Clare qualified for the semi-final of the Oscar Traynor Trophy after getting the better of neighbours Limerick in an entertaining match at Pike Rovers ground on Sunday.
Oscar Traynor Trophy Quarter-Final
Limerick 1-2 Clare
It was a very open game throughout and the large attendance were treated to good attacking football, goalmouth drama, great defensive play and some great individual performances especially on the Clare side.
Clare had the first chance of the match when David McCarthy had an effort from outside the box go wide of the left post. Limerick had a great chance to go in front on 14 minutes when Paudie Quinn made a good run into the box and rounded Clare keeper Barry Ryan before shooting into what he thought was an empty net but somehow Conor Mullen got back on the line to make a brilliant clearance. Clare went close on 24 minutes when a corner from McCarthy was headed on by Stephen Kelly to Darryl Eade but he was denied by a good save from Gary Neville.
Another good Clare move on 26 minutes when Eade played a through ball to Eoin Hayes who made a strong run at the Limerick defence before hitting a good shot from the edge of the box that Neville saved and gathered at the second attempt under a lot of pressure from Colin Smyth. Hayes had another effort saved by Neville on 28 minutes when he got on the end of a Paddy Purcell free kick. Clare were lucky to survive on 30 minutes when Conor Mullen deflected a shot onto his own crossbar and the ball fell nicely to Mike O’Gorman six yards out but he was denied by a world class save from Barry Ryan.
Ryan was called on again on 31 minutes to make a good save from a Quinn effort from the edge of the box. Clare lost Mullen to injury and he was replaced by Brian Monaghan. Clare had the next chance in this end to end encounter when Corry linked up well with McCarthy on 37 minutes and hit a sweet effort from 25 yards that Neville did well to save. The last effort of the half came from Eoin Hanrahan for Limerick who hit a well struck effort from outside the box that Ryan did well to save onto the crossbar and Darren Murphy completed the clearance.
Donie Garrihy’s side started the second half brightly when Monaghan made a good run down the left wing and linked up well with Hayes who tormented the Limerick defence before Pa Mullins got back to make the block and clearance. Darren Murphy had to be sharp at the back for Clare on 53 minutes to make a great tackle in the box as Shane Clarke was about to pull the trigger. Paddy Purcell went close for Clare on 58 minutes when he got on the end of a McCarthy corner but his effort narrowly went wide of the left post.
Limerick were next to threaten from a set piece when a well delivered corner from Hanrahan was headed clear by Darryl Eade under a lot of pressure. Clarke went close again for Limerick on 62 minutes as Ryan had to be sharp off his line to deny him with a good clearance. A good Clare move on 66 minutes led to the first goal of the game when Monaghan again linked up well with Hayes and this time as Hayes got some space in the box he was fouled and Clare had a penalty. Hayes dusted himself down and buried the chance to give Clare the lead in this absorbing encounter.
Clare brought on Joe Collins for David McCarthy and on 69 minutes Collins got some space 30 yards from goal and let fly with a great strike that went all the way into the bottom left corner through the hands of Neville and Limerick now had a mountain to climb with just over 20 minutes on the clock. Clare were now full of confidence and dominated possession for the next 20 minutes.
Newmarket man Hayes picked up a ball on the half way line on 75 minutes and made a great run through the Limerick defence before unleashing a fine effort from the edge of the box that Neville did very well to save, had it gone in it would surely have been talked about for years to come but credit Neville on a very good save. Clare went close again 78 minutes when Colin Smyth made a good run into the box and found Collins in space but his effort was saved by Neville.
Smyth and Collins combined well again on 82 minutes but yet again Neville was in the right place to make another good save. Limerick pulled a goal back in injury time when Shane Clarke struck a sweet free kick from the edge of the box but it was only a consolation goal at that stage as Clare deservedly advance to their third semi-final in a row in this prestigious competition.
Clare: Barry Ryan (Tulla Utd), Conor Mullen (Avenue Utd), Eoin Whelan (Tulla Utd), Darren Murphy (Bridge Utd), Paddy Purcell (Newmarket Celtic)(Captain), Darryl Eade (Ennis Town), Stephen Kelly (Newmarket Celtic), Colin Smyth (Newmarket Celtic), David McCarthy (Newmarket Celtic), Eoin Hayes (Newmarket Celtic), Daragh Corry (Tulla Utd). Subs: Brian Monaghan (Newmarket Celtic) for Mullen (inj), Joe Collins (Ennis Town) for McCarthy, Alan Kelly (Newmarket Celtic) for Corry (inj)
Subs Not Used: Darren Whelan (Shannon Town), Arek Mamala (Coole FC), Colin Nelson (Tulla Utd), Enda Craddock (Coole FC), Mark Roche (Avenue Utd), Cathal McConigley (Sporting Ennistymon)
Limerick: Gary Neville, Danny O’Neill, Jonathan Hannafin, Pa Mullins, Thomas Clarke, John Tierney, John Connery, Mike O’Gorman, Shane Clarke, Paudie Quinn, Eoin Hanrahan. Subs: Shane Waters for Connery, AJ O’Connor for Thomas Clarke
Officials: Owen Moynihan, Stuart Templeman and Anthony Morrison (Kerry)