Goals prove the difference as Limerick see off Clare challenge in Munster MHC battle

Limerick 2-20 Clare 0-22

Limerick minor hurling manager Evan Loftus. Photo: Sportsfile

A goal at the start of either half proved the difference as Limerick made it back-to-back wins in the Electric Ireland Munster Minor Hurling Championship, with a narrow win over gutsy Clare.

Despite opening up a two goal lead early in the second half, Limerick had to withstand a strong Clare fightback to secure a valuable two points.

There is room for manoeuvre for this young Clare side, who defeated Tipperary in their opener last Tuesday.

For Limerick, they add to their Waterford success, ahead of a three-week break before their clash with Tipperary.

A third minute goal from Seán Duff, set the tone, while there was scores from Darren Collopy (frees) and Hugh Flanagan. The impressive Flanagan landing five from play in the opening half.

Clare had Mark O’Brien on target, while Sean Arthur caused Limerick issues.

But they were never ahead or level in this contest and trailed by four at the short whistle with Fred Hegarty and Jack Mescall notching from distance to close the half.

A 37th minute goal from Robert O’Farrell pushed Limerick clear but they wouldn’t score for another 10 minutes.

During this period O’Brien inched Clare closer and when Arthur scored his third, they were to within with just 10 minutes remaining.

But Adare’s Patrick Kearney helped wrestly back control, while Collopy landed his first from play.

Clare searched for a breakthrough goal but ultimately had to settle for a narrow defeat against their neighbours, ahead of a trip to Waterford in round three.

Scorers – Limerick: D Collopy 0-10 (0-9 frees); H Flanagan 0-5; S Duff, R O’Farrell 1-0, P Kearney 0-2; J Cosgrave (free), T Boddy, D Ferland 0-1 each. Clare: M O’Brien 0-8 (0-7 frees), S Arthur, F Hegarty (0-1 free), M Collins 0-3 each; J Mescall 0-2 each; O Fanning, M Power, J Hegarty (free) 0-1 each.

Limerick: J Fitzgerald; J O’Keefe, C Bickford, S Morrissey ©; J Cosgrove, S Casey, C Scully; D Lyons, M Fitzgerald; R O’Farrell, D Ferland, T Boddy; H Flanagan, S Duff, D Collopy. Subs: M Leo for Lyons (45), P Kearney for Duff (47), D Gleeson for Cosgrave (56), O Holmes for O’Farrell (59).

Clare: M Sheedy; E Gunning, R Keane, E Carey; M O’Halloran, M O’Connor, J Moylan; O Fanning, R Kilroy; M Collins, F Hegarty, S Arthur; J Mescall, M O’Brien, M Power. Subs: J Hegarty for O’Connor (23), H Doherty for Kilroy (h-t), E Mulcahy for Fanning (43), E Begley for Mescall (45), Conor Ralph for F. Hegarty (51).

Referee: S Walsh (Waterford).