Sunday 24 March 2019

John Conlon and Tony Kelly fire Clare past depleted Waterford

Clare 2-27 Waterford 2-18

Clare joint manager Donal Moloney is congratulated by the the Clare full back Conor Cleary
Clare joint manager Donal Moloney is congratulated by the the Clare full back Conor Cleary
Michael Verney

Michael Verney

John Conlon ran riot for Clare to fire 1-3 and cause the Waterford defence all sorts of trouble as the Banner got their Munster campaign back on track against an injury-ravaged Déise side.

The Clonlara attacker was too hot to handle from start to finish and along with Tony Kelly, who clipped over six points from play, they were much too strong for last year's beaten All-Ireland finalists.

Derek McGrath's Waterford side – minus the services of Austin Gleeson and key forward Pauric Mahony – were rocked by injuries to Tadhg de Búrca, Noel Connors and Darragh Fives while Kevin Moran was red carded in the second half and the Déise boss faces a huge task to lift his depleted squad for three matches in three weeks.

The first half was played at a frenetic pace with both sides sharing the first six points before Maurice Shanahan was first to react when Tom Devine's goal bound effort was saved by Donal Tuohy and fired to the net, 1-3 to 0-3.

Waterford suffered a hammer blow when Tadhg de Búrca was forced off with a shoulder injury in the 14th minute and their hopes were further compounded when Kevin Moran's close-range effort was blocked by Conor Cleary just minutes later.

To make matters worse, the ball was immediately worked down the field where John Conlon was fouled twice en route to goal and Peter Duggan made no mistake with the subsequent penalty to fire to the roof of the Déise net.

The sides traded scores to leave it 1-6 apiece after 23 minutes before the Banner kicked ahead with Conlon, who was causing Waterford all sorts of problems in the air, firing past Stephen O'Keeffe.

They reeled off the next four points to open up a seven-point lead before a late Waterford rally and points from Tom Devine, Shanahn (free) and captain Moran left just five in at the break, 2-11 to 1-9.

It was the Tony Kelly Show upon the resumption as the Ballyea maestro fired over two points inside two minutes before Conlon led the Waterford defence a merry dance again to fire over.

Half-time substitute Tommy Ryan gave Waterford a lifeline with a 42nd minute goal, 2-14 to 1-9, but when Moran was given his marching orders just minutes later for a frontal charge on Kelly, the Banner took full charge.

They hit seven of the next eight points to open up a ten-point lead with Kelly on song and despite a game Waterford challenge, the game petered out much to the delight of the home crowd.

Donal Moloney and Gerry O'Connor's side bounced back from last week's disappointment and will look forward with optimism to their crunch meeting with Tipperary on June 10 in Semple Stadium.

CLARE – D Tuohy; P O'Connor, D McInerney, J Browne; D Fitzgerald, C Cleary, J Shanahan; C Galvin, C Malone; P Duggan, T Kelly, D Reidy; J Conlon, S O'Donnell, C McGrath.

Subs: P Collins for McGrath (60), S Morey for Malone (64), N Deasy for Reidy (66), M O'Neill for O'Donnell (68) D Corry for Conlon (68).

WATERFORD – S O’Keeffe; N Connors, B Coughlan, S Fives; D Fives, T de Búrca, Philip Mahony; C Gleeson, J Barron; K Moran, M Shanahan, M Walsh; J Dillon, T Devine, S McNulty.

Subs: C Roche for de Búrca inj (14), Stephen Bennett for for Connors inj and DJ Foran for Walsh (both half-time), T Ryan for D Fives inj (38), I Kenny for Coughlan inj (45).

REF – P O’Dwyer

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