LIMERICK’S U-21 hurlers were soundly beaten by Clare this Wednesday evening in the Gaelic Grounds, 2-20 to 1-14.
The reigning All Ireland champions turned on the style in the second half of this Munster championship quarter-final in front of 6,036 in the sunshine of the Gaelic Grounds.
The lead was only two points at the break but back-to-back champions Clare eased past the Limerick challenge in the second half to book a semi-final spot against Tipperary.
At half time Clare led 0-12 to 0-10 after playing with the aid of the freeze breeze into the city end terrace.
Clare had Jamie Shanahan, Shane Gleeson and Seadna Morey among their early scorers from play as they went 0-4 to 0-2 clear within eight minutes.
Limerick had captain Shane Dowling hit the opening three points.
It was the 10th minute when Pat Ryan had Limerick’s first point from play. It could very well have been a goal with Cian Lynch delivering into the goalmouth where his Patrickswell club-mate Kevin O’Brien teed up Ryan for a chance but his effort went over the bar.
That point had the sides level for the third time.
Tony Kelly and Aaron Cunningham stretched Clare back in front until Leaving Certificate student Cian Lynch hit back for a Limerick side managed by his uncle Ciaran Carey.
Bobby Duggan then came to the fore with four successive scores for Clare. That left it double scores 0-10 to 0-5 with seven minutes to the break.
Dowling settled Limerick with his latest pointed free and Mark Carmody followed up with a score from wing back.
Limerick were to finish the half on top with two more placed balls from Dowling a fine effort from Mike Fitzgibbon.
Jamie Shanahan and Tony Kelly set the ball rolling in the second half with early Clare scores.
Dan Morrissey and Darrag O’Donovan replied but then Clare took over.
Bobby Duggan, Colm Galvin and Shane Gleeson had them 0-17 to 0-12 clear entering the final quarter.
Then came their goals.
Aaron Cunnigham found the net in the 50th minute and in the 59th minute Peter Duggan rattled home to ease The Banner to the winning line.
There was a consolation goal for Limerick in injury time when Kevin O’Brien found the net after Pat Ryan’s initial shot was blocked.
But Limerick could have had earlier goals but for Keith Hogan denying O’Brien and sub Dean Coleman.
SCORERS: Limerick: Shane Dowling 0-8 (all frees), Kevin O’Brien 1-0, Pat Ryan, Cian Lynch, Mark Carmody, Mike Fitzgibbon, Dan Morrissey, Darragh O’Donovan 0-1 each. Clare: Bobby Duggan 0-8 (4frees), Peter Duggan and Aaron Cunningham 1-1 each, Tony Kelly 0-3, Jamie Shanahan, Colm Galvin, Shane Gleeson 0-2 each, Seadna Morey 0-1.
LIMERICK: Darragh Stapleton (Doon); Mark O’Callaghan (Knockaderry), Richie English (Doon), Shane Irwin (Bruff); Mark Carmody (Patrickswell), Diarmuid Byrnes (Patrickswell), Dan Morrissey (Ahane); William O’Donoghue (Na Piarsaigh), Cian Lynch (Patrickswell); Shane Dowling (Na Piarsaigh), David Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh), Mike Fitzgibbon (Feohanagh-Castlemahon); Liam O’Sullivan (Knockaderry), Kevin O’Brien (Patrickswell), Pat Ryan (Doon). Subs: Darragh O’Donovan (Doon) for William O’Donoghue (37mins), Dean Coleman (Doon) for Liam O’Sullivan (41mins), bryan Griffin (Ballybrown) for Mike Fitzgibbon (46mins),
CLARE: Keith Hogan (Clooney-Quin); Jarlath Colleran (St Josephs Doora-Barefield), Jack Browne (Ballyea), Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge); Jamie Shanahan (Sixmilebridge), Conor Cleary (Kilmaley), Gearoid O’Connell (Ballyea); Eoin Enright (Kilmaley), Colm Galvin (Clonlara); Shane Gleeson (Cratloe), Tony Kelly (Ballyea), Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin); Aaron Cunningham (Wolfe Tones), David Reidy (Eire Og), Bobby Duggan (Clarecastle). Subs: Shane McGrath (Feakle) for Shane Gleeson (53mins), Shane Taylor (Broadford) for Aaron Cunnigham, inj (56mins), Shane O’Brien (Clonlara) for Jarlath Collernan (56mins), Niall O’Connor (Newmarket on Fergus) for Gearoid O’Connell (60mins), Stephen Ward (Clarecastle) for Tony Kelly (61mins).
REFEREE: Johnny Ryan (Tipperary).