Cian Lynch evades Clare and Cratloe duo Podge Collins and Diarmuid Ryan
LIMERICK and Clare played out a thrilling draw in the Allianz Hurling League in Ennis this Sunday to warm the hearts of both Shannonside supporters.
It finished Limerick 1-14 Clare 2-11 in Cusack Park.
The result ensures Limerick finish top of Division 1A and will play Laois in the quarter finals - a toss for home advantage.
The first half was played in constant snow and the second half in constant rain on a bitterly cold day in Ennis.
Watched by 8409, Limerick were 1-7 to 0-6 ahead at half time.
Clare were fastest from the blocks with Tony Kelly and Shane Golden points from distance but the home side were to score just once more from play in the remaining 30-odd minutes in the half.
Limerick's opening score was a goal - eight minutes into the tie Gearoid Hegarty thundered a low drive to the net after he had intercepted an attempted clearance.
Limerick had lost Sean Finn to injury but two frees from Aaron Gillane had the men in green 1-2 to 0-3 ahead at the mid-point of the half.
Former Ardscoil Ris Harty Cup Diarmuid Ryan hit back with a Clare point.
Kyle Hayes had the best of the first half points in the 18th minute - the Young Hurler of the Year finishing after fine play between Hegarty and Declan Hannon.
Limerick were now 1-3 to 0-4 ahead but back-to-back Peter Duggan frees then had the game level for the only time in the half.
Clare weren't to score for the final 10-minutes.
Paddy O'Loughlin and Peter Casey scores from play as well as points from placed balls were to ensure the four point interval Limerick lead.
It was a half where Limerick hit just one wide, while Clare had three - all from Duggan frees.
Clare had the ideal start to the second half when Shane Golden soloed easily through the middle to slip the sliothar into the net past the advancing Nickie Quaid.
Gary Cooney fired over within 30-seconds and the game was level for just the second half.
The Limerick response was impressive with four successive points to lead 1-11 to 1-7 after 12-minutes of the new half - two Gillane frees and two from play from Peter Casey pushing Limerick four clear again.
This spell also saw a Limerick penalty saved by Donal Tuohy - Gillane was fouled and took the penalty but his drive was diverted away by the Clare goalkeeper.
Clare went 16-minutes without a score, which came to an end with a Duggan free to leave three points between the sides entering the final quarter.
Then it was Limerick's turn to hit a barren patch and Clare battled back with a run of three points - Ryan either side of Duggan frees.
With 10-minutes to play it was Limerick 1-11, Clare 1-10.
Then came the Clare goal - Duggan finishing after Golden created the opportunity. Clare two points up with six minutes to play.
Finally after 18-minutes Limerick returned to the scoresheet when Gillane pointed a free in response.
Duggan and Gillane exchanged pointed free and as the game entered five minutes of injury time, Clare were a point ahead.
In the fifth minute of injury time a Gillane free levelled.
SCORERS: Limerick: Aaron Gillane 0-8 (8frees), Peter Casey 0-3, Gearoid Hegarty 1-0, Kyle Hayes, Colin Ryan ('65) and Paddy O'Loughlin 0-1 each. Clare: Peter Duggan 1-6 (0-6frees), Shane Golden 1-1, Diarmuid Ryan 0-2, Tony Kelly and Gary Cooney 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: Nickie Quaid; Tom Condon, Sean Finn, Richie English; Paddy O'Loughlin, Declan Hannon, Dan Morrissey; Cian Lynch, Colin Ryan; Gearoid Hegarty, Kyle Hayes, Tom Morrissey; Aaron Gillane, Seamus Flanagan, Peter Casey. Subs: William O'Meara for Sean Finn, inj (6mins), Darragh O'Donovan for Colin Ryan (49mins), Graeme Mulcahy for Seamus Flanagan (59mins), David Dempsey for Gearoid Hegarty (62mins), Shane Dowling for Tom Morrissey (65mins).
CLARE: Donal Tuohy; Rory Hayes, David McInerney, Jack Browne; Patrick O'Connor, Conor Cleary, David Fitzgerald; Shane Golden, Colm Galvin; Peter Duggan, Tony Kelly, Diarmuid Ryan; Ian Galvin, Niall Deasy, Podge Collins. Subs: Gary Cooney for Ian Galvin (35mins), Oisin O'Brien for David McInerney (h-t), Cathal Malone for Patrick O'Connor (51mins), Aidan McCarthy for Niall Deasy (56mins), Aron Shanagher for Diarmuid Ryan (65mins).
REFEREE: Paud O'Dwyer (Carlow).
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