LIMERICK’S aspirations of an immediate return to Division 3 of the Allianz Football League were severely dented as they were beaten 0-10 to 0-9 by Clare in Ennis on Sunday.
From start to finish Maurice Horan’s side looked lacklustre against a very hungry Clare side, that are managed by Micheal McDermott - the man who guided Monaleen to the Limerick SFC last Autumn.
Backed by the strong wind, Clare led 0-5 to 0-3 at half-time.
Ian Ryan was the only Limerick scorer in the opening half and two of his points came from frees.
Indeed the half time deficit should have been greater but Clare kicked nine wides compared to just two for Limerick.
Clare were to finish with 15 wides, and Limerick with six.
And, with just a two point interval deficit, Limerick were more than capable of utilising the elements to secure a sixth successive league win over The Banner.
But the home side never allowed Limerick to find any rhythm and the lead was stretched to 0-8 to 0-3 within 10 minutes of the restart.
Indeed Limerick had to wait 15-minutes for their first score of the second half.
That kick-started a mini-revival with Ian Ryan, Pa Ranahan and Ger Collins kicking successive scores to leave just two points between the teams with 15-minutes to play.
But the fight back never reached full pace and a great score from Gary Brennan maintained the Clare advantage and late scores from Ryan, Collins and Stephen Kelly only put a gloss on a below par performance.
It always looked like Limerick would need a goal in the closing minutes to snatch the win but it never materialised.
Next up is Kilkenny on Saturday.
SCORERS - Limerick: Ian Ryan 0-5 (four frees), Ger Collins 0-2, Pa Ranahan, Stephen Kelly 0-1 each. Clare: David Tubridy 0-4 (four frees), Shane McGrath 0-2, Graham Kelly, Ger Quinlan, Micheal O’Shea, Gary Brennan 0-1 each.
Limerick - Brian Scanlon; Lorcan O’Dywer, Johnny McCarthy, Stephen Lavin; John Riordan, Stephen Lucey, Pa Ranahan; Seán Buckley, Barry Fitzpatrick; John Cooke, Eoghan O’Connor, James O’Meara; Ger Collins, Seamus O’Carrol, Ian Ryan. Subs: Stephen Kelly for James O’Meara (half time), Eoin Barry for Stephen Lucey (48 mins), Ian Corbett for John Cooke (57 mins), Graham O’Connell for Seamus O’Carroll (62mins).
CLARE - Joe Hayes; Barry Narnett, Shane McNeiles, Lawrence Healy; Martin McMahon, Gordan Kelly, John Hayes; Gary Brennan, Ger Quinlan; Rory Donnelly, David Tubridy, Graham Kelly; Alan Clohessy, Shane McGrath, Micheal O’Shea. Subs: Shane Brennan for Graham Kelly (45mins), Timmy Ryan for Rory Donnelly (57mins).
REFEREE - Brian Tyrell (Tipperary)