A fine second half performance wasn’t enough for the Limerick senior footballers this Saturday evening in the Munster SFC as Clare won out 0-15 to 0-13 in Ennis.
It’s now the Qualifiers on July 4 for John Brudair’s men as Clare advance to play Cork in the provincial semi final.
After trailing by five points at half time, Limerick never managed to get back level with one point the closest they came.
The opening half was a very much under par start for Limerick but were so lucky to be only five points down, 0-9 to 0-5.
In front of 4521 in Cusack Park, it was a half that saw Clare kicked seven wides, compared to just one for Limerick.
And, on top of that Brian Scanlon had to make a great fourth minute save to deny Shane Brennan a goal.
Never did Limerick get Clare on the back foot throughout the 35-minutes as The Banner dominated possession with Gary Brennan and Cathal O’Connor on top in midfield.
Indeed Limerick were to score just once from play in the half and that was in the second minute when corner back Robert Browne pointed.
After seven minutes it was 0-2 each with Browne and Ian Ryan (free) getting the Limerick points.
But then they were to go almost 20-minutes without a score as Clare took over.
Brennan brothers Shane and Gary had Clare points, while Podge Collins also got in on the act to open a 0-6 to 0-2 lead on 21-minutes.
A Brian Scanlon free halted the Clare scoring but it was only temporary.
Gary brennan soon had his tally up to four points in the half as Clare went 0-9 to 0-3 up with half time approaching.
In injury time Scanlon ended the half with a ‘45
From the off in the second half, Limerick were far improved.
They regrouped and positioned Gearoid Hegarty at full forward with Seanie Buckley and Darragh Treacy in midfield and subs Danny Neville and Cian Sheehan in attack.
Peter Nash and Stephen Cahill had points to up the ante.
Midway though the half it was 0-12 to 0-8 with another from Nash.
Then came the best from Limerick with Iain Corbett and Ian Ryan cutting the gap to just two points.
Then Cian Sheehan had just a point between the teams with 14-minutes to play.
But Clare found late scores, inspired by sub Cathal McInerney.
Still it was 0-14 to 0-13 entering injury time but there were no late dramatics for Limerick.
SCORERS: Limerick: Ian Ryan 0-4 (2frees), Brian Scanlon 0-3 (2 ‘45, 1free), Peter Nash 0-2, Robert Browne, Iain Corbett, Stephen Cahill, Cian Sheehan 0-1 each. Clare: Gary Brennan 0-4, Eoin Cleary, Rory Donnelly, Cathal McInerney (1free) 0-2 each, Shane Brennan, Cathal O’Connor (‘45)Podge Collins, Jamie Malone, Sean Collins 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: Brian Scanlon; Sean O’Dea, Johnny McCarthy, Robert Browne; Iain Corbett, Cillian Fahy, Stephen Cahill; Tom Lee, Gearoid Hegarty; John Riordan, Pa Ranahan, Darragh Treacy; Peter Nash, Seanie Buckley, Ian Ryan. Subs: Danny Neville for Tom Lee (36mins), Cian Sheehan for John Riordan (h-t), Kevin Moore for Pa Ranahan (55mins), Garrett Noonan for Robert Browne, inj (61mins).
CLARE: Joe Hayes; Ciaran Russell, Kevin Hartnett, Martin McMahon; Shane Hickey, Gordan Kelly, Dean Ryan; Gary Brennan, Cathal O’Connor; Sean Collins, Jamie Malone, Shane Brennan; Eoin Cleary, Podge Collins, Pat Burke. Subs: Stephen Collins for Shane Hickey (h-t), Rory Donnelly for Shane Brennan, inj (39mins), Davy O’Halloran for Jamie Malone, b-c (52mins), Cathal McInerney for Eoin Cleary (57mins), Chris Dunning for Stephen Collins, inj (65mins), Keelan Sexton for Pat Burke (69mins).
REFEREE: Derek O’Mahony (Tipperary).