Griffin plays captain's part as Limerick's goal blast floors Banner
Limerick 3-14 Care 2-15: Munster IHC
Published 25/05/2015 | 02:30
Captain Willie Griffin inspired Limerick's intermediate hurlers to victory over Clare in this Munster quarter-final.
Adare clubman Griffin bagged 2-6 for the Shannonsiders as they saw off a youthful Clare outfit to set up a Munster semi-final with Tipperary at the Gaelic Grounds on June 21.
Limerick were six points behind in the first half but a deadly two-goal blast in as many minutes midway through the second half provided a winning platform at Semple Stadium.
Mike Fitzgerald was on the pitch less than four minutes when he blasted home Limerick's second goal before Griffin struck a beauty.
Those quickfire strikes handed Limerick a 2-13 to 2-9 lead and the Treaty men would not be caught.
The sides were level twice in the early stages, and again after half-time, but Limerick were full value for the win.
At half-time, Limerick were 0-9 to 1-8 behind as Ian Galvin's sixth-minute goal effectively separated the sides. And Clare bagged a second goal in the 38th minute, with opposite corner-forward Ryan Taylor on target.
This prompted a response from Limerick and the introduction of Fitzgerald was a masterstroke from boss Don Flynn.
He cracked home the goal that renewed the Limerick challenge before Griffin netted twice in five minutes. 2007 All-Star goalkeeper Brian Murray also played his part for Limerick between the sticks, with crucial saves in both halves.
Galvin did score 1-5 for Clare but it wasn't enough to prevent defeat for the team managed by Donal Moloney, one half of Clare's former U-21 management team.
David Conroy also impressed with four points from play, including three in the first half, for Clare.
Limerick were wasteful before the break, registering eight wides, but when goal chances presented themselves, they were clinically taken.
Limerick haven't won a Munster title since 2008 but that famine could end this summer.
Scorers - Limerick: W Griffin 2-6 (3f), M Fitzgerald 1-0, D Byrnes 0-3 (2f, 1 65), W Hickey & M Carmody 0-2 each, K O'Brien 0-1. Clare: I Galvin 1-5 (4f), D Conroy 0-4, R Taylor 1-0, M O'Malley 0-3 (1f), S McGrath, S Ward & D Moloney 0-1 each.
Clare - E Quilligan; A McGuane, E Quirke, L Corry; D Fitzgerald, B O'Gorman, B Carey; S McGrath, D Conroy; M O'Malley, S Ward, S Taylor; I Galvin, D Moloney, R Taylor. Reps: B Corry for Moloney (37), R Hayes for O'Gorman (47), K Hehir for Carey (49), C Moloney for Taylor (52), C Fennessy for L Corry (58).
Limerick - B Murray; S Finn, B O'Connell, M Reidy; D Moloney, D Byrnes, B Lynch; R O'Donnell, A Brennan; K O'Brien, W Hickey, M Carmody; W Griffin, M Fitzgibbon, M Ryan. Subs: D O'Donovan for O'Donnell (28), M Fitzgerald for Hickey (41), C Ryan for Fitzgibbon (56), G Murphy for Brennan (60+1).
Ref - J O'Brien (Tipperary)