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Clare defeat Limerick to secure place in Munster Minor final

It was a tense, thrilling derby encounter throughout as what the game lacked in quality, it more than made up for in sheer commitment.

Clare supporters (file pic).
Clare supporters (file pic).
Image: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Clare 0-19

Limerick 0-17

Eoin Brennan reports from Cusack Park

CLARE WILL CONTEST, the Munster Minor and Senior Hurling finals for the first time in 20 years in Thurles on Sunday week after finally shaking off the stubborn challenge of neighbours Limerick after extra-time in the U18 version in Cusack Park this evening.

It was a tense, thrilling derby encounter throughout as what the game lacked in quality, it more than made up for in sheer commitment and doggedness.

Indeed, the sides would be locked on level terms on 10 occasions, including the three major junctures of the match (half-time, full-time and again at the midway mark of extra-time) before Gary Cooney fired the last two points to get the home side over the line in front of a crowd of 3,697.

Clare deserved their victory thanks in the main to an outstanding half-back unit of Aidan McCarthy, Cian Minogue and Diarmuid Ryan but certainly made hard work of it as they struck 22 wides over the 80 minutes to Limerick’s 10, with that profligacy preventing them from making the game safe in normal time.

All that after a more efficient Limerick shot out of the blocks with four Paul O’Brien points by the 12th minute, only for the hosts to finally settle after five wides, with Tiernan Agnew answering with four of his own over the next eight minutes to level up the tie.

That blow-for-blow pattern would continue until the break as the sides were level on three more occasions, albeit there were also glorious goal opportunities at both ends.

In the 24th minute, Breffni Horner’s driving run attracted Limerick’s last line before offloading to Paul Corry, who could only find the side-netting,

The last action of the half saw a teasing O’Brien delivery expertly controlled by Dylan O’Shea, only for Lee Brack to produce a timely hook on his first effort, while goalkeeper Eamonn Foudy repelled the second to ensure a 0-7 to 0-7 half-time stalemate.

Clare had two more goal chances on the restart as the sides traded points twice more, with Eoin Fitzgerald pulling just wide while Tiernan Agnew solo and shot was tipped away by goalkeeper Daithi Heffernan.

The neighbours were still deadlocked entering the final 10 minutes, when Clare made their push for glory as successive points from Agnew (2) and Keith White edged them three clear.

However, they simply couldn’t find an insurance point and it allowed a never-say-die Limerick to gather momentum and force extra-time after unanswered points from Paul O’Brien (2) and Mikey O’Brien at 0-14 to 0-14.

While fatigue understandably set in, it didn’t halt the exuberance and determination of both sides, who gave every ounce, as they traded points on three more occasions.

However, with Limerick now beginning to misfire, the home side snatched the initiative once more, with Cooney arrowing over two excellent strikes to seal a first Munster Minor Final place since 2012.

Scorers for Clare: Tiernan Agnew 0-10 (7f, 1’65); Gary Cooney 0-4; Breffni Horner, Diarmuid Ryan, Keith White, Gearoid Cahill, Aidan McCarthy 0-1 each

Scorers for Limerick: Paul O’Brien 0-9 (4f, 1’65); David Woulfe 0-4; Ronan Connolly, Dan Minehan, Dylan O’Shea, Mikey O’Brien 0-1 each

Clare

1. Eamonn Foudy (Inagh-Kilnamona)

2. Sean Crowley (Kilmihil)
3. Ross Hayes (Crusheen)
4. Bradley Higgins (Kilmaley)

6. Cian Minogue (Bodyke)
5. Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe)
7. Aidan McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona)

8. Keith White (Inagh-Kilnamona)
9. Lee Brack (Clarecastle)

11. Rian Considine (Cratloe)
10. Tiernan Agnew (Sixmilebridge)
12. Eoin Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona)

14. Gary Cooney (O’Callaghan’s Mills)
13. Paul Corry (Sixmilebridge)
15. Breffni Horner (Crusheen)

Subs
22. Conor Tierney (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield) for Corry (HT)
20. Colin Haugh (Ruan) for Considine (43)
23. Gearoid Cahill (Corofin) for Fitzgerald (48)
17. Cian McInerney (Inagh-Kilnamona) for Crowley (53, inj)
19. Eoghan Wallace (Clarecastle) for Ryan (58, inj)
21. Tom O’Rourke (Kilmaley) for Brack (60)
24. Killian McDermott (Clarecastle) for White (75, inj)

Limerick

1. Daithi Heffernan (Mallow)

2. Conor Flahive (Mungret St Pauls)
3. Conor Nicholas (Monaleen)
4. Ciaran Barry (Ahane)

7. Kevin Bonar (Bruff)
6. Jerome Boylan (Na Piarsaigh)
5. Mikey O’Brien (Doon)

8. Dan Minehan (Ahane)
9. Michael O’Grady (Knockainey)

10. Paul O’Riordan (Bruff)
11. Paul O’Brien (Mungret St Pauls)
12. David Woulfe (Kilmallock)

13. Dylan O’Shea (Garryspillane)
17. Gearoid Barry (Kilmallock)
14. Ronan Connolly (Adare)

Subs
23. Brian O’Grady (Kilteely/Dromkeen) for O’Riordan (HT)
24. Ryan Tobin (Garryspillane) for Barry (38)
21. Rory Duff (Mungret St Pauls) for O’Grady (49)
9. O’Grady for M. O’Brien (71)
19. Ken Byrnes (Old Christians) for P. O’Brien (77)
10. O’Riordan for Duff (77, inj)
18. Damien Burke (Dromcollogher/Broadford) for O’Shea (82, inj)

Referee: Philip Kelly (Tipperary)

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