Eoin Brennan reports from Gaelic Grounds
CLARE SECURED THEIR first Munster intermediate title in five years after a storming finish eventually brushed off the challenge of hosts Limerick in the Gaelic Grounds this evening.
Extra time was required to finally separate these neighbours after a compelling seesaw battle throughout.
However, despite twice being reduced to 14 men in normal and extra time, it was the Banner county who finished much the stronger to secure only their second ever provincial intermediate title.
In an evenly-matched opening half, both sides had their periods of dominance before Limerick’s injury-time haul of 1-1 ensured parity by the break.
The influential Ronan Lynch, who started at centre-forward opened the scoring after 40 seconds only for Feakle duo Shane McGrath and Oisin Donnellan to raid for 1-4 over the next ten minutes including a 10th minute goal from the latter who shrugged off his marker to fire to the left corner at 1-4 to 0-3.
Up the other end, goalkeeper Daniel Vaughan produced an excellent save to deny Aaron Gillane, only for the Patrickswell man to finally billow the net in the 19th minute after a clever pass from David Dempsey to lower the arrears to the minimum.
Unanswered points from Ryan Taylor (2) and Davy Conroy offered the visitors a four point cushion as the half drifted into additional time.
However, a Pat Ryan solo goal and a fourth Lynch point saw Limerick tie up the game at 2-6 to 1-9 as the teams entered the dressing rooms.
It was a far more tense second period, particularly when Clare’s Dara Walsh was dismissed for two yellow cards in the space of 60 seconds in the 40th minute.
However, with Lynch uncharacteristically misfiring from placed balls, Limerick failed to build upon their numerical advantage as the sides were level of five occasions before extra time was forced by Clare corner-back Rory Hayes at 1-16 to 2-13.
Once Clare restored their full complement for extra time however, there was only going to be one winner as substitutes Shane Gleeson (5) and Ben O’Gorman (2) inspired their side to victory and a place in the All-Ireland final against either Kilkenny or Wexford on Saturday 6 August.
Scorers for Clare: Shane Gleeson 0-7 (4f); Shane McGrath 0-5 (4f); Oisin Donnellan 1-1; Davy Conroy 0-3; Ryan Taylor, Michael O’Neill, Ben O’Gorman 0-2 each; Kevin Hehir, Jason McCarthy, Danny Russell, Rory Hayes 0-1 each.
Scorers for Limerick: Ronan Lynch 0-6 (2f); Aaron Gillane 1-2 (2f); Willie Griffin 0-3 (2f, 1’65); Pat Ryan 1-0; Barry Murphy 0-2; Kevin O’Brien, Andrew La Touche Cosgrave, David Dempsey, Lorcan Lyons, Mark Carmody 0-1 each.
1. Daniel Vaughan (Tulla)
2. Rory Hayes (Wolfe Tones)
3. Eoin Quirke (Whitegate)
4. C Cooney (O’Callaghan Mills)
6. Aidan McGuane (Kilmaley)
5. Jason McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona)
7. Dara Walsh (Éire Óg)
8. David Conroy (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield)
9. Kevin Hehir (Inagh-Kilnamona)
10. Oisin Donnellan (Feakle)
11. Shane McGrath (Feakle) (Captain)
12. Daragh Corry (Tulla)
15. Colin Crehan (O’Callaghan’s Mills)
14. Ryan Taylor (Clooney-Quin)
13. Michael O’Neill (Kilmaley)
21. Shane Gleeson (Cratloe) for Corry (HT)
19. Ben O’Gorman (Wolfe Tones) for Donnellan (43)
22. Danny Russell (Éire Óg) for Taylor (52)
20. Mark Lynch (Tulla) for McGrath (58)
23. Michael O’Shea (Smith O’Brien’s) for Crehan (68)
17. Eoin Enright (Kilmaley) for Hehir (74)
18. Shane Taylor (Broadford) for Lynch (79)
1. Eoghan McNamara (Doon)
2. Mike Casey (Na Piarsaigh)
3. Barry Lynch (Feohanagh)
4. Sean Flanagan (Feohanagh)
7. Colin Ryan (Pallasgreen)
9. Lorcan Lyons (Monaleen)
5. Mark Carmody (Patrickswell)
11. William O’Donoghue (Na Piarsaigh)
12. Andrew La Touche Cosgrave (Monaleen)
10. David Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh)
6. Ronan Lynch (Na Piarsaigh)
8. Pat Ryan (Doon)
13. Aaron Gillane (Patrickswell)
14. Kevin O’Brien (Patrickswell)
15. Peter Casey (Na Piarsaigh)
24. Oisin O’Reilly (Kilmallock) for O’Brien (43)
21. Barry Murphy (Doon) for Ryan (54)
19. Willie Griffin (Adare) for Gillane (60)
20. Mike Fitzgibbon (Feohanagh) for R. Lynch (63)
8. Pat Ryan for O’Donoghue (70)
18. Darragh Fanning (Pallasgreen) for Casey (70)
Referee: Joe Larkin (Cork).
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