Monday 22 January 2018

Fitzgerald hails his Banner boys as 'real deal' after Clare dismantle Deise

Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

DAVY FITZGERALD branded his new-look Clare team as the "real deal" after they delivered the Banner's first win in the Munster hurling championship for five years at the expense of Waterford in Thurles.

Clare recovered from a four-point deficit at half-time to win by eight points (2-20 to 1-15), which sets them up for a semi-final clash with Cork on June 23.

A delighted Fitzgerald predicted that once his squad acquire more experience, they will be a really potent force.

"It will happen for them. It might not be this year but it will come. They are the real deal. They just need to mature and I hope people give them time to do that. I thought they played unreal stuff for the last 20 minutes. They showed unbelievable composure and character," he said.

Waterford were left to regret a serious outbreak of inaccuracy in the first 45 minutes, a period in which they shot 13 wides. Despite that, they still led by four points but goals from Shane O'Donnell and Conor McGrath, accompanied by a string of points, enabled Clare to out-score their rivals by 2-12 to 0-6 over the final 26 minutes.

"We missed a lot of chances and it cost us dearly," said Waterford manager Michael Ryan.

Waterford now head for the early-round qualifiers for the first time since 2008, having qualified for the Munster final in each of the last four years.

Laois have reached the Leinster hurling semi-final for the first time since 2001 after beating Carlow, who had three men sent off, by 11 points in Portlaoise. Seamus Plunkett's men will play defending champions Galway in the semi-final.

Irish Independent

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