Friday 20 July 2018

Limerick prevail in dramatic free-taking competition after epic 100-minute clash with Clare

Limerick 4-21 Clare 0-33 (Limerick in 7-6 in free-taking competition)

19 March 2018; Colin Ryan of Limerick scores the winning point during sudden death in the free-taking competition during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 quarter-final match between Limerick and Clare at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
19 March 2018; Colin Ryan of Limerick scores the winning point during sudden death in the free-taking competition during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 quarter-final match between Limerick and Clare at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile
Colm Keys

Colm Keys

History was made in Limerick's Gaelic Grounds when this epic league hurling quarter-final was decided by a free-taking competition after it had ended level following two periods of extra-time.

Substitute Colin Ryan sealed it for Limerick from his 65-metre free after Niall Deasy had missed Clare's second sudden death free.

Deasy had been one of five Clare players - Peter Duggan, David Reidy, Ian Galvin and Jamie Shanahan were also on the mark - as they tied 5-5 after the first five shots. Limerick's Aaron Gillane, Ryan, Diarmuid Byrnes, David Reidy and Tom Morrissey had all scored and when Duggan, scorer of 19 points during the game itself, and Gillane, who hit 2-11, converted again it came round to Deasy and Ryan.

Aaron Gillane's late free had levelled it, 4-21 to 0-33, after the game passed the 100-minute mark, converting his 11th free when Cian Lynch was fouled.

Clare looked to be heading for victory at the end of the first period of extra-time but late Limerick pressure yielded a free and from 20 metres Diarmuid Byrnes smashed home a goal to make it 4-18 to 0-30 and force that second added period of 10 minutes, five minutes each.

The second half of normal time was a blistering affair. Limerick got to within a point as Gillane's frees kept them in touch but Clare then edged three clear again by the 49th minute with Kelly nailing a fifth point and Duggan showing why he has taken over from Kelly as chief free-taker.

They were somewhat unfortunate to have a Conor McGrath goal disallowed for overcarrying on 41 minutes after he had latched on to a break off John Conlon.

Limerick substitute Colin Ryan closed the gap to one point again with back-to-back scores before David Reidy pushed it back out to two.

But then Gillane struck for a second goal, a glorious back-handed stroke past Tuohy this time, courtesy of Seamus Flanagan's deft touch from Tom Morrissey's 54th-minute delivery, giving them the lead for the first time, 2-13 to 0-18.

Clare kept coming however and Duggan had them level with a 90-metre free before pushing them in front again, 0-21 to 2-14.

In fact, he scored Clare's last seven points from a combination of frees and play to amass 15 points in all in normal time.

But there was a third goal in Limerick from substitute Pat Ryan who got on the end of another Morrissey delivery on 62 minutes for a 3-15 to 0-21 lead.

But they scored just one more point, a Colin Ryan sideline, as Duggan kept eating into their lead.

The towering Banner full-forward had a chance to win the game but for once he left a late free short.    

Clare were running away with it in the first half with their half-back line - Seadna Morey, David McInerney and David Fitzgerald - in commanding form and Tony Kelly and Colm Galvin fizzing with energy around the middle.

Kelly broke forward for three first-half points while Limerick indiscipline was routinely punished by Duggan.

When Fitzgerald burst forward for their 11th point in the 22nd minute it opened the widest gap - nine points (0-11 to 0-2) but the reply from Limerick to a potential crisis was instant with Aaron Gillane fielding a lengthy clearance and the holding off the attention of Jack Browne to kick past Donal Tuohy.

The matter of excess steps was not picked up on by referee Alan Kelly and the goal stood.

Gillane's goal sparked Limerick for the remaining 15 minutes or so of the half and he added three further frees, two for fouls on himself while Gearoid Hegarty and Paul Browne were also on target as the home side trailed by 0-14 to 1-8 at the break.

Scorers - Limerick: A Gillane 2-11 (0-11fs), D Byrnes 1-1 (1-1fs), C Ryan 0-3 (1 sl) P Ryan 1-0, G Hegarty 0-2, P Browne, C Lynch, S Flanagan, T Morrissey all 0-1 each

Clare - P Duggan 0-19 (15fs, 2 65s), T Kelly 0-6, D Reidy, J Conlon 0-2 each, D Fitzgerald. C Galvin, C McGrath, S O'Donnell all 0-1 each.

Limerick: N Quaid; S Finn, S Hickey, R English; D Byrnes, D Hannon, D Morrissey; P Browne, C Lynch; G Hegarty, K Hayes, T Morrissey; A Gillane, S Flanagan, B Murphy. Subs: C Ryan for Browne (49), P Ryan for Murphy (54), D Reidy for Hayes (62), R McCarthy for Hickey (79), B O'Connell for Hegarty (85), O O'Reilly for Flanagan (86).

Clare: D Tuohy; P O'Connor, C Cleary, J Browne; S Morey, D McInerney, D Fitzgerald; C Galvin, T Kelly; D Reidy, J Conlon, C Malone: C McGrath, P Duggan, S O'Donnell. Subs: I Galvin for Galvin (52), C McInerney for McGrath (56), J Shanahan for Morey (61), J McCarthy for Reidy (64), P Collins for Malone (68), M O'Neill for C McInerney (FT), R Taylor for I Galvin (89), M O'Malley for Kelly (95), N Deasy for Collins (98).

Referee: A Kelly (Galway)

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