Second half surge crucial as Clare leapfrog Limerick to seal Munster final place
Clare 0-26 Limerick 0-15
Clare booked a Munster final clash with Cork for a second successive year after a brilliantly executed win over Limerick in Cusack Park.
They lost to Cork in last year's decider but will be much more confident this time after beating Waterford, Tipperary and Limerick in their last three games. They lost to Cork in the opening Munster round robin game but have improved substantially since then, as evidenced by their sheer consistency against a Limerick team that remained unbeaten in their first three games.
They trailed Clare all the way but were still in contention when they cut the deficit to four points in the 56th minute. However, that was as good as it got for Limerick, who failed to score from then on. Clare, for whom Peter Duggan was again top scorer on 0-13, added another seven points to run out comfortable winners.
Clare led by 0-13 to 0-9 after an eventful first half where both sides had a player sent off in the 32nd minute. Limerick sub, Tom Condon, a replacement for Sean Finn in the 13th minute, and Clare's David Reidy, were sent off by referee, James Owens after extensive consultation with his umpires. Condon could have no complaints but Reidy was unfortunate to suffer the ultimate sanction for what looked a relatively innocuous incident.
Clare led all the way through the first half with Duggan's accuracy from frees hugely influential, punishing every Limerick foul. Clare led by five points at the end of normal time before two excellent points by Cian Lynch and Diarmuid Byrnes cut the deficit to three. However, Duggan took it out to four with a sweetly struck '65'.
Scorers: Clare: P Duggan 0-13 (10f, 1'65), T Kelly 0-5 (1'65'), J Conlon 0-4, D Fitzgerald 0-2, J Shanahan, C Galvin 0-1 each.
Limerick: S Dowling 0-4 (4f), T Morrissey 0-3, K Hayes, D O'Donovan (s/l), C Lynch, D Byrnes, G Hegarty, D Morrissey, S Flanagan, A Gillane 0-1 each.
Clare: D Tuohy; P O'Connor, D McInerney, J Browne; S Morey, C Cleary, J Shanahan; C Galvin, C Malone; P Duggan, T Kelly, D Reidy; P Collins, J Conlon, S O'Donnell.
Subs: D Fitzgerald for Morey(14), J McCarthy for Malone (54), I Galvin for Fitzgerald (61), C McGrath for O'Donnell (65), M O'Neill for Collins (70).
Limerick: N Quaid; S Finn, M Casey, R English; D Byrnes, D Hannon, D Morrissey; D O'Donovan, C Lynch; G Hegarty, K Hayes, T Morrissey; S Flanagan, S Dowling, G Mulcahy.
Subs: T Condon for Finn (13), R McCarthy for Mulcahy (ht), A Gillane for Flanagan (49), D Dempsey for Hegarty (56), B Nash for English (64).
Ref - J Owens (Wexford)