Clare and Waterford must do it again after NHL Final stalemate

Clare and Waterford must do it again after NHL Final stalemate

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Conor McGrath put in a man-of-the-match performance for Clare, notching up 13 points.
Conor McGrath put in a man-of-the-match performance for Clare, notching up 13 points.

Waterford substitute Maurice Shanahan’s 92nd-minute point secured a replay for his side against Clare in Sunday’s Allianz National Hurling League Final in Semple Stadium, Thurles.

Colin Ryan looked to have secured The Banner’s first league title in 38 years in the closing moments of extra time before Shanahan’s last gasp pointed free.

There was no shortage of excitement for the 19,498 who filled both stands of Semple Stadium, with the sides level 12 times and neither team managing to push on from anything greater than a 3-point lead.

Waterford looked to have won the game deep into stoppage time in the second half before referee Brian Gavin punished Waterford by awarding a free to Clare for a foul on Cathal O’Connell. Man-of-the-Match Conor McGrath, who was Clare’s top scorer on the day, pointed the resultant free sending the game into extra time after it finished 0-15 each after normal time.

Pics John Moylan

It was a game littered with frees as it was with wides. Waterford were awarded 22 frees against Clare’s 12, while Waterford struck 20 wides to Clare’s 19 across the more than 90 minutes of play.

The draw means the sides must meet again next Sunday at the same venue at 3.30pm just four weeks before their Munster Senior Hurling Championship semi-final, also at Semple Stadium.

The Clare teams lines out in front of the press before throw-in
The Clare teams lines out in front of the press before throw-in

Speaking to the media after the final whistle, Clare boss Davy Fitzgerald said, “I can’t wait, I really can’t wait for the next day. We had a great battle out there between two great teams. That’s what hurling is about.”

“We had to stand up at the end of normal time and Conor McGrath had to put over a free that was absolutely incredible. I’m so proud of him for what he did. Everything was on the line and he did it. Fair play to Maurice Shanahan at the end. He did it when he had to do it,” Fitzgerald added.

Clare: P Kelly; O O’Brien, P O’Connor, C Dillon; B Bugler, C Cleary, D Fitzgerald; D Reidy (0-1), C Galvin (0-2); A Cunningham, D Honan, P Duggan (0-1); P Collins (0-1), T Kelly (0-3), C McGrath (0-13, 10f). Subs: S O’Donnell for Duggan (45), C O’Connell for Honan (50), C Ryan (0-1) for Cunningham (53), A Shanagher for Galvin (61), J Browne for Cleary (77), Galvin for Collins (80), S Morey for Bugler (84).

Waterford: S O’Keeffe; S Fives, B Coughlan, N Connors; T de Burca, A Gleeson (0-2f), Phillip Mahony (0-1); J Barron (0-1), D Fives; K Moran, S Bennett (0-8, 3f), M Walsh; P Curran (0-5, 3f), J Dillon, C Dunford (0-1). Subs: T Devine for Dunford (45), M Shanahan (0-1f) for Dillon (57), B O’Halloran (0-1) for Gleeson (64), C Gleeson for Fives (66), T Ryan (0-2) for Curran (66), Dunford for Bennett (87), Padraig Mahony for Walsh (88).

Referee: Brian Gavin (Offaly).

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