Limerick have no answer as Clare dominate Ennis encounter

John Kiely’s side suffered a 0-26 to 0-15 loss to Clare in the Munster Championship and will now face the Joe McDonagh Cup winners in an All Ireland Quarter final playoff.

Shane Dowling missed an early free as both sides swapped early wides in an intense opening three minutes. A late hit on Tony Kelly afforded Peter Duggan an opportunity to open the scoring and he did just that with a well taken free.

John Conlon added a second from an acute angle to make it a two point lead for the banner after six minutes. Limerick needed a settling score and when Mulcahy teed up Tom Morrissey, the Ahane man opened Limerick’s account.

Peter Duggan landed another free from fifty metres after Cian Lynch fouled. The industrious Graeme Mulcahy then drew a foul with Dowling knocking over a close range free to cut the gap to one.

Sean Finn departed injured in the 13th minute to be replaced by Tom Condon. Some straight running from the Clare forward line drew a soft free with Peter Duggan taking full advantage.

David Fitzgerald then came on for Seadna Morey who picked up a knock in the early minutes following a tangle with Seamus Flanagan. A foul on Tom Morrissey would give Shane Dowling another opportunity from placed ball. Into the wind and rain, Dowling was unerring.

A mishit Limerick sideline cut straight to Colm Galvin gave the Clare forward a chance from play. Galvin made no mistake to make it 0-5 to 0-3 in favour of the banner.

Tom Morrissey was proving a nuisance to the Clare defence and was fouled once more having won possession. Dowling stepped up and converted to reduce the arrears to a point.

It was an intense opening 19 minutes. Substitute David Fitzgerald made himself known with a run down in front of the main stand and fired a super point over the bar and followed it up with another point two minutes later to make it a three point game.

Kyle Hayes settled Limerick nerves with a point but John Conlon responded with finish from an acute angle to make it 8-5 to the Banner. A Peter Duggan free pushed it out to four points.

Some excellent defensive pressure from Kyle Hayes forced a free and Dowling made no mistake to cut the gap to three. Minutes later a Darragh O’Donovan into the breeze from all of 50 metres.

Jamie Shanahan then found himself in space to make it 10-7 but that was only the start of the drama as Tom Condon and David Reidy both saw red for a tangle off the ball in the 33rd minute.

Two Peter Duggan frees made it a five point game as the Cusack Park announcer signalled five minutes of extra time. Limerick needed a response and Cian Lynch stepped up to point, followed quickly by a Diarmaid Byrnes point.

Clare then won a 65 when it looked like Mike Casey was fouled coming out of the back line. Duggan obliged with the 65 for Clare’s 13th point. Dowling had a late free which came back off the post and was cleared.

It was a breathless opening half that had everything with Clare taking a 0-13 to 0-09 lead into the dressing room. Clare would have been the happier and their half back line was exerting a huge influence on the game. However, Limerick would have the aid of a significant breeze in the second half.

A halftime chance on the Limerick side saw Graeme Mulcahy depart for Richie McCarthy.

Tom Morrissey and Tony Kelly swapped the opening points of the second half as the sun began to break through the clouds. Seamus Flanagan then added Limerick’s second of the half to reduce the arrears further.

The referee did little to endear himself to the Limerick crowd as two blatant frees were shunned only for a carbon copy offence into the other direction to see a Clare free. Duggan converted the free and added another minutes later to give Clare a healthy six point lead.

Limerick were struggling to get to grips with the game and a much needed Gearoid Hegarty point settled nerves somewhat. Dan Morrissey followed it up with another to cut it to four in the 45th minute.

Another soft free afforded Duggan a free chance which he duly dispatched to extend the lead to five points once more. Gillane came in for Seamus Flanagan as Limerick looked to inject some bite into their forward line.

Wides from Dowling and Morrissey were chipping away morale. Limerick needed a rallying score, needed something to ignite. Gillane delivered a point to reduce it to four points.

Another Duggan free kept Limerick at a safe distance. David Dempsey replaced Gearoid Hegarty as Kiely looked to cut the gap. Tom Morrissey played his part with a point from play.

Peter Duggan again stepped up with a point from play to extend Clare’s lead to five. Limerick were struggling, a mishit Darragh O’Donovan sideline cut and a wide from Shane Dowling was indicative of how things were going.

To compound Limerick’s problems, Duggan, Tony Kelly and John Conlon added three quick fire points to make it a nine point game. A Tony Kelly 65 and another Peter Duggan free made it an 11 point win as Limerick had no answer for Banner.

A late Cork surge saw the rebels fire over the last four points of the game to book their place in the Munster Final alongside the banner.

LIMERICK: 1 Nickie Quaid (Effin), 2 Sean Finn (Bruff), 3 Mike Casey (Na Piarsaigh), 4 Richie English (Doon), 5 Diarmaid Byrnes (Patrickswell), 6 Declan Hannon (Adare), 7 Dan Morrissey (Ahane), 8 Darragh O’Donovan (Doon), 9 Cian Lynch (Patrickswell), 10 Gearoid Hegarty (St Patricks), 11 Kyle Hayes (Kildimo-Pallaskenry), 12 Tom Morrissey (Ahane), 13 Seamus Flanagan (Feohanagh), 14 Shane Dowling (Na Piarsaigh), 15 Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock).

Subs: 16 Barry Hennessy (Kilmallock), 17 Paul Browne (Bruff), 18 Tom Condon (Knockaderry), 19 David Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh), 20 Aaron Gillane (Patrickswell), 21 Seamus Hickey (Murroe-Boher), 22 Richie McCarthy (Blackrock), 23 Barry Murphy (Doon), 24 Barry Nash (South Liberties), 25 William O’Donoghue (Na Piarsaigh), 26 David Reidy (Dromin-Athlacca).

CLARE: 1 Donal Tuohy (Crusheen), 2 Patrick O’Connor (Tubber), 3 Conor Cleary (Miltown Malbay), 4 Jack Browne (Ballyea), 5 Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge), 6 David McInerney (Tulla), 7 Jamie Shanahan (Sixmilebridge), 8 Colm Galvin (Clonlara), 9 Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge), 10 Peter Duggan (Clooney Quin), 11 Tony Kelly (Ballyea), 12 David Reidy (Eire Og), 13 Podge Collins (Cratloe), 14 John Conlon (Clonlara), 15 Shane O’Donnell (Eire Og).

Subs: 16 Andrew Fahy (Whitegate), 17 Rory Hayes (Wolfe Tones), 18 Jason McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona), 19 David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona), 20 Michael O’Malley (Kilmaley), 21 Ryan Taylor (Clooney Quin), 22 Niall Deasy (Ballyea), 23 Ian Galvin (Clonlara), 24 Michael O’Neill (Kilmaley), 25 Conor McGrath (Cratloe), 26 Daragh Corry (Tulla).

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