled in defence while Alan Clohessy and Tubridy kicked some good scores. Waterford will be disappointed to have missed several opportunities from placed balls in the second half.

SCORERS -- Clare: D O'Connor 1-0; D Tubridy, A Clohessy 0-3 each; C O'Connor, N Browne, R Donnelly, G Fannin 0-1 each.

Waterford: M Donnelly, P Hurney 0-3 each; S Fleming 0-2; K Power, P White 0-1 each.

Clare -- Joe Hayes; L Healy, B Duggan, M McMahon; Graham Kelly, Gordon Kelly, John Hayes; C Ryan, C O'Connor; D Daly, D Tubridy, N Browne; R Donnelly, T Ryan, A Clohessy; Subs: G Fannin for Graham Kelly; D O'Connor for C Ryan; D O'Brien for T Ryan; D O'Neill for Browne.

Waterford -- T Wall; J Hurney, T O'Gorman, K Connery; E Walsh, S Briggs, J Phelan; B Phelan, T Prendergast; M Donnelly, K Power, B Wall; JJ Hutchinson, P Hurney, P White. Subs: S Fleming for Hutchinson; M Ahern for Power; M O'Gorman for Prendergast.

Ref -- D O'Mahoney (Tipp)

Irish Independent