THE Limerick senior footballers have opened their 2013 account with a victory thanks to a 2-16 to 2-13 win over Clare
Sunday’s extra-time victory in Foynes was the first opening day win since 2010, when Limerick beat Colleges side Waterford IT at the same stage of the McGrath Cup.
The win over Clare books a semi-final spot away to Kerry next weekend, with Tipperary playing Waterford in the other semi-final of the early season provincial competition.
The three point win over Mick O’Dwyer’s Clare ends The Banner’s winning streak over Limerick after the men in Saffron and Blue won both encounter’s last year – in the league and championship.
For long periods it looked like Clare were once again going to get one over on their Shannonside neighbours.
Limerick needed an injury-time goal from Seamus O’Carroll to force extra-time. Entering the final 10-minutes, Clare were 2-10 to 1-8 clear.
It was a strong Limerick team with Cian Coady (Na Piarsaigh) and Bobby O’Brien (Bruff) handed opportunties to impress with starters. Darragh Treacy, Derry O’Connor, Mike Sheehan and Danny Neville were among the fresh faces to see action during the game.
Playing with the wind from the off, Limerick looked sharp and led 0-6 to 0-4 after 18 minutes.
Inside forward duo Ger Collins and Ian Ryan had helped themselves to two points each and Limerick looked to be moving well.
Then all went wrong and Clare began to dominate. Indeed Limerick failed to score for the final 17-minutes of the first half and it was Clare that led 1-7 to 0-6 at the break with Podge McMahon just about getting a fist to a cross-field ball in the 27th minute to divert to the net.
McMahon’s second goal three minutes after the restart had Clare in command, 2-7 to 0-6.
Limerick used their subsutitues bench and it finally had the desired result with a 57th minute goal from Ian Ryan bringing the home side to life. That left it 2-9 to 1-8 with 13-minutes to play.
Clare will rue their 11-wides and a lack of concentration that allowed Limerick to garner momentum in the final quarter.
Captain for the day, in a game played in his home pitch, Ian Ryan added two frees to his goal and Limerick were now chasing an equaliser.
It came in injury-time when O’Carroll kicked to the net after a goalmouth scramble.
In extra-time Limerick played with the wind in the first 10-minute period and sub Derry O’Connor kicked two fine points to inspire those around him. Ryan and O’Carroll added points as Limerick led 2-14 to 2-12.
Limerick were now on top with subs Darragh Treacy and Mike Sheehan doing well and Clare’s chances were at a minimum.
Eoghan O’Connor and Ryan (free) sealed the win and progress in the competition for the first time in three years.
SCORERS - Limerick: Ian Ryan 1-7 (0-4 frees), Seamus O’Carroll 1-3 (0-2 ’45s), Derry O’Connor, Ger Collins, Eoghan O’Connor 0-2 each. Clare: Podge McMahon 2-1, David Tubridy 0-5 (two frees), Alan Clohessy (one free), I McInerney (all frees) 0-3 each, Gary Brennan 0-1.
LIMERICK - Brian Scanlon; Cian Coady, Johnny McCarthy, Mark O’Riordan; Stephen Lavin, Paudie Browne, Pa Ranahan; Thomas Lee, Bobby O’Brien; John Riordan, James O’Meara, Seamus O’Carroll; Eoghan O’Connor, Ger Collins, Ian Ryan. Subs: Derry O’Connor for O’Meara (h-t), Darragh Treacy for Lee (50mins), Mike Sheehan for O’Riordan (54mins), Stephen Kelly for Collins (57mins), Lorcan O’Dwyer for Coady (61mins), Danny Neville for Lavin (11mins, e-t).
CLARE - Joe Hayes; Stephen Collins, Chris Dixon, Declan Callinan; Sean Haugh, Gordan Kelly, Martin McMahon; Gary Brennan, Cathal O’Connor; Shane McGrath, Ian McInerney, Alan Clohessy; Podge McMahon, Conor Talty, David Tubridy. Subs: Chris Dunning for Talty (12mins), Mark McCarthy for McMahon (38mins), Niall Kelly for Clohessy (51mins), Thomas Downes for Haugh (70mins), Francie Hayes for McGrath (71mins), Shane Ryan for McCarthy (h-t, e-t), Ger Quinlan for O’Connor (15mins, e-t).
REFEREE - Padraig O’Sullivan (Kerry).