Clare are favourites to overcome Limerick this Sunday and reach a first Munster final since 2008, when they were defeated by Tipperary. For Limerick, they will be looking to reach the decider for the first time since 2014, where they were beaten by Cork.
Limerick’s spring performances were uninspiring as two losses in Division 1B condemned them to another year in the second tier of the League. Despite overcoming a fancied Cork side in the League quarter final in Pairc Ui Rinn, they were comprehensively dispatched by Galway in the Gaelic Grounds a week later.
This aligned with Clare’s survival in Division 1A has lead many pundits to tip Clare to progress. However, Galway’s recent form poses questions as to how good Limerick actually are seeing as they dismantled Tipperary in the league final.
Regardless, the mood around the county is subdued in the lead up to the Munster Championship, something unfamiliar to the county.
Speaking to the Irish Times, former Limerick defender Stephen McDonagh said,
“That was very disappointing. We were expecting a big performance but it didn’t happen at all. We have seen Galway move on again since then but that game left Limerick people feeling very flat. The mood has been very quiet since then – as quiet as I’ve seen it.”
“Being realistic, you’d still have to say they are a bit ahead of Limerick. Then again, as results have shown over the years, there’s usually little enough between the teams.”
And McDonagh is completely right when he says that there’s usually little between the teams. Since 1991, Limerick have faced Clare 12 times in the championship. Both sides have come away with 6 wins each. However, a strange statistic pops up when you analyse the results.
CLARE v LIMERICK
It’s 6-6 in an every-second-game sequence since 1991
2016: Clare 0-19 Limerick 0-15 (Qualifiers)
2015: Limerick 1-19 Clare 2-15 (Munster q/f)
2013: Clare 1-22 Limerick 0-18 (All-Ireland s/f)
2012: Limerick 3-18 Clare 1-20 (Qualifiers)
2008: Clare 4-12 Limerick 1-16 (Munster s/f)
2007: Limerick 1-23 Clare 1-16 (All-Ireland q/f)
2006: Clare 2-21 Limerick 0-10 (Qualifiers)
1996: Limerick 1-13 Clare 0-15 (Munster s/f)
1995: Clare 1-17 Limerick 0-11 (Munster f)
1994: Limerick 0-25 Clare 2-10 (Munster f)
1993: Clare 3-16 Limerick 3-12 (Munster q/f)
1991: Limerick 0-21 Clare 1-15 (Munster q/f)
Incredibly, neither team has managed to win back-to-back against one another since that Munster quarter final in 1991. With Clare defeating the Treaty last summer in the Qualifiers, should this trend continue, Limerick will come out on top this weekend.