Match report: James Mulvihill
Full time score: Limerick 0-16 Clare 0-10
Limerick were crowned Munster Senior League Champions after a tense battle against Clare in the Gaelic Grounds. It was a tight game in the first half with no team prepared to give an inch but in the second half the Treaty men were dominant in all areas of the pitch. Clare looked disorganised during the latter stages of this contest. They were hitting aimless balls into their Full-Forward line giving them no chance of winning clean possession. The Full-Back line struggled to contain the Limerick attack throughout this contest. Clare finished the game with 14 men thanks to referee Cathal McAllister shown two yellow cards to Corner-Back Jack Browne. Cian Dillon is a massive loss at the heart of the defence and without his presence the Banner men will find it difficult to handle the best attacking teams in the country. Clare can do with him controlling the defence because it is a cause for concern at the moment. Another cause for concern for the Banner men going forward is the Goal-Keeping position. The Management team decided to give each goal-keeper a chance throughout this pre-season campaign. Donal Tuohy, Pa Kelly and Andrew Fahy were giving opportunities to impress before the National League gets underway later this month. Whoever gets the No.1 jersey against Tipperary the management team must stick with him throughout the league campaign because the defence will be unsettled if they keep experimenting with the Goal-Keeping position. It is very important that the communication between the goal-keeper and his full-back line is rock solid as they will come up against the top teams in the country. The Clare Supporters will hope that their team can rise up to the challenge.
Limerick have a young team coming through the ranks winning two All-Ireland U21 titles in the last three years. Manager John Kiely will be very pleased with the attitude his team showed throughout this campaign and can take a lot of positives going forward as they attempt to get out of Division 1B at the eighth time of asking. They will underdogs due to the fact that All-Ireland Champions Galway are in the same Division as them however the Treaty men will give them every bit of it.
Limerick started this contest the better team with Aaron Gillane opening the scoring which was followed by a well taken point from midfielder Paul Browne. The Banner men eventually got on the scoreboard after seven minutes thanks to Cathal Malone. Seamus Flanagan and Podge Collins shared the next two points before a placed ball from Cathal ‘Tots’ O’Connell levelled the game for the first time. Tom Morrisey replied for the Treaty men before Cathal Malone hit back for Clare. The full-forward line did not get any service from their team mates as the Limerick Full-Back line were first to the ball on most occasions. Limerick hit the front again through Aaron Gillane (free) and Barry O’Connell. The Banner men replied with two points of their own thanks to Cathal ‘Tots’ O’Connell and Cathal Malone. Limerick finished a poor first half the stronger with scores from Gearoid Hegarty and Aaron Gillane (free) to leave the at the interval 0-08 to 0-06 in favour of the Treaty men.
The Banner men started the second half the brighter scoring three unanswered points through the in-form Cathal Malone, Niall Deasy (free) and Tony Kelly. This was as good as it got from a Clare point of view and spent the rest of the second half chasing shadows and went 35 minutes including added time without scoring. Limerick scored three points without reply through Tom Morrisey (2) and Aaron Gillane (free) before the game’s first flash point took place when a lot of got involved in unnecessary activity which resulted in yellow cards for Seamus Flanagan and Jack Browne. Clare were beginning to lose confidence and belief in themselves by hitting aimless balls into their inside attack and not winning clean possession off their own puck outs. Limerick extended the lead thanks to a brace from Aaron Gillane. The Banner men’s miserable second half got worse when Jack Browne was giving his marching orders for persistent fouling and Clare had a mountain to climb after that set back. Aaron Gillane scored another free and added a further point from play taking his tally for the day to eight points. The Treaty men’s final score of this contest came from Man of the Match Tom Morrisey. The last score of this game came from a placed ball by Clare Substitute David Reidy and Referee Cathal McAllister blew the final whistle shortly afterwards ending a game to forget from a Clare perspective. Limerick were deserving winners of this game as they showed more grit and determination than their opponents throughout the second half and had great performances by Tom Morrisey, Aaron Gillane, Cian Lynch, Seamus Flanagan and Diarmuid Byrnes. Clare were best served by Cathal Malone, David McInerney, and Diarmuid Ryan.
Limerick: Nicky Quaid; Tom Condon, Seamus Hickey, Richie English; Diarmuid Byrnes, Dan Morrisey, William O’Meara; Paul Browne (0-1), Cian Lynch; Tom Morrisey (0-4), Darragh O’Donovan, Barry O’Connell (0-1); Aaron Gillane (0-8,5fs), Seamus Flanagan (0-1), Gearoid Hegarty (0-1).
Subs: Barry Murphy for O’Connell (57 mins), David Reidy for Hegarty (66 mins), Andrew La Touche Cosgrave for T. Morrisey (70 mins).
Clare: Andrew Fahy; Jack Browne, Conor Cleary, Patrick O’Connor; David Fitzgerald, David McInerney, Diarmuid Ryan; Ryan Taylor, Colm Galvin; Tony Kelly (0-1), Cathal Malone (0-4), Niall Deasy (0-1f); Shane O’Donnell, Cathal ‘Tots’ O’Connell (0-2,1f), Podge Collins (0-1).
Subs: David Reidy (0-1f) for Taylor (46 mins), John Conlon for Deasy (52 mins), Conor McGrath for Collins (59 mins), Jason McCarthy for O’Connell (69 mins), Seadna Morey for Fitzgerald (70 mins).
Referee: Cathal McAllister (Cork).