Wednesday 19 December 2018

Curran has home comfort for Déise

Waterford 1-23 Clare 1-20 - Allianz NHL Div 1A

Waterford manager Derek McGrath. Photo: Sportsfile
Waterford manager Derek McGrath. Photo: Sportsfile

Tomás McCarthy

Walsh Park won't provide the setting for Munster championship hurling this summer, but a long-awaited home victory put a pep in the step of the Déise ahead of a relegation clash away to Cork.

"It's probably our last game as a management and players at Walsh Park so it's good to finally get a win after two years," acknowledged manager Derek McGrath afterwards. Waterford previously tasted success at the city venue on Valentine's Day 2016 against Kilkenny.

Conor Gleeson of Waterford in action against David Reidy of Clare. Photo: Sportsfile
Conor Gleeson of Waterford in action against David Reidy of Clare. Photo: Sportsfile

McGrath couldn't hide his disappointment with the fact that Waterford will forego home comforts for crucial provincial ties with Tipperary and Cork in June.

"It is what it is now and we have to just move forward. I don't think I've offered an excuse in my five years as a manager so I'm not going to start now, he said."

Patrick Curran submitted 1-13 as he slotted in seamlessly on placed balls with Pauric Mahony off duty.

"The night against Tipp, he had a difficult time on the frees and the easy option is to lose faith in somebody. On Friday night, when we announced the team, we said that Patrick is hitting the frees," said McGrath.

Peter Duggan of Clare in action against Shane Fives of Waterford. Photo: Sportsfile
Peter Duggan of Clare in action against Shane Fives of Waterford. Photo: Sportsfile

"He's definitely part of what we want to do going forward. "

After suffering their second loss, Clare must settle for a quarter-final against newly promoted Limerick.

The Banner surrendered a six-point advantage in the first half. Against the breeze, eight players registered by the 17th minute.

John Conlon pounced on a Kevin Moran error before Conor McGrath flashed the ball past Ian O'Regan from close range. Seadna Morey rounded off that spell of Clare dominance (1-8 to 0-5).

Austin Gleeson inspired a first-half transformation. A sequence of blinding runs from deep lifted the home support among the 2,656 in attendance.

Curran was also to the fore (1-7) as McGrath's troops went in three up at the break.

Michael Kearney struck the first of four singles and captain Kevin Moran scored from inside his own half and Gleeson pointed in added time (1-13 to 1-10).

A Tony Kelly brace restored parity nine minutes into the second period, before Curran and Kearney nudged the hosts two up. Peter Duggan and John Conlon levelled for the fifth occasion (1-15 each).

Three Curran conversions gave the hosts a four-point cushion entering the last 10 minutes.

Kearney, Waterford's leading scorer from play in 2018, supplied three. Subs Thomas Ryan, Tom Devine and Conor Prunty also gave the host a timely boost. A sign of their squad strength.

Déise defender Conor Gleeson was dismissed on a second yellow in injury-time but they held out and head to Leeside with a home lift.


Scorers - Waterford: P Curran 1-13 (9f), M Kearney 0-4, S Bennett 0-2, K Bennett, C Gleeson, A Gleeson, K Moran 0-1 each. Clare: P Duggan 0-5 (4fs), C McGrath 1-1, T Kelly 0-4, D Reidy 0-3, I Galvin, J Conlon 0-2 each, S Morey, C Malone, S O'Donnell 0-1 each.

Waterford - I O'Regan 7; S Fives 6, B Coughlan 6, I Kenny 6; T De Burca 6; C Gleeson 7, A Gleeson 8, K Bennett 7; M O'Brien 6, K Moran 7; M Walsh 5, S Bennett 7, DJ Foran 5; M Kearney 8, P Curran 9. Subs: T Ryan 6 for Walsh (50), T Devine 6 for Foran (50), C Prunty 6 for O'Brien (54), M Shanahan for Moran (60), P Mahony for S Bennett (70).

Clare - D Tuohy 6; J Browne 6, C Cleary 6, P O'Connor 5; S Morey 7, D McInerney 6, D Fitzgerald 6; C Malone 7, T Kelly 8; P Duggan 7, J Conlon 7, D Reidy 8; S O'Donnell 6, I Galvin 7, C McGrath 7. Subs: M O'Malley 5 for Morey (52), J Shanahan for O'Connor (60), C McInerney for Malone (67), R Taylor for Galvin (69), E Quirke for Browne (70).

Ref - J Murphy (Limerick)

Irish Independent

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