FROM the memorable classic in the Gaelic Grounds in 1996 to the Croke Park meltdown in 2013, Jerome O’Connell looks back on the recent Limerick-Clare clashes.
2013 All Ireland SHC semi final
Limerick 0-18, Clare 1-22
The ambush was complete.
Limerick supporters travelled to Croke Park in their thousands amid huge expectancy but returned with shattered dreams. On the back of a first Munster SHC since 1996, Limerick arrived in GAA Headquarters seeking a first All-Ireland final appearance since 2007.
Confidence was high with wins over Tipperary and Cork, but coming through the back door was an ever improving Clare that played five games to reach the All Ireland semi-final. From the off, Clare ran Limerick ragged. There was none of the assured play that captured the provincial final. Instead,they were jittery and looked nervous.
”You can use the excuse of the five weeks but no...it was worse before the Munster final. Understandably you might say that people were thinking ahead of themselves and saying the final would be a rematch with Cork and a song comes out but I think the players kept their distance from that so I wouldn’t use that as an excuse,” said captain Donal O’Grady afterwards.
SCORERS: Limerick: Shane Dowling 0-6 (5free, ‘65), Paul Browne, Declan Hannon (2frees), Gavin O’Mahony (1 lineball) 0-2 each, Conor Allis, James Ryan, Graeme Mulcahy, David Breen, Tom Ryan, Kevin Downes 0-1 each. Clare: Colin Ryan 0-11 (9frees), Tony Kelly 0-4, Podge Collins 0-3, Darach Honan 1-0, Patrick Donnellan, Patrick O’Connor, Colm Galvin, Cathal McInerney 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: Nickie Quaid; Stephen Walsh, Richie McCarthy, Tom Condon; Paudie O’Brien, Wayne McNamara, Gavin O’Mahony; Paul Browne, Donal O’Grady; David Breen, James Ryan, Seamus Hickey; Graeme Mulcahy, Declan Hannon, Sean Tobin. Subs: Conor Allis for Seamus Hickey, inj (14mins), Shane Dowling for Sean Tobin (31mins), Niall Moran for Declan Hannon (50mins), Tom Ryan for Conor Allis (55mins), Kevin Downes for David Breen (62mins).
CLARE: Patrick Kelly; Domhnaill O’Donovan, Cian Dillon, David McInerney; Brendan Bugler, Patrick Donnellan, Patrick O’Connor; Colm Galvin, Conor Ryan; John Conlon, Tony Kelly, Colin Ryan; Podge Collins, Darach Honan, Conor McGrath. Subs: Fergal Lynch for John Conlon (43mins), Cathal McInerney for Darach Honan (62mins), Nicky O’Connell for Colm Galvin (66mins), Shane O’Donnell for Conor McGrath (69mins).
REFEREE: Johnny Ryan (Tipperary).
2012 All Ireland SHC Qualifier
Limerick 3-18, Clare 1-20
For the first time since 1994 the Limerick senior hurlers have got three knockout championship wins in succession.
At the fifth time of asking this season, Limerick have won a Shannonside derby and are back in the All Ireland senior hurling championship quarter-final.
Defeats to Clare in the Waterford Crystal Cup and Allianz League were cast aside as Limerick demonstrated that the goals that followed against Laois and Antrim in the previous rounds have not dried up.
At the final whistle of this end-to-end, high octane, high tension knockout game the sides had shared 42 scores. Since last February John Allen has preached that his side needed to find a killer instinct and it was the three goals that proved the difference as Limerick took their tally to 17 goals in their three game unbeaten run.
“The second half we were heroic – I used the word against Tipp but again today there were fellas all over the field that worked like trojans and that’s what it came down to - we wanted it a bit more maybe,” said Limerick manager John Allen afterwards.
SCORERS: Limerick: Shane Dowling 0-8 (all frees), Niall Moran 0-5, Sean Tobin 1-1, Wayne McNamara, Declan Hannon 1-0 each, Graeme Mulcahy 0-2, Gavin O’Mahony (free), Kevin Downes 0-1 each. Clare: Conor McGrath 0-6 (4frees), Tony Kelly 1-2 (1-1frees), Nicky O’Connell 0-4 (3frees, ‘65), Colm Galvin 0-3, John Conlon 0-2, Aaron Cunningham, Brendan Bugler, Patrick Donnellan 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: Nickie Quaid; Stephen Walsh, Richie McCarthy, Tom Condon; Wayne McNamara, Donal O’Grady, Gavin O’Mahony; James Ryan, Paudie O’Brien; Shane Dowling, Brian Geary, David Breen; Graeme Mulcahy, Niall Moran, Sean Tobin. Subs: Declan Hannon for Geary (28mins), Kevin Downes for Tobin (59mins), Shane O’Neill for Condon, inj (59mins), Seamus Hickey for Ryan (61mins), Tom Ryan for Mulcahy (69mins).
CLARE: Patrick Kelly; Domhnall O’Donovan, Cian Dillon, Seadna Morey; Brendan Bugler, Patrick Donnellan, Nicky O’Connell; Colm Galvin, Sean Collins; Fergal Lynch, John Conlon, Tony Kelly; Aaron Cunningham, Darach Honan, Conor McGrath. Subs: Liam Markham for Collins (49mins), Colin Ryan for Cunningham (63mins), Jonathan Clancy for Honan (64mins).
REFEREE: Brian Gavin (Offaly).
2008 Munster SHC semi final
Limerick 1-16, Clare 4-12
THIS Limerick five point defeat to Clare was down to the concession of four soft goals.
While Clare were earthy, physical and real Limerick, featuring fine performances from Niall Moran, Ollie Moran, Mike O’Brien, Damien Reale and Donal O’Grady, for long periods looking the better hurling team, but a lack of sharpness cost Richie Bennis’ side dear.
Facing a gale Limerick led 04 to 02 in the 14th minute when Brian Murray allowed a long range Pat Vaughan delivery to squirt by him. The second goal arrived 13 minutes later when Mark Foley and Seamus Hickey failed to gather possession and Jonathan Clancy raced in behind the Limerick cover to help himself to another goal. By the time the third goal arrived Limerick were within two points of the Banner ( 110 to 29) when Stephen Lucey and Seamus Hickey jumped for the same ball. The sliotar then broke to an unmarked Tony Carmody who drew Brian Murray before passing to Barry Nugent who made no mistake from close range. The fourth materialised three minutes later when Colin Lynch lobbed a hopeful ball toward Diarmuid McMahon on the edge of the square. McMahon, at his ease, caught the ball over Paudie O’Dwyer’s head before blasting another three pointer. All four Clare goals were avoidable, but symptomatic of Limerick’s poor general performance.
“We were very sloppy, in the second half especially we were caught ball watching. It was all down to the four sloppy goals that we conceded we were caught ball watching and that was it. They are killers and they give Clare the momentum to go forward,” said Limerick manager Richie Bennis at the final whistle.
“Against the breeze we looked good and were 0-4 to 0-2 ahead and we conceded two very sloppy goals and then in the second half we brought them back to two points and with 15 minutes to go, we again conceded two more sloppy goals. We are very disappointed I can’t describe how I feel - we put an awful lot of work into this team and this game and nothing went right for us. I am not making excuses, the better team won on the day and that’s that,” said Bennis.
SCORERS: Limerick: Andrew O’Shaughnessy 0-6 (5frees), Niall Moran 0-5, Ollie Moran 1-1, Damien Reale, Mike O’Brien, Donal O’Grady and Donie Ryan 0-1 each. Clare: Jonathan Clancy 1-2, Barry Nugent 1-1, Pat Vaughan 1-0, Diarmuid McMahon 1-0, Niall Gilligan (2frees), Mark Flaherty (3frees) 0-3 each, Tony Carmody 0-2, Colin Lynch 0-1.
LIMERICK: Brian Murray, Damien Reale, Stephen Lucey, Mark O’Riordan, Seamus Hickey, Paudie O’Dwyer, Mark Foley (captain), Mike O’Brien, Donal O’Grady, Mike Fitzgerald, Ollie Moran, Niall Moran, Andrew O’Shaughnessy, Sean O’Connor, Donnacha Sheehan. Subs: Donie Ryan for Donnacha Sheehan (40mins), Barry Foley for Mike Fitzgerald (54mins), Pat Tobin for Sean O’Connor (58mins).
CLARE: Philip Brennan, Gerry O’Grady, Frank Lohan, Pat Vaughan, Brendan Bugler, Conor Plunkett, Patrick Donnellan, Brian O’Connell (captain), Colin Lynch, Tony Carmody, Diarmuid McMahon, Jonathan Clancy, Tony Griffin, Niall Gilligan, Mark Flaherty. Subs: Declan O’Rourke for Tony Griffin (22mins), Barry Nugent for Mark Flaherty (48mins), Gerry Quinn for Conor Plunkett (67mins), Fergal Lynch for Diarmuid McMahon (72mins).
REFEREE: Eamonn Morris (Dublin).
2007 All Ireland SHC quarter final
Limerick 1-23, Clare 1-16
Limerick gained revenge on Clare for last year’s 17-point defeat in the qualifiers as they booked their place in the All-Ireland SHC semi-finals.
Andrew O’Shaughnessy was Limerick’s scoring hero with 0-11 as Richie Bennis’ side dominated long stretches of the Croke Park clash.
Clare were 0-11 to 0-07 behind at half-time and conceded a 38th-minute goal to Donie Ryan. A Diarmuid McMahon goal helped cut the gap to three points for the Banner but Limerick finished the better by scoring four of the game’s final five points.
Limerick, were forced to alter the team they selected during the week with Peter Lawlor falling victim to the ‘flu and Mark O’Riordan regaining his place at right half-back.
The tactic of directing diagonal balls into O’Shaughnessy in the right corner was Limerick’s favoured line of attack as the Kilmallock ace got the better of his marker.
Two minutes into the second half, Limerick grabbed their goal and it was an opportunistic strike from substitute Donie Ryan.
Critically for Clare, their full-back Frank Lohan slipped as Ollie Moran hand passed the sliotar forward, Limerick seized their chance as Brian Begley dribbled forward before the ball fell invitingly for Garryspillane’s Ryan to lash a ground shot to Philip Brennan’s net.
SCORERS: Limerick: Andrew O’Shaughnessy 0-11 (6frees), Donie Ryan 1-2, Mike Fitzgerald 0-4, Kevin Tobin 0-2, Donal O’Grady, Ollie Moran, Barry Foley and James O’Brien 0-1 each. Clare: Niall Gillihan 0-5 (5frees), Diarmuid McMahon 1-1, Jonathan Clancy and Declan O’Rourke 0-3 each, Colin Lynch and Brendan Bugler 0-2 each.
LIMERICK: Brian Murray; Damien Reale (captain), Stephen Lucey, Seamus Hickey; Mark O’Riordan, Brian Geary, Mark Foley; Donal O’Grady, Mike O’Brien; Mike Fitzgerald, Ollie Moran, Niall Moran; Andrew O’Shaughnessy, Brian Begley, Kevin Tobin. Subs: Donie Ryan for Niall Moran (27mins), Gavin O’Mahony for Mike O’Brien (35, blood sub), James O’Brien for Kevin Tobin (49mins), Barry Foley for Mike Fitzgerald (56mins), Peter Lawlor for O’Brien (67mins)
CLARE: Philip Brennan; Gerry O’Grady, Frank Lohan (captain), Kevin Dilleen; Gerry Quinn, Brendan Bugler, Alan Markham; Brian O’Connell, Colin Lynch; Declan O’Rourke, Diarmuid McMahon, Jonathan Clancy; Niall Gilligan, Barry Nugent, Bernard Gaffney. Subs: Daithi O’Connell for Bernard Gaffney (h-t), Fergal Lynch for Barry Nugent (43mins).
REFEREE: Michael Wadding (Waterford).
2006 All Ireland SHC Qualifier
Limerick 0-10, Clare 2-21
Not a good day at the office for Limerick hurling.
Having enjoyed a successful start to the season, qualified for the National League final, performed well against Kilkenny, a lot was expected from Limerick in the championship this year, both inside and outside the county.
But it wasn’t to be.
It started five weeks previous in Munster. It wasn’t just the four-point loss to Tipperary, it was the poor performance all round.
This game was a chance of redemption, and, according to retiring manager Joe McKenna, everything looked good in the build-up.
“Things couldn’t have been better in the camp ... The first two weeks after the match against Tipperary they were down, but we went away last weekend and it was very successful, they were really flying. We expected to beat Clare, but it just didn’t happen.”
Many will remember the game in Ennis for a host of Limerick changes. They had made four changes in personnel from the starting 15 for the Tipperary game, A late fifth change was enforced, with the loss through injury of captain and full-back TJ Ryan. Kieran Breen of Na Piarsaigh replaced the captain at full back. Among ten positional switches from the announced line-up, regular centre-back Brian Geary was shifted to centre-forward in a direct swap with Stephen Lucey.
Limerick conceded 2-7 in the first-half and the second half didn’t get another better.
SCORERS: Limerick: Mark Keane 0-4 (4frees), Barry Foley 0-2 (2frees), Mark O’Brien, Mark Foley (‘65), Niall Moran and Willie Walsh 0-1 each. Clare: Tony Griffin 1-5, Declan O’Rourke 1-3, Niall Gilligan 0-4 (1free), Jonathan Clancy 0-3, Barry Nugent 0-2, Fergal Lynch, Derek Quinn (free), Brian O’Connell, Alan Markham, 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: Brian Murray; Mark O’Riordan, Kieran Breen, Damien Reale; Seamus Hickey, Stephen Lucey, Mark Foley; Ollie Moran, Conor Fitzgerald; Mike O’Brien, Brian Geary, Donie Ryan (captain); Andrew O’Shaughnessy, Brian Begley, Barry Foley. Subs: Mark Keane for Brian Geary (25mins); Timmy Houlihan for Brian Murray (35mins); Niall Moran for Barry Foley (35mins); Paul O’Grady for Mike Fitzgerald (48mins); Donal O’Grady for Andrew O’Shaughnessy (54mins).
CLARE: Davy Fitzgerald; Gerry O’Grady, Brian Lohan, Frank Lohan; Brian O’Connell, Seanie McMahon, Gerry Quinn; Jonathan Clancy, Colin Lynch; Declan O’Rourke, Tony Carmody, Diarmuid McMahon; Niall Gilligan, Alan Markham, Tony Griffin. Subs: Fergal Lynch for Tony Carmody (45mins); Derek. Quinn for Gilligan, inj (47mins); Barry Nugent for Diarmuid McMahon (54mins); Daithi O’Connell for Alan Markham (60mins); David Hoey for Gerry Quinn (63mins).
REFEREE: Seamus Roche (Tipperary).
1996 Munster SHC semi final
Limerick 1–13, Clare 0–15
A sweltering hot day in the Gaelic Grounds that will always be remembered for Ciaran Carey’s winning point to dethrone the All Ireland champions.
“We didn’t hurl as well as Clare but we never gave up. The heat was stifling - almost too much to bear - and it increased the pace of the ball,” gasped Limerick manager Tom Ryan after the epic win over Ger Loughnane’s side.
This week Cian Lynch, a nephew of Ciaran Carey’s bought a fresh perspective on one of hurling’s icon passages of play.
“Back in ’96, the mother always tells a great story, Ciaran got a point against Clare to win the match. I was only born in ’96 and I was on her breast and she threw me up. She forgot to catch me! I don’t remember that!” he joked to the gathered media at the launch of the All Ireland U-21 hurling championships.
“I have watched it over and over again. Micheal O Muircheartaigh’s commentary makes it. It’s brilliant,” said Lynch of his uncle’s point.
SCORERS: Limerick: Gary Kirby 1–7, Barry Foley 0–2, Mike Galligan, TJ Ryan, Ciaran Carey, Mike Houlihan 0–1 each. Clare: Jamesie O’Connor 0–5, Seanie McMahon 0–3, Fergie Tuohy 0–3, Ger O’Loughlin and Eamonn Taaffe 0–2 each.
LIMERICK: Joe Quaid; Steve McDonogh, Mike Nash, Declan Nash, Dave Clarke, Ciaran Carey, Mark Foley; Sean O’Neill, Mike Houlihan; Shane O’Neill, Gary Kirby, Mike Galligan, Owen O’Neill, Padraig Tobin, TJ Ryan. Subs: Frank Carroll for Sean O’Neill (42mins), Barry Foley for Shane O’Neill (50mins), Brian Tobin for Mike Galligan (61mins).
CLARE: Davy Fitzgerald; Mike O’Hallloran, Brian Lohan, Frank Lohan; Liam Doyle, Seanie McMahon, Anthony Daly; Ollie Baker, Fergal Hegarty; Fergie Tuohy, PJ O’Connell, Jamesie O’Connor; Stephen McNamara, Conor Clancy, Ger O’Loughlin. Subs: Eamonn Taaffe for Conor Clancy (h-t), Ronan O’Hara for PJ O’Connell (48mins).
REFEREE: Willie Barrett (Tipperary).