A late rally was not enough as Clare edge Limerick in MSFC quarter final.
Clare edged Limerick on a score line of 1-13 to 1-12 in Sunday’s Muster Senior Football Championship quarter final played in front of almost 3000 supporters at Cusack Park, Ennis.
Billy Lee’s panel will not have to negotiate round one of the All Ireland qualifiers on June 14th while Clare will be preparing to face Munster Champions Kerry in the MSFC semi final.
Limerick were playing catch up for much of the game and could never manage to get in front of their opponents. A late rally from substitute Josh Ryan who notched 1-1 in the dying stages got Billy Lee’s side within a point but it wasn’t to be.
The banner county got their breakthrough score in the 9th minute when Eoin Cleary got on the end of a Jamie Malone pass. Cleary beat marker Daniel Daly and rounded Limerick goalie Donal O’Sullivan before finishing to an empty net.
Cleary’s goal saw Clare lead by 1-3 to 0-1 with Seamus O’Carroll’s fine sideline effort accounting of Limerick’s only score.
Not the start that Billy Lee would have wanted for his side and Limerick need to respond quickly.
Limerick had to wait until Danny Neville’s effort in the 12th minute to register their first point from play with a good finish from the left hand side.
Ger Collins quickly followed with another score to make it 1-3 to 0-3 at the quarter hour mark.
Clare were making inroads from Limerick turnovers and their counterattacking play was yielding scores. For their part, Limerick would have been disappointed with the concession of cheap scores.
James Naughton pointed in the 21st minute to once again cut the gap out to three points before Clare responded with another point.
Darragh Treacy hit back with another point for Limerick but Clare finished the half on top to lead by 1-8 to 0-6 at the break.
It was 12-minutes before the opening Limerick point from play – Danny Neville finishing from the left.
The opening 15 minutes of the second half was not a great advertisement for football with just one point from Clare’s Eoin Cleary in the first attack after the break.
Danny Neville pointed in the 51st minute to cut the deficit again to just five points as the game entered the last 15 minutes.
With time passing by, Sean O’Dea, Seamus O’Carroll and Iain Corbett had Limerick points but Clare had two points from Eoin Cleary either side of another from O’Carroll to lead 1-13 to 0-11 with five minutes on the clock.
Unfortunately Josh Ryan’s late flurry was not enough to put Limerick in a winning position as Billy Lee and his team will now look to the qualifiers.
LIMERICK: Donal O’Sullivan; Daniel Daly, Johnny McCarthy, Sean O’Dea; Paul White, Iain Corbett, Brian Fanning; Darragh Treacy, David Ward; Peter Nash, James Naughton, Garrett Noonan; Seamus O’Carroll, Danny Neville, Ger Collins. Subs: Josh Ryan for David Ward (46mins), Sean McSweeney for Peter Nash (51mins), Jamie Lee for James Naughton (56mins), Tony McCarthy for Daniel Daly (59mins), Padraig Scanlon for Ger Collins (62mins), Padraig Quinn for Seamus O’Carroll (68mins).
CLARE: Joe Hayes; Dean Ryan, Kevin Harnett, Martin McMahon; Pearse Lillis, Gordan Kelly, John Hayes; Gary Brennan, Shane Brennan, Cathal O’Connor, Jamie Malone, Sean Collins; Eoin Cleary, David Tubridy, Keelan Sexton. Subs: Liam Markham for Cathal O’Connor (59mins), Gearoid O’Brien for Sean Collins (64mins), Seanie Malone for David Tubridy (69mins), Darren Nagle for Kevin Harnett (70mins).
REFEREE: Cormac Reilly (Meath).