HL1 final: Deise and Banner must meet again (and again)

May 01, 2016

Clare's David Reidy and Colin Dunford of Waterford

Waterford and Clare could not be separated in a thrilling league final that finished 0-22 each after extra time at Thurles.

With 19,498 watching on, both teams refused to lose and were level twelve times, including at the very end, which means a replay is going to take place at the same venue next Sunday.

Maurice Shanahan came off the bench to drill over the equalising point for the holders deep into added time at the end of extra time, after fellow sub Colin Ryan seemed to have won it for the Banner moments earlier. With the sides also due to meet in the first round of the Munster SHC in five weeks, quite a healthy rivalry is building up!

A last-ditch Conor McGrath point in the fourth minute of injury time at the end of normal time had forced extra time, with each team hitting 15 points during the regulation 70+ minutes. Shane Bennett's sixth point appeared to have won the day for Na Deise but McGrath's twelfth from a tight angle on the left sideline forced the additional 20 minutes.

The match caught fire during those closing stages but had been a relatively poor spectacle prior to that.

The Banner County led by the odd point from 13 at the end of a foul-laden, bad-tempered and low-quality first half that was bogged down in tactics, where hurling seemed to be almost an afterthought.

McGrath's free opened the scoring and Patrick Curran replied in kind at the other end. The first score from play was a stunning one from Tony Kelly and Colin Dunford ran half the length of the pitch to point from the left wing for the holders after McGrath had clipped over his second free.

Austin Gleeson's free had the teams level at the midway stage in the first half - 0-3 each - but Clare rallied with three points in two minutes from McGrath (2) and Darach Honan to lead by double scores. Curran and Shane Bennett pointed Waterford frees, with Kelly lucky to stay on the field for a high challenge on Dunford (yellow).

The managers squared up to each other as tempers flared around the half-hour mark; frees from Bennett and McGrath - with his fifth - closed a tense but low-quality opening period, in which the defending champions hit a massive wides tally of twelve.

There were only two points in the first ten minutes of the second half, as a McGrath free was cancelled out by Curran. In keeping with the spirit of the game, Shane O'Donnell's first contribution after entering the fray was to pick up a yellow card.

McGrath and Curran traded points from play either side of the 50-minute mark before Bennett replied to McGrath's seventh and eighth points as the Banner led by 0-11 to 0-9 going into the fourth quarter. Bennett halved the deficit on 55 minutes and clipped over the leveller from a 57th-minute free.

Gleeson (free) supplied Waterford's third consecutive point but McGrath replied from a free in the 61st minute to level the scores for the fifth time - 0-12 apiece. Podge Collins and McGrath edged the Banner into a two-point lead but back came Waterford with a Jamie Barron score and a Bennett free, 14 points each after 68 minutes.

Bennett pointed from play in the 71st minute but McGrath had the last say of normal time with an exceptional free after Cathal O'Connell went down deep into added time.

The first period of extra time produced three Waterford points followed swiftly by three from Clare as the teams remained deadlocked.

The action resumed some 105 minutes after the game has started and Brian O'Halloran edged Na Deise back in front after Pat Kelly had denied fellow sub Tom Devine a Waterford goal. Another sub, Tommy Ryan, pointed to leave two between them again and Bennett's free left three between the teams halfway through the first period of extra time.

Midfielder David Reidy settled Clare with a lovely score on the run and they were level at half time in extra time thanks for further finishes from Kelly and McGrath (free).

Colm Galvin supplied his side's fourth successive point immediately upon the resumption and Kelly's third of the day edged the Banner back in front after Bennett had equalised from a free. Ryan tied the scores up again and there was an exchange between Galvin and Philip Mahony before sub Ryan edged Clare back in front. But Shanahan kept his nerve at the death to force a replay.

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

Waterford - S O'Keeffe; N Connors, B Coughlan, D Fives; T de Burca, S Fives, Philip Mahony (0-1); A Gleeson (0-2f), J Barron (0-1); M Walsh, S Bennett (0-9, 6f), K Moran; P Curran (0-4, 2f), C Dunford (0-1), J Dillon. Subs: T Devine for C Dunford, M Shanahan (0-1f) for J Dillon, B O'Halloran (0-1) for A Gleeson, C Gleeson for S Fives, T Ryan (0-2) for P Curran, C Dunford for S Bennett, Pauric Mahony for M Walsh.

Referee - B Gavin. 

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