Limerick footballers make winning start to 2020 season with Clare win in McGrath Cup

Jerome O'Connell in Mick Neville Park

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Jerome O'Connell in Mick Neville Park

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joconnell@limerickleader.ie

Limerick footballers make winning start to 2020 season with Clare win in McGrath Cup

Limerick's Paul Maher clears out of defence

THE Limerick senior footballers made a winning start to their 2020 season with a 0-14 to 2-6 win over Clare in the McGrath Cup this Sunday.

Billy Lee's Limerick scored four of the last five points to ensure the Mick Neville Park victory over The Banner.

Limerick now journey to Fraher Field in Dungarvan on Thursday January 2 to play Waterford in the knowledge that another win would see the men in green into the final of the early season provincial competition.

It was a game where Limerick gave a first ever senior start to Bob Childs (Galtee Gaels), while there were also debuts for Darren O'Doherty (Newcastle West) and Ryan Glynn (Bruff) as second half substitutes.

The game was level at half time - Limerick 0-6 Clare 1-3.

It was a half where Clare failed to score from play and had five wides, compared to just two for the home side. Limerick were to finish with five wides and Clare 10.

Defenders Iain Corbett and Tony McCarthy had the game's opening scores for Limerick and it took Clare 12-minutes to open their account.

On 23-minutes Clare were ahead when Keelan Sexton goaled from a penalty after Donal O'Sullivan appeared to be harshly penalised for a foul on Eoin Cleary.

Limerick were soon level with a Jamie Lee free. Lee had four points in the half - his third a fine score from play.

In the second half, points from Cillian Fahy (2), Adrian Enright and Seamus O'Carroll moved Limerick 0-10 to 1-3 ahead with 13-minutes gone in the new half.

Then came another Clare goal and another for Sexton - this time from play. It was the first score from play in the game for Clare with 50-minutes played.

When sub Aidan Davidson kicked a score from a mark, Clare were ahead, 2-6 to 0-10, and just under 10-minutes remaining.

A Lee free ended 16-minutes without a Limerick score to tie up the game for the fifth time with six minutes remaining.

Limerick then finished on top with Danny Neville (mark) and Lee points.

Donal O'Sullivan had to come to Limerick's rescue with two fine saves in injury time before it fell to Corbett to end the game's scoring after seven minutes of injury time.

SCORERS: Limerick: Jamie Lee 0-6 (4frees), Iain Corbett and Cillian Fahy 0-2 each, Tony McCarthy, Adrian Enright, Seamus O’Carroll and Danny Neville (m) 0-1 each. Clare: Keelan Sexton 2-1 (1-0pen, 0-1free), Eoin Cleary 0-3 (3frees), Aidan Davidson (m) and Pearse Lillis 0-1 each.

LIMERICK: Donal O’Sullivan; Brian Fanning, Luke Murphy, Paul Maher; Bob Childs, Iain Corbett, Tony McCarthy; Tommy Griffin, Adrian Enright; Padraig de Brun, Cillian Fahy, Seamus O’Carroll; Jamie Lee, Patrick Begley, Danny Neville. Subs: Garrett Noonan for Paul Maher, inj (30mins), Hugh Bourke for Patrick Begley, inj (h-t), Josh Ryan for Tommy Griffin (54mins), Darren O’Doherty for Brian Fanning, inj (56mins), Ryan Glynn for Padraig de Brun (63mins).

CLARE: Stephen Ryan; Ciaran Morrissey, Kevin Harnett, Eoghan Collins; Dean Ryan, Pearse Lillis, Conal O’hAinifein; Ciaran Russell, Cathal O’Connor; Cillian Rouine, Eoin Cleary, Ciaran Downes; Martin O’Leary, Joe McGann, Keelan Sexton. Subs: Aidan Davidson for Martin O’Leary (44mins), Emmet McMahon for Ciaran Downes (48mins), Cian O’Dea for Eoghan Collins (51mins), Darren O’Neill for Joe McGann (54mins), Dale Masterson for Cillian Rouine (58mins).

REFEREE: Conor Lane (Cork).