Mike Shaughnessy/INPHO Clare's John Conlon in action against the Limerick defence.
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Clare clinch league promotion with victory over 14-man Limerick in Ennis
John Conlon’s goal was the key score for the Banner.

Clare 1-19
Limerick 0-18

Fintan O’Toole reports from Cusack Park, Ennis

TWELVE MONTHS AFTER being relegated, Clare have made a swift return to Division 1A of the Allianz hurling league.

They claimed a four-point win over Limerick in front of 8,847 supporters in Cusack Park in Ennis this afternoon.

And victory ensured they would claim the coveted promotion spot ahead of their Munster rivals.

John Conlon’s goal inside the opening minute was a crucial score in giving the Banner a cushion on the scoreboard all afternoon.

But the match was also influenced by the sending-off of Limerick attacker Barry Nash before half-time when he was shown a second yellow card.

Tempers flare during the first half Mike Shaughnessy / INPHO Tempers flare during the clash in Ennis. Mike Shaughnessy / INPHO / INPHO

Limerick faced an uphill battle with 14 men and were never able to claw back that deficit as Clare progressed.

Conlon’s goal and the excellent point-taking of Conor McGrath helped Clare dictate the early exchanges as they went in front 1-3 to 0-1 after eight minutes.

However Limerick steadied as the half wore on with Paul Browne influential at midfield and Declan Hannon accurate from frees.

They trailed 1-6 to 0-4 in the 22nd minute but then outscored Clare by 0-5 to 0-1 with Hannon (4) and Browne on target.

A view of the developed stand at Cusack Park Mike Shaughnessy / INPHO A view of the developed stand at Cusack Park Mike Shaughnessy / INPHO / INPHO

David McInerney – magnificent throughout for Clare and bestowed with the man-of-the-match award afterwards – fired over a key point for Clare in the 32nd minute and then disaster struck for Limerick when Nash was shown a second yellow card.

Reduced to 14 men, they conceded further points to Clare before the interval when Bobby Duggan converted a pair of frees to push the Banner in front by 1-10 to 0-9.

Clare burst out of the blocks in the second-half with three quick points from Cian Dillon, McGrath and Colm Galvin as they went 1-13 to 0-9 clear.

Cian Dillon and Greame Mulcahy Mike Shaughnessy / INPHO Cian Dillon of Clare in action against Limerick's Graeme Mulcahy Mike Shaughnessy / INPHO / INPHO

That essentially provided Clare with a sufficient advantage to close out the game. Limerick could never get closer than four points in the second-half as Clare goalkeeper Patrick Kelly kept a clean sheet.

Clare racked up 19 wides overall with their poor shooting preventing them from putting further daylight between the teams in the second-half. But they were deserved victors and set up a quarter-final date with Tipperary while Limerick will take on Clare.

Davy Fitzgerlad and TJ Ryan shake hands after the game Mike Shaughnessy / INPHO Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald and Limerick boss TJ Ryan shake hands after the game. Mike Shaughnessy / INPHO / INPHO

Scorers for Clare: Bobby Duggan 0-6 (0-6f), Conor McGrath 0-5, John Conlon 1-1, Colm Galvin, Cathal O’Connell (0-2f) 0-2 each, David McInerney, David Reidy, Cian Dillon 0-1 each.

Scorers for Limerick: Declan Hannon 0-9 (0-8f), Paul Browne 0-4, Diarmuid Byrnes (0-1f), Graeme Mulcahy, James Ryan, Darragh O’Donovan, David Reidy 0-1 each.


1. Patrick Kelly (Inagh-Kilnamona)

24. Cian Dillon (Crusheen – captain)
3. Pat O’Connor (Tubber)
4. Paul Flanagan (Ballyea)

2. Oisín O’Brien (Clonlara)
6. David McInerney (Tulla)
5. Brendan Bugler (Whitegate)

9. Conor Ryan (Cratloe)
12. Colm Galvin (Clonlara)

8. David Reidy (Éire Óg)
11. Bobby Duggan (Clarecastle)
13. Aaron Cunningham (Wolfe Tones)

14. Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg)
10. John Conlon (Clonlara)
15. Conor McGrath (Cratloe)

19. Darach Honan (Clonlara) for Cunningham (52)
20. Cathal O’Connell (Clonlara) for Duggan (60)
22. Podge Collins (Cratloe) for McGrath (68)
7. Conor Cleary (St Joseph’s Miltown) for Flanagan (68)


1. Nickie Quaid (Effin – captain)

4. Richie English (Doon)
3. Richie McCarthy (Blackrock)
2. Tom Condon (Knockaderry)

5. Dan Morrissey (Ahane)
6. Diarmaid Byrnes (Patrickswell)
7. Seamus Hickey (Murroe/Boher)

8. John Fitzgibbon (Adare)
9. Paul Browne (Bruff)

13. Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock)
11. Gavin O Mahony (Kilmallock)
12. Cian Lynch (Patrickswell)

10. Barry Nash (South Liberties)
14. Declan Hannon (Adare)
15. Tom Morrissey (Ahane)

20. Paudie O’Brien (Kilmallock) for Dan Morrissey (half-time)
22. James Ryan (Garryspillane) for O’Mahony (half-time)
25. David Reidy (Dromin Athlacca) for Tom Morrissey (46)
24. Darragh O’Donovan (Doon) for Ryan (inj) (56)
23. Pat Ryan (Doon) for Fitzgibbon (65)

Referee: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)

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