Sport Hurling

Tuesday 20 February 2018

The Game at a glance

Man of the match

Niall Moran (Limerick)

He is often the target for the Limerick boo-boys, but Moran answered the critics with a stirring performance.

His tail was up in the early stages as the experienced Ahane hitman hit three points in the opening six minutes. And the full-forward added another couple of scores in the second half to cap a superb evening's work.

Turning point

Declan Hannon's goal five minutes after half-time knocked the stuffing out of Clare.

The Banner County trailed by a point at the break but drew level early in the second half through Nicky O'Connell. However, after Seanie Tobin restored Limerick's lead, Hannon's clinical strike from close range gave Limerick real breathing space, and they kicked on to victory.

Talking point

Clare manager Davy Fitzgerald was offering no excuses afterwards, but he was unhappy with such a quick turnaround after his team had to endure what was a massive battle with Dublin on the previous Saturday.

Limerick looked much fresher in the second half -- having had a fortnight to recover after their facile victory over Antrim.

Ref watch

Brian Gavin is now widely regarded as being one of the most liberal referees in modern day inter-county hurling. He brandished four yellow cards in what was a hugely physical encounter and blew for 32 frees in total.

He could have sent off a player or two following a first-half melee that followed Patrick Kelly's save from Shane Dowling's 20-metre free in the 21st minute.

What they said

John Allen (Limerick manager):

"When the final whistle goes on All-Ireland final day and you're on the line as the manager, that's as good as it gets, but I don't think I've ever been as animated on the line as I was this evening."

Davy Fitzgerald (Clare manager):

"We won't be complaining about anything. We know we lost our way for a bit and we have to learn from that. This isn't going to happen overnight."

Match statistics

Wides: Clare 8 (4 first half); Limerick 5 (3).

Frees: Clare 14 (6); Limerick 18 (9).

Yellow Cards: Clare 2 (S Morey 20, C Dillon 23); Limerick 2 (N Moran 23, R McCarthy 35+3)

Red cards: Clare 0 (0); Limerick 0 (0).

What next?

Limerick are through to the quarter-finals of the All-Ireland senior hurling championship.

Clare's All-Ireland campaign is over for another year.

Irish Independent

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