O'Sullivan hails spirited Treaty men's efforts to stay in hunt
Clare only needed a draw at Cusack Park on Saturday to gain promotion, but fell just short when they went down to neighbours and rivals Limerick by a single point.
Limerick dominated for almost an hour of this lively encounter but had to withstand a late, spirited Clare challenge to keep their own promotion aspirations alive. As Limerick manager Mickey 'Ned' O'Sullivan said after the game: "We needed two points because if we lost we were out of the running and it's great to get a win like that when you are developing a young team."
Limerick's young team enjoyed a deserved 0-8 to 1-1 lead at the break after playing into a strong breeze in the opening half. John Galvin put in a fine first-half display for the Shannonsiders as they held Clare scoreless for a 24-minute period.
Clare's first score came after nine minutes when the impressive David Tubridy goaled with a low shot to the left-hand corner of the Limerick net. The hosts didn't score again until the 33rd minute when Gary Brennan pointed from play.
After the break another barren spell for Clare, this time a 17-minute period, suggested an easy victory for O'Sullivan's men. But in the final 10 minutes, Clare hit 1-4 to a single Ian Ryan injury-time point for Limerick. Tubridy grabbed another goal on 63 minutes in a frantic final few moments.
Ryan's point settled nerves, putting two between them, yet Tubridy found the target once more seconds later. The Doonbeg man did have a chance to tie matters and clinch promotion at the death but his 45-metre free went wide.
Scorers -- Limerick: G Collins 0-4 (0-3f), E O'Connor 0-3, I Ryan, S Buckley, J Mullane 0-2 each, C Joyce-Power 0-1. Clare: D Tubridy 2-5 (0-4f), G Brennan, B Toner 0-1 each.
Limerick -- B Moran; M O'Riordan, C Mullane, A Lane; P Browne, S Gallagher, P Ranahan; J O'Donovan, J Galvin; J Mullane, C Joyce-Power, S Buckley (capt); G Collins, J Ryan, I Ryan. Subs: B Fitzpatrick for C Mullane (19), E O'Connor for Buckley (26), E Joy for Fitzpatrick (49), S Kelly for J Mullane (60), J Cooke for Collins (70).
Clare -- J Hayes; D Hickey, S McNeilis, L Healy; M Tubridy, G Kelly (capt), D Callinan; G Quinlan, D Russell; S Brennan, M O'Shea, S Hickey; A Clohessy, G Brennan, D Tubridy. Subs: S Kinnevan for S Brennan (30), B Toner for Callinan (h-t), M McCarthy for Quinlan (h-t), C O'Loughlin for Hayes (47).
Ref -- P O'Sullivan (Kerry).