Jackie Cahill reports from Semple Stadium, Thurles
PAUDIE AHERN FIRED a hat-trick of goals as Limerick cruised to victory over Clare in this afternoon’s Munster U25 Reserves hurling competition semi-final at Semple Stadium.
Ahern bagged one in the first half and two more in the second period as the Shannonsiders ran out 14-point winners.
There was some confusion over the final scoreline, with the scoreboard crediting Clare with 17 points, but journalists in both stands were in agreement that the Banner men had scored 16.
It mattered little to the end result, however, as Limerick produced a powerful second half display to win pulling up.
At half-time, they were 1-10 to 0-8 clear, as Clare relied heavily on the free-taking of captain Shane McGrath to remain in touch.
Ahern’s 19th minute goal, arrowed into the top corner, helped Limerick to that five-point interval lead, before they built on it considerably.
Ahern scored his second goal in the 35th minute, Mike Mackey netted in the 43rd and Ahern completed his treble a minute later as the Shannonsiders upped the ante.
Limerick lost full-back Darragh Fanning to a second yellow card with four minutes of normal time remaining but highly-rated young goalkeeper Eoghan McNamara preserved a ‘clean sheet’ with a string of late saves.
While Ahern will grab the headlines for his goal-scoring exploits, Limerick were also well served by free-taker Kyle Dillion, who racked up seven of his eight points from placed balls.
Nine Limerick players got on the scoresheet during the game, with five of the starting six forwards on target, along with both midfielders and wing backs.
Scorers for Limerick: Paudie Ahern 3-0, Kyle Dillion 0-8 (7f), Mike Mackey 1-2, Barry Murphy 0-3, Darragh Cotter (f), Thomas Grimes, Lorcan Lyons, Robbie Hanley & Oisin O’Reilly 0-1 each.
Scorers for Clare: Shane McGrath 0-11 (10f), David Conroy 0-2, Michael O’Neill, Kevin Hehir & Michael Moloney 0-1 each.
1. Eoghan McNamara (Doon)
2. Conor McSweeney (South Liberties)
3. Darragh Fanning (Pallasgreen)
4. Dan Joy (Kilmallock)
5. Darragh Cotter (Castletown/Ballyagran)
6. Josh Adams (Ballybrown)
7. Thomas Grimes (capt. – Na Piarsaigh)
8. Lorcan Lyons (Monaleen)
9. Robbie Hanley (Kilmallock)
10. Mike Mackey (Adare)
11. Barry Murphy (Doon)
12. Seamus Flanagan (Feohanagh)
13. Kyle Dillion (Bruff)
14. Oisin O’Reilly (Kilmallock)
15. Paudie Ahern (Killeedy)
20. Luke Doran (Ballybrown) for Joy (47)
18. Jack Cagney (Granagh/Ballingarry) for Lyons (49)
17. Cian O’Brien (Mungret St Pats) for Grimes (51)
24. Andrew La Touche Cosgrave (Monaleen) for Flanagan (51)
23. Darragh Carroll (Newport) for Ahern (55)
1. Daniel Vaughan (Tulla)
4. Conor O’Halloran (Éire Óg)
3. Eoin Quirke (Whitegate)
2. Ciaran Cooney (O’Callaghans Mills)
5. Ben O’Gorman (Wolfe Tones)
6. Dara Walsh (Éire Óg)
7. Rory Hayes (Wolfe Tones)
8. Michael O’Malley (Kilmaley)
9. David Conroy (St Joseph’s Doora Barefield)
12. Oisín Donnellan (Feakle)
17. Kevin Hehir (Inagh Kilnamona)
10. Michael O’Neill (Kilmaley)
13. Brian Corry (Sixmilebridge)
14. Martin Daly (Feakle)
15. Shane McGrath (capt. – Feakle)
18. Billy Connors (Cratloe) for Donnellan (h.t.)
24. Michael Moloney (Éire Óg) for Walsh (35)
19. Cian Nolan (Smith O’Briens) for O’Halloran (38)
20. Padraic O’Loughlin (Clonlara) for Daly (44)
11. Kevin McCafferty (Wolfe Tones) for Corry (46)
Referee: Joe Larkin (Cork)
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