A sharper and more cohesive LIT side proved to be far too strong for Clare in the quarter-final game played at Meelick yesterday.
Outsmarted, out-hurled and well and truly beaten, new Clare boss Mike McNamara was given food for though by his opposite number 'Banner' goalkeeper Davy Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald's charges look like a well-oiled machine for most of the game yesterday whereas Clare creaked at times. This is largely due to the fact that McNamara is using this tournament to blood youth and mix it with some more experienced old heads. LIT's trump card lay in the fact that they had in their attack the talents of Galway youngster Joe Canning and a personal tally of 1-7 over the hour, from hurling's most promising went a long way towards deciding the outcome of this tie.
This is not to say, though, that LIT are a one man show. They most certainly are not. Centre-back Shane Maher from Tipperary was outstanding in defence throughout, while the mid-field pairing of Limerick's Paudie O'Brien and Galway man Niall Healy dominated proceedings from the start.
Scorers -- LIT: J Canning 1-7 (4 f), B Gaffney 1-2 (1 '65), S Tobin 1-1, N Healy, P O'Brien 0-1 each. Clare: N Gilligan 0-4 (2 f), C Lafferty 0-2, C Lynch 0-2, M Flaherty 0-1 (f), M Murphy, P Donlon 0-1 each.
LIT -- M Ryan, M Walsh, A Byrne, E Collins, W Hyland, S Maher, G O'Connell, P O'Brien, N Healy, J McInerney, C Donnellan, S Herlihy, J Canning, B Gaffney, S Tobin. Subs: I White for Herlihy (half-time), B Earley for Canning (60), E Glynn for Tobin (60).
Clare -- P Brennan, T Keogh, G O'Grady, G Barry, P Vaughan, D Clancy, P Donlon, B O'Connell, B Lynch, C Lafferty, C Lynch, M Murphy, M Flaherty, N Gilligan, G Arthur. Subs: M Madden for Arthur inj. (3),C McMahon for B Lynch (30), B Nugent for Flaherty (36), D Quinn for C Lynch (36), T Carmody for Madden (52).
Ref -- P Casey (Waterford).