Waterford outclassed by Clare
Clare 2-26 Waterford 0-23: A superb display by John Mullane could not prevent Waterford from parting with their Munster senior hurling championship crown as they were outclassed by a rampant Clare before 17,365 who basked in the glorious sunshine in Limerick.
Mullane scored eight points from play, but without four key players from last season, his side were swamped by a succession of Clare scores as they swept to their first championship win for five seasons.
Newcomer Mark Flaherty will cherish his debut as he contributed 1-7 with his goal coming after sixteen minutes to open up the first major gap between the sides, 1-5 to 0-4. Waterford had made the better start with the first three points from Dave Bennett - two frees - and Mullane.
The sides were level after 12 minutes and nothing separated them either after 21 and 27 minutes when it stood 1-8 to 0-11.
It had been an enthralling opening as Waterford proceeded to score five points in-a-row to get back on terms, 1-5 to 0-8. Then Clare's Diarmuid McMahon put over two superb points from long range.
By half time Clare led by four points (1-12 to 0-11) and it seemed a dramatic second half contest was in prospect.
Dave Bennett scored ten points in all - eight from frees- and secured the opening point of the second half plus the goal that separated the sides after 47 minutes.
When Niall Gilligan blasted in a Clare goal it became one-way traffic with the contest being highlighted by some superb individual points.
Tony Griffin hit five great second half points as his side left Waterford reeling as Clare set up a meeting against Limerick in a fortnight.
Clare: M. Flaherty, 1-7, (4 pts from frees), T. Griffin, 0-5, N. Gilligan, 1-2, C. Plunkett, 0-3 (1f), D. McMahon, 0-3, T. Carmody, 0-2, C. Lynch, 0-2, P. Vaughan, 0-1, B. Buglar 0-1.
Waterford: D. Bennett, 0-10 (9frees), J. Mullane, 0-8, G. Hurney, S. Molumpy, E. McGrath, S. Prendergast, D. Coffey, 0-1 each.