A poor second half was to prove costly for Limerick as Clare ease into Munster Final.
Limerick minor footballers failed in their bid to reach a first Munster final since 1998 as Clare ran out convincing winners on a 3-13 to 0-12 scoreline at the Gaelic Grounds Last evening.
A fine first half saw Limerick notch an impressive nine points from play of their total of ten. Indeed it was enough to give Limerick a 0-10 to 1-5 lead at the break.
Clare opened will with early scores from Diarmuid Ryan and Gearoid Cahill but Limerick responded well with scores from Padraig Power and Sean Ryan levelling affairs.
The Banner then displayed their goal threat when Paudie Kelly found the back of the net in the 5th minute.
The goal seemed to wake Limerick up as they went on a fine run, rattling off four points in a row from Karl Moloney, Rory O’Brien, Barry Coleman and Adam Costelloe to lead by 0-6 to 1-2.
Gavin Cooney then replied for Clare with a well taken point before Limerick once again settled back into their rhythm with Rory O’Brien and Sean Ryan kicking another two points to edge Limerick into a two-point lead.
Cooney again reduced the arrears to just a single point. Dermot Coughlan then forged a goal chance and with the Limerick goalkeeper out of the picture, his goal bound effort was dramatically cleared off the line by a Limerick defender.
Clare’s Paudie Kelly slotted another well taken point to level the scores but Limerick responded with two Rory O’Brien points in as many minutes to send John Ryan’s men into the break with a 2-point lead.
Limerick knew that Clare would respond and that if they could stay with them deep into the second half, they would have a chance.
It was simply not to be as within one minutes of the restart, a speculative ball dropped short into the Limerick small rectangle. Goalie Cian Walsh and corner back Mark Quinlan got in a mixup with the ball inadvertently coming off Quinlan and roll to the back of the net.
It was a cruel blow for Limerick and one they never really recovered from. Indeed Limerick failed to register another score from the 27th to the 49th minute while during that time, Clare scored 1-4.
That immediate second half rally simply broke Limerick’s resistance but it was a tactical switch that ultimately did for John Ryan’s team.
In the first half Limerick had a structure that was working and that was able to move possession at pace deep into Clare territory. In the second half, Clare shut down Limerick’s ball carrying and hassled and harried the Limerick kick out.
Limerick simply couldn’t get out of their own half as Clare shut out the game with a further 1-4 before refereed David Murnane blew the final whistle.
LIMERICK: Cian Walsh (St Senans); Mark Quinlan (Galbally), Eoin Burke (St Kierans), Cillian Ferris (Ballysteen); Padraig Power, (Rathkeale), Jack Fitzgerald (Adare), James Cummins (Galbally); Karl Moloney, captain (Crecora Manister), Liam Kennedy (St Kierans); Barry Coleman (Rathkeale), Noel Callanan (St Kierans), Rory O Brien (Fr Caseys); Adam Costelloe (Banogue), Colm Moran (Mungret St Pauls), Sean Ryan (Athea). Subs: David Burke (Mungret St Pauls) for Noel Callanan (46mins), Calvin Moran (St Patricks) for Sean Ryan (50mins), Paul Collins (Crecora Manister) for Adam Costelloe (56mins), Adam Shier (Ballybricken-Bohermore) for Rory O’Brien (61mins).
CLARE: Mark Lillis; Jack Sheedy, Jayme O’Sullivan, Joe Miniter; Diarmuid Ryan, Fergal Donnellan, Keith White; Conor McMahon, Danny Griffith; Padraig Kelly, Sean Rouine, Dermot Coughlan; Gavin Cooney, Ciaran O’Sullivan, Gearoid Cahill. Subs: Conor Dillon for Conor McMahon (h-t), Ross O’Doherty for Ciaran O’Donoghue (40mins), Rian Considine for Cahill (55mins), Aaron O’Brien for Danny Griffin (58mins), Billy Clancy for Dermot Coughlan (61mins).
REFEREE: David Murnane (Cork).