Clare secured their place in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship quarter-finals for the first time since 2013 as they held on for victory over Limerick.
Venue: Semple Stadium.
A strong first half display was enough for Davy Fitzgerald’s side to see past the challenge of Limerick on Saturday evening. TJ Ryan’s men started the better and held a 0-05 0-02 lead with fifteen minutes on the clock as Kevin Downes, Darragh O’Donovan and Shane Dowling got the pick of the scores.
Remarkably Clare would keep their opponents scoreless for the final twenty minutes of the first half while hitting nine points of their own. Podge Collins and Shane O’Donnell added three and two points respectively from play in this period as David McInerney and Tony Kelly hit one each to have the scoreboard reading 0-11 0-05 in Clare’s favour at the break.
Limerick as always refused to lie down and forced their way back into proceedings narrowing the gap to three with time running out. Patrickswell’s Diarmaid Byrnes hit three excellent long range scores to lift the crowd and white flags from Paul Browne and Shane Dowling had the Banner on their toes for the final few moments.
Nickie Quaid fouled Shannon teenager Aron Shanagher on the sixty eighth minute but Joint Captain Tony Kelly opted to strike the resulting penalty over the crossbar. Limerick replied with a James Ryan score but it was Kelly who would have the final say as Clare hung on for a vital victory.
Next up for Clare is a July 24th outing against either Galway or Tipperary if the Premier County lose out to Waterford in Sunday’s Munster Final.
1. Andrew Fahy (Whitegate)
2. Oisín O’Brien (Clonlara)
3. Pat O’Connor (Tubber)
4. Cian Dillon (Crusheen) – Joint Captain
5. Jack Browne (Ballyea) (0-01)
6. Conor Cleary (St Joseph’s Miltown / Kilmaley)
7. Brendan Bugler (Whitegate)
8. David McInerney (Tulla) (0-01)
9. David Reidy (Éire Óg)
10. Colm Galvin (Clonlara)
11. Podge Collins (Cratloe) (0-03)
12. Tony Kelly (Ballyea) – Joint Captain (0-09 5f 1’65 1 pen)
13. John Conlon (Clonlara) (0-01)
14. Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg) (0-03)
15. Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones) (0-01)
25. Aaron Cunningham (Wolfe Tones) for Conlon (46)
19. David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona) for Browne (65)
1. Nickie Quaid (Effin)
2. Tom Condon (Knockaderry)
3. Richie McCarthy (Blackrock)
4. Richie English (Doon)
5. Diarmuid Byrnes (Patrickswell) (0-03)
6. Gavin O’Mahony (Kilmallock)
7. Paudie O’Brien (Kilmallock)
8. Paul Browne (Bruff) (0-01)
9. Darragh O’Donovan (Doon) (0-01)
10. Declan Hannon (Adare)
11. James Ryan (Garryspillane) (0-02)
12. Cian Lynch (Patrickswell)
13. Kevin Downes (Na Piarsaigh) (0-01)
14. Shane Dowling (Na Piarsaigh) (0-06 5f 1’65)
15. Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock)
23. Tom Morrissey (Ahane) for O’Donovan (half-time)
24. Gearoid Hegarty (St Patrick’s) (0-01) for Hannon (half-time)
18. Seamus Hickey (Murroe-Boher) for O’Brien (41)
25. Barry Nash (South Liberties) for Mulcahy (56)
21. Alan Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh) for English (60)
Referee: James Owens (Wexford)