Eoin Brennan reports from Cusack Park
LIMERICK PRODUCED A dramatic late turnaround to edge into the Munster Minor Hurling Championship Final against Tipperary at the expense of hosts Clare in Cusack Park this afternoon.
With a brace of Mark Rodgers helping the home side to keep their noses in front for the majority, it seemed that Clare were destined to return to a second successive provincial decider.
However, Limerick simply refused to adhere to that script as despite trailing by two points at the hour mark, chief marksman Cathal O’Neill inspired an injury-time flourish to help the visitors grab three of the last four points on their way to a minimum victory.
It was tough on Clare who after largely setting the pace, just lacked the composure to see out the win when required most.
Credit to Limerick’s persistence though, led supremely by a six point haul from the roving Bob Purcell who kept his side in touch throughout.
Six Kealan Guyler points allied to a Mark Rodgers’ 29th minute goal edged the hosts five
in front, only for Limerick to reply right on the stroke of half-time when Cormac Ryan raided for a goal to lessen the arrears to 1-8 to 1-6 by the break.
Limerick would continue that momentum on the restart to move ahead for the first time in the 35th minute through Barry O’Connor. However it would be short-lived as Rodgers struck for his seventh goal of the championship to snatch back the whip hand by the 38th minute at 2-09 to 1-10.
The tie would be on level terms on three more occasions as the clock ran inexorably towards the hour mark.
However, needing only a draw to top the table, Limerick’s never-say-die resilience ensured that they would go one significant step further as a last gasp ’65 from Cathal O’Neill set up a final showdown with Tipperary on Sunday, July 1st.
Scorers for Limerick: Cathal O’Neill 0-7 (1f, 3’65); Bob Purcell 0-6; Cormac Ryan 1-0; Danny O’Leary, Colin Coughlan 0-2 each; Barry O’Connor, Patrick Kirby, Diarmuid Hegarty, Emmet McEvoy 0-1 each
Scorers for Clare: Kealan Guyler 0-9 (3f, 1’65); Mark Rodgers 2-1; Robin Mounsey 0-3; Conner Hegarty 0-2; William Halpin, Tony Butler, 0-1 each
1. Bryan Heavey (Garryspillane)
4. Michael Keane (Adare)
3. Ben Herlihy (Castletown-Ballyagran)
2. Padraig Harnett (Ahane)
5. Eoin O’Mahony (Garryspillane)
6. Emmet McEvoy (Na Piarsaigh)
7. Jack Nicholas (Murroe-Boher)
8. Patrick Kirby (Patrickswell)
9. Barry O’Connor (Ballybrown)
11. Cormac Ryan (Doon)
12. Cathal O’Neill (Crecora Manister)
14. Bob Purcell (Doon)
10. Danny O’Leary (Bruff)
13. Colin Coughlan (Ballybrown)
15. Cian Casey (Claughaun)
18. Diarmuid Hegarty (St Patrick’s) for Casey (HT)
17. Bryan Nix (Newcastle West) for O’Leary (47, inj)
19. Micheal Martin (Ballybricken-Bohermore) for Coughlan (63)
1. Cillian O’Brien (Clonlara)
4. Mike Gough (Smith O’Brien’s)
3. Adam Mungovan (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield)
2. Jack Enright (Newmarket-on-Fergus)
5. Darragh Healy (Clarecastle)
6. Dylan McMahon (Clonlara)
7. Jason Griffin (Inagh-Kilnamona)
8. Aidan Moriarty (Clonlara)
9. Gearoid O’Grady (Kilmihil)
10. William Halpin (Tulla)
11. Robin Mounsey (Ruan)
12. Kealan Guyler (Inagh-Kilnamona)
13. Mark Rodgers (Scariff)
14. Shane Meehan (Banner)
15. Conner Hegarty (Inagh-Kilnamona)
18.Tony Butler (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield) for O’Grady (41)
Referee: Mark Maher (Cork)
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