A final minute point from former Limerick FC soccer player Brian Donnellan gave Clare a 2-13 to 1-15 win over Limerick in an absorbing Waterford Crystal Cup quarter-final replay in the Gaelic Grounds on Tuesday night.
Seventy two hours earlier over 100 minutes of hurling had failed to find a winner and on this occasion, in front of 1,700 spectators the sides were level on eight occasions.
As was the case in the drawn game, Limerick were slow to settle. Tony Carmody set Clare on their way with a 1-1 return inside four minutes. Indeed the big attacker was to cause constant trouble for the Limerick full back line and later in the opening half he turned provider when Ross Horan had their second goal.
Backed by the wind, Limerick did reply to the early onslaught with Declan Hannon again leading the way.
Micheal Ryan – one of six changes from the drawn game – had Limerick’s opening score of the night. The Murroe-Boher man’s pacy direct style was to pay dividend and earned a number of frees on the night.
Midway through the half Limerick had hit the front with Mark Carmody and Niall Moran working hard to intercept a short puckout and a point from the Patrickswell teenager had Limerick 0-6 to 1-2 clear.
Clare hit back with three successive frees but when Hannon did likewise, Limerick were 0-9 to 1-5 ahead with 10-minutes to play.
But Horan’s goal had Clare ahead at the break, 2-6 to 0-10.
Half time sub Donal O’Grady and Hannon (free) had Limerick level amost immediately after the restart.
But then four successive scores from placed balls put Clare back on top and as in the drawn tie Limerick were struggling in attack.
Then from an unlikely source Limerick found a goal when Brian Geary stretched to flick one handed to the net after James Ryan soloed forward. The big Monaleen man was deployed at full forward during his stay on the park, before picking up a slight injury.
But Limerick could only add another point from Hannon and a total of 11 wides was to prove costly.
Clare now play Waterford in the semi-final next weekend while Limerick have over two weeks until their next competitive game. They play Clare again on Saturday, February 25, under lights in the Gaelic Grounds in the opening round of the Allianz Hurling League Division 1B.
SCORERS – Limerick: Declan Hannon 0-9 (four frees, two ’65s), Brian Geary 1-0, Micheal Ryan 0-2, Mark Carmody, Graeme Mulcahy, Donal O’Grady, David Moloney 0-1 each. Clare: Padraig Hickey 0-6 (five frees, one ‘65), Tony Carmody 1-1, John Conlon, Brian Donnellan 0-2 each, James McInerney (free), Colm Galvin 0-1 each.
LIMERICK- Aaron Murphy; Stephen Walsh, Tom Condon, Shane O’Neill; Bryan O’Sullivan, Gavin O’Mahony, David Moloney; James Ryan, Tomas Ryan, Declan Hannon, Niall Maher, Graeme Mulcahy; Mark Carmody, Niall Moran, Micheal Ryan. Subs: Brian Geary for Niall Moran (22mins), Mike Carr for Bryan O’Sullivan (h-t), Donal O’Grady for Tomas Ryan (h-t), Eamonn Gleeson for Brian Geary (55mins), Kyle Loftus for Niall Maher (66mins).
CLARE – Derek Fahy; Seadna Morey, Cian Dillon, Mark Earley; Ciaran O’Doherty, James McInerney, Stephen O’Halloran; Colm Galvin, Bryan Donnellan; Danny Russell, John Conlon, Jonathan Clancy; Tony Carmody, Ross Hoan, Padraig Hickey. Subs: Peter Duggan for Danny Russell (37mins), Aaron Cunnigham for Padraig Hickey (60mins), Patrick Donnellan for Ciaran O’Doherty (62mins), Fergal Lynch for Ross Horan (67mins),
REFEREE – Diarmuid Kirwan (Cork).
- SEE THIS WEEK’S PRINT EDITION OF THE LIMERICK LEADER FOR MORE REACTION AND ANALYSIS ON THIS GAME