Clare steady themselves against Limerick for victory
A game which struggled to spark for so long eventually ignited in a blaze in the last quarter when Limerick charged at Clare like a rhinoceros
Clare 0-15 Limerick 0-13
Clare were pinned back against the fence but they steadied themselves and eventually got home safe.
Limerick had all the momentum and the clock on their side when Ian Ryan reduced the deficit to one point on 61 minutes but Clare kept their heads and refused to panic. With just one point between the sides with time up, Keelan Sexton, a minor this year, picked out Cathal McInerney with a crossfield ball and McInerney got Clare home.
After being wiped out at midfield in the opening half, Limerick changed to a short kickout strategy after the break and they gradually picked Clare off with a hard and incisive running game. Overall, Clare were the better team who fully deserved the win but when their stranglehold at midfield disappeared, they couldn’t get their best forwards on the ball.
Clare’s bench was ultimately the difference. McInerney steadied them down when they needed a cool head, getting the last two scores, while Rory Donnelly showed his craft and experience with two good points. When called upon, young Sexton also stood up.
Clare led by 0-9 to 0-4 at half-time, which was built on absolute control around the middle third. Limerick struggled to manufacture anything decent from the handful of attacks they managed and Limerick’s sole first half-wide was more a reflection of their struggles than their conversion rate. Goalkeeper Brian Scanlon was their top scorer in that period but they were a different team after the break.
It was game-on when Limerick had reduced the deficit to three points with 20 minutes to play but Clare refused to yield to the pressure of that increasing Limerick tide.
Clare: J Hayes; C Russell, K Harnett, M McMahon; S Hickey (Stephen Collins – ht (C Dunning – 67min)), G Kelly, D Ryan; G Brennan (0-4), C O’Connor (0-1, 45); Sean Collins (0-1), J Malone (0-1) (D O’Halloran - Black Card replacement – 47min), S Brennan (0-1) (R Donnelly 0-2 – 39min); E Cleary (0-2) (C McInerney 0-2, 1f – 58min), P Collins (0-1), P Burke (K Sexton – 69mins).
Limerick: B Scanlon (0-3, 1f, 2 ’45s); S O’Dea, J McCarthy, R Browne (0-1) (G Noonan – 62min); I Corbett (0-1), C Fahy, S Cahill (0-1); T Lee(0-1) (D Neville 0-1– 36min), G Hegarty; J Riordan (C Sheehan 0-1 – ht), P Ranahan (K Moore – 57min), D Treacy; P Nash (0-2) (K Phair – Black Card replacement – 71min), S Buckley, I Ryan (0-4, 2fs).
Clare: Jamie Malone (46mins)
Limerick: Peter Nash (71mins)
Referee: D O’Mahoney (Tipperary)