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Late point seals victory for Limerick over Clare after second-half Munster thriller

Simple Stadium was the venue for today’s clash.

Clare's Shane O'Donnell in action against Limerick's Barry Hennessy and Richie McCarthy.
Clare's Shane O'Donnell in action against Limerick's Barry Hennessy and Richie McCarthy.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

Limerick 1-19
Clare 2-15

Fintan O’Toole reports from Semple Stadium

JOHN FITZGIBBON STRUCK the match-winning point as Limerick saw off Clare after a thrilling second-half in today’s Munster senior hurling quarter-final in Semple Stadium.

The Limerick substitute split the posts in the 68th minute after being set up by Declan Hannon and that transpired to be the match-winning score for TJ Ryan’s side.

Aaron Cunningham was sprung from the bench and he struck two great second-half goals for Clare while Graeme Mulcahy found the net for Limerick. Teenager Cian Lynch was superb for Limerick on his championship debut as he weighed in with 0-3 and caused huge problems for the Clare rearguard.

Cian Lynch celebrates scoring a point Cian Lynch celebrates scoring a point for Limerick. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Both sides finished the game with 14 men. Clare joint captain Pat Donnellan was sent-off just on the stroke of half-time for striking Donal O’Grady as a melee erupted between both sets of players.

Then Limerick’s Seanie Tobin was sent-off in the 55th minute, just seconds after coming on as a substitute when he was involved in an altercation with Clare’s Patrick O’Connor.

Gavin OÕMahony under pressure from John Conlon and Gearoid OÕConnell Gavin O'Mahony in action for Limerick against Clare's John Conlon and Gearoid O'Connell. Source: Tommy Greally/INPHO

It was a feisty and competitive affair but while the action was extremely exciting in the finale the game lacked quality at times. Limerick were able to savour a first Munster championship victory over Clare since 1996 while Clare’s losing streak in championship games since winning the 2013 All-Ireland final continued.

A dejected John Conlon Clare's John Conlon cut a dejected figure after the game. Source: Tommy Greally/INPHO

Limerick were in front by 0-9 to 0-8 at the interval with free takers Shane Dowling and Colin Ryan both displaying great accuracy for their respective sides. Lynch sparkled in the opening-half for Limerick while Shane O’Donnell looked threatening at the other end.

The match exploded just before the interval with Clare suffering the setback of seeing Donnellan dismissed. It didn’t deter them in the early stages of the second-half with their 14 men going 0-12 to 11 clear by the 40th minute thanks to the leadership of John Conlon in attack.

Limerick hit back and forged a 0-14 to 0-12 advantage by the 48th minute and kicked on further to go six points clear by the 53rd minute when Mulcahy whipped home a goal after a high delivery from Dowling broke kindly for him.

They looked on the cusp of powering to the finish line but Cunningham then left his mark on the match, firing home goals in the 54th and 62nd minutes.

Shane O’Donnell landed a point to tie the match and the prospect of a replay was looming until Fitzgibbon’s late intervention.

John Fitzgibbon celebrates with Dr. James Ryan Limerick's John Fitzgibbon celebrates. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Scorers for Limerick: Shane Dowling 0-11 (0-10f, 0-1 ’65), Graeme Mulcahy 1-1, Cian Lynch 0-3, Seanie O’Brien, Tom Condon, John Fitzgibbon, Paudie O’Brien 0-1 each.

Scorers for Clare: Colin Ryan 0-8 (0-6f), Aaron Cunningham 2-1, John Conlon, Tony Kelly 0-2 each, David Reidy, Shane O’Donnell 0-1 each.

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Cian Lynch tackles Pat OÕConnor Limerick's Cian Lynch tackles Clare's Pat O'Connor. Source: Tommy Greally/INPHO

Limerick

1. Barry Hennessy (Kilmallock)

2. Stephen Walsh (Glenroe)
3. Richie McCarthy (Blackrock)
4. Seamus Hickey (Murroe-Boher)

5. Seanie O’Brien (Patrickswell)
6. Gavin O’Mahony (Kilmallock)
7. Tom Condon (Knockaderry)

8. Paudie O’Brien (Kilmallock)
9. James Ryan (Garryspillane)

10. Donal O’Grady (Granagh-Ballingarry)
11. Declan Hannon (Adare)
12. Paul Browne (Bruff)

13. Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock)
14. Shane Dowling (Na Piarsaigh)
15. Cian Lynch (Patrickswell)

Subs
22. Sean Tobin (Murroe-Boher) for O’Grady (55)
18. Dan Morrissey (Ahane) for Walsh (62)
17. Wayne McNamara (Adare) for Hickey (inj) (66)
20. John Fitzgibbon (Adare) for Ryan (66)
23. Kevin Downes (Na Piarsaigh) for Browne (71)

Clare

1. Patrick Kelly (Inagh-Kilnamona)

2. Domhnall O’Donovan (Clonlara)
4. Cian Dillon (Crusheen)
3. David McInerney (Tulla)

5. Jack Browne (Ballyea)
6. Conor Ryan (Cratloe)
7. Patrick O’Connor (Tubber)

8. Pat Donnellan (O’Callaghan Mills)
20. Gearóid O’Connell (Ballyea)

9. Shane Golden (Sixmilebridge)
11. Tony Kelly (Ballyea)
12. Colin Ryan (Newmarket-on-Fergus)

10. John Conlon (Clonlara)
14. Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg)
15. David Reidy (Éire Óg)

Subs
23. Aaron Cunningham (Wolfe Tones) for Reidy (47)
17. Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge) for O’Donovan (54)
22. Bobby Duggan (Clarecastle) for O’Connell (57)
25. Darach Honan (Clonlara) for Golden (66)
21. Nicky O’Connell (Clonlara) for Kelly (inj) (69)

Referee: Colm Lyons (Cork)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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