McGrath Cup: Clare set up Cork final after Waterford rout
Division Two side blow hosts out of the water in first-half to reach next weekend’s final
Gavin Cooney scored four points as Clare beat Waterford to reach the McGrath Cup final. Photograph: Laszlo Geczo/Inpho
Clare 1-17 Waterford 1-6
The difference in standard between teams in Division Two and Division Four of the National Football League was clear to see at the Gold Coast Sports venue in Ballinacourty, Dungarvan on Sunday afternoon in the semi-finals of the McGrath Cup.
Clare eased their way into next weekend’s decider - where they will play Cork - with a pillar-to-post win over the home side Waterford, who though outclassed, battled on until the final whistle in ideal weather conditions.
Clare led by 0-8 to 0-0 after 25 minutes via a brace of points from Dermot Coughlan and Gary Brennan, and further scores from Cian O’Dea, Gavin Cooney, Dale Masterson and Kieran Malone.
The home side had yet to score when Clare dealt a deadly blow with a 30th minute goal from their wing back Conal O hAinifein, which prematurely ended this game as a contest.
Waterford managed two scores from play before the break via Conor Murray and James McGrath and they came more to terms with the winners in the second-half, losing out by 0-9 to 1-4.
The exchanges in general play were even enough but Clare found space easier to come by to add to their tally, with scores being delivered by Gavin Cooney, the impressive David O’Halloran, Darragh Bohannon and substitutes Gearoid O’Brien, Niall Elliis and Gearoid Cahill.
The home side’s corner forward Brian Lynch accounted for 0-3 before replacement Donie Fitzgerald scored a deserved 67th minute goal.
Clare: Robert Eyres; Kevin Hartnett, Cillian Brennan, Jayme O’Sullivan; Conal O Hainifein (1-0), Dean Ryan, Dale Masterson (0-1), Daragh Bohannon (0-1), Cathal O’Connor; Cian O’Dea (0-1), David O’Halloran (0-2), Dermot Coughlan (0-2); Gavin Cooney (0-4, one free), Gary Brennan (0-2, frees), Kieran Malone (0-1). Subs: Alan Sweeney for Masterson, Danny Griffin for Brennan, Niall Ellis (0-1) for Coughlan, Gearoid Cahill (0-1, free), for Cooney, Gearoid O’Brien, (0-1) for O’Connor.
Waterford: Aaron Beresford; Jack Mullaney, Ray O’Ceallaigh, Michael Kiely; Aidan Trihy, Brian Looby, James McGrath (0-1); Dylan Guiry, Michael Curry; Sean Whelan Barrett, Jason Curry, Conor Murray (0-2); Brian Lynch (0-3, two frees), Shane Ahearne, Stephen Curry. Subs: Sean O Donovan for Kiely, Joe Allen for Guiry, Jay Hurton for Mullaney, Donie Fitzgerald (1-0) for J Curry.
Referee: Conor Lane (Cork).