Six of the best – Limerick claim record breaking Munster title

Limerick 1-26
Clare 1-20

By Tom Clancy in Thurles

Limerick made more history when claiming a record breaking sixth Munster Senior Hurling title in a row, thanks to a six-point win over their rivals Clare. Limerick played against a noticeable if not overly strong breeze in the opening half and were broadly efficient. A decent spread of scorers, as well as just three wides would have impressed the management but Clare weren’t shakeable.

After trading scores early on – with David Reidy opening the scoring – Limerick hit a small run to take the lead – 0-8 to 0-6. This four in a row run saw Declan Hannon, Diarmuid Byrnes and Aaron Gillane all on target. Kyle Hayes finished a fine passing move.

For Brian Lohan, the decision to include Tony Kelly was justified, he was busy, hitting three points while Shane O’Donnell caused problems for the Treaty full-back line. David Fitzgerald, when not marshalled, showed he had the eye in from range.

Nickie Quaid pulled off a typical brilliant save, on 17 minutes. The Effin man denied Aidan McCarthy from around 13 meters, while Byrnes was alive to sweep away the follow up to deny a certain goal.
Closing the half strongly, the champions hit three in as many minutes. Byrnes (free), a second from Reidy and a first from Shane O’Brien, who superbly caught a dropping ball 25 meters from goal. A reply from Fitzgerald stemmed the tide but it looked as if John Kiely’s men would hold the advantage at half-time. However, Clare levelled the clash with the last puck of the half, Tony Kelly’s free from his own ’45’ was only swept away from goals by Quaid, with Peter Duggan gathering and firing home from close range in the blink of an eye. Level, 0-13 to 1-10.

Four in a row after the interval set the tone for the winners, who were able to add Cathal O’Neill to a growing number of scorers.

The Hegarty goal arrived on 46 minutes when a long delivery wasn’t dealt with by the Clare defence, and he raced onto it and pulled to the net.

Clare did cut the gap with McCarthy, Fitzgerald and Rodgers among their scorers. Rodgers had their best chance of a goal, which would have brought them right back into contention. Kelly intercepted a pass from Barry Nash, fed Rodgers who saw his shot rebound off the base of the post. Late scores from Hayes, Hegarty, Tom Morrissey and Adam English sealed the memorable win for the boys in green.

Scorers for Limerick:
Aaron Gillane 0-5 (0-4 frees); Diarmaid Byrnes 0-5 (0-3 frees); Gearoid Hegarty 1-2; Tom Morrissey 0-4 (0-1 free); David Reidy, Declan Hannon, Shane O’Brien, Kyle Hayes 0-2 each; Cathal O’Neill, Adam English 0-1.

Scores for Clare:
Aidan McCarthy 0-8 (0-6 frees); David Fitzgerald 0-4; Peter Duggan 1-1; Tony Kelly 0-3; Mark Rodgers 0-2 (both frees); Shane O’Donnell, Ian Galvin 0-1 each.

Nickie Quaid; Mike Casey, Dan Morrissey, Barry Nash; Diarmaid Byrnes, Declan Hannon (Capt), Kyle Hayes; Will O’Donoghue, Cian Lynch; Gearóid Hegarty, Cathal O’Neill, Tom Morrissey; David Reidy, Aaron Gillane, Shane O’Brien.

Conor Boylan for Hegarty (blood – 23 – 24 mins); Adam English for Cian Lynch (53); Conor Boylan for O’Neill (63); Donnacha O Dálaigh for Gillane (68); Aidan O’Connor for Reidy (69); Graeme Mulcahy for Tom Morrissey (73).

Eibhear Quilligan; Adam Hogan, Conor Cleary (Capt), Conor Leen; Diarmuid Ryan, John Conlon, David McInerney; David Fitzgerald, Darragh Lohan; Cathal Malone, Mark Rodgers, Peter Duggan; Aidan McCarthy, Shane O’Donnell, Tony Kelly.

Paddy Donnellan for Malone (blood – 29 – 30 mins); David Reidy for Lohan (62); Ian Galvin for McCarthy (63);

Colm Lyons (Cork).

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