*Clare’s Shane Meehan. Photograph: Martin Connolly
Clare have been defeated in the Munster minor hurling final as Limerick claimed their eighth title at their neighbours’ expense.
Venue: LIT Gaelic Grounds
Overall there can be no complaints with the result as Limerick were the better team over the hour and as a result the honour of lifting the provincial crown fairly rests with them.
Although the action commenced 150 minutes before the hotly anticipated senior decider, supporters from both Clare and Limerick ensured they were in their seats early for the minor final. Their punctuality was not rewarded with an underwhelming first half on show. The restructuring to the age of the grade now means the players taking to the field are seventeen at most, for them this was their biggest sporting occasion to partake in thus far and so their nerves and adjusting to Munster Final day are partly the reasons for the tame first thirty minutes.
Tony Butler and Shane Meehan, two members of Clare’s 2018 minor side were first on the board with a point each inside the opening four minutes. Within the next four minutes, Limerick through Adam English and Cathal O’Neill were on level terms.
Three scores in succession saw the visitors regain their advantage but Diarmuid Mullins’ charges swung the tie in their favour with four white flags on the bounce. Cathal O’Neill and Patrick O’Donovan pointed for Limerick as Killian O’Connor and Cormac Murphy did likewise for the Banner. O’Neill added his sixth score of the half with Adam English adding another to give the hosts a two point advantage at half-time.
By forty three minutes, Limerick had built up a four point advantage, the biggest gap between the teams in the game so far as the Treaty County outscored Clare three points to one since the restart.
An excellent run from Shane Meehan resulting in the Ennis teenager bursting the net at the Gaelic Grounds causing subsequent confusion as to whether a green or white flag should be raised. A delayed celebration followed but it was to be short lived as the theme of the day ‘anything you can do I do better’ being epitomised by Limerick who goaled in their next attack as Adam O’Connor excellently held off his opponents before passing to a clinical Patrick O’Donovan.
It was a setback Clare would never recover from as Limerick’s sucker punch quelled any possibly chance of momentum growing within their ranks. They would go on to hit five of the final eight scores to secure their success.
When they met earlier in the championship, three points was the gap at the final whistle, on Munster Final day it was six points with Limerick bringing a better workrate and hurling approach the second time round, for them Cathal O’Neill, Aidan O’Connor, Patrick Reale and Adam English impressed
Clare don’t have long to lick their wounds as they face Kilkenny in Thurles on Saturday, the test for them is to see how they respond as an uncharacteristic showing on Munster final day. Adam Hogan was Clare’s standout player.
Scorers for Limerick: Cathal O’Neill 0-9 (6fs), Patrick O’Donovan 1-1, Aidan O’Connor 0-3, Adam English and Patrick Reale 0-2 each.
Scorers for Clare: Shane Meehan 1-2 (1f), Conner Hegarty and Cian Galvin (2fs) 0-2 each, Killian O’Connor, Tony Butler, Cormac Murphy, Keith Smyth, and Diarmaid Cahill 0-1 each.
1: Aaron Shanahan (Tulla)
5: Jarlath Collins (Éire Óg)
3: Adam Hogan (Feakle)
2: Storm Devanney (Sixmilebridge)
8: Colm O Meara (Clonlara)
6: Cian Galvin (Clarecastle)
7: Tony Butler (St Josephs Doora/Barefield)
11: Oisin Clune (Feakle)
17: Oisin O’Donnell (Crusheen)
23: Dylan Downes (Sixmilebridge)
9: Cormac Murphy (O’Callaghans Mills)
10: Killian O Connor (Corofin)
15: Diarmaid Cahill (Corofin)
13: Shane Meehan (Banner)
14: Conner Hegarty (Inagh/Kilnamona)
22: Sean Ronan (Kilmaley) for Cahill (42)
12: Keith Smyth (Killanena) for Murphy (46)
1. Jack Franklin (Kilteely / Dromkeen)
2. Adam Murrihy (Ahane)
3. Ronan Lyons (Monaleen)
4. Fergal O’Connor (Effin)
5. Jimmy Quilty (Blackrock)
6. Ethan Hurley (Newcastle West)
7. Colin Coughlan (Ballybrown)
9. Patrick Reale (Knockainey)
8. Patrick Kirby (Patrickswell)
11. Cathal O’Neill (Crecora Manister)
10. Adam English (Doon)
15. Liam Lynch (Mungret St Pauls)
13. Aidan O’Connor (Ballybrown)
14. Patrick O’Donovan (Effin)
12. Eddie Stokes (Doon)
Diarmuid Hegarty (St Patricks) for Lynch (58),
Michael Cremin (Newcastle West) for O’Donovan (60),
Cian Casey (Ahane) for Stokes (60+2),
Conor Hanley Clarke (Kilmallock) for English (60+4).
Referee: Nathan Wall (Cork)