For the first time since 1999, Clare’s senior hurlers have qualified for back to back Munster Finals.
Venue: Cusack Park
Limerick suffered their most comprehensive defeat of the year at the hands of a Clare side clearly lifted from their dramatic two point win over Tipperary seven days previous.
At half time we thought the Munster hurling championship had returned to Cusack Park with a bang. Tensions tend to overflow when the neighbours go to war and that was the case once more with both teams losing a man each to injury and being reduced to fourteen men before the break. The atmosphere dropped when Clare pulled away, Limerick’s challenge dwindled and there was a sigh of relief from the Banner contingent that they would not have to face their neighbours in the provincial final thanks to Cork beating Waterford.
Clare hit the ground running with white flags from Peter Duggan and John Conlon. Tom Morrissey opened Limerick’s account on six minutes. It was the battle of the freetakers for the most part with Peter Duggan slotting seven placed balls in the first half and Shane Dowling four.
Heavy hits were commonplace throughout with Seadna Morey and Sean Finn having to retire early through injury. Their replacements had quite the impact. David Fitzgerald popped over two points while Tom Condon had an eventful time on the field as he got himself involved in an altercation with David Reidy, referee James Owens showed a red card to both but noticeably there was two minutes between him flashing the card to Condon and then Reidy.
Tony Kelly swapped scores with Tom Morrissey and Seamus Flanagan on the resumption with efforts from Duggan and Conlon following. Gearoid Hegarty and Dan Morrissey reduced the gap to five on forty five minutes but from here out Clare upped the ante to seal the deal.
Prior to the throw-in, power went in Cusack Park on two to three separate occasions, the same thing seemed to happen Limerick for a finish. Playing championship three weeks in a row seems to be the easy explanation for this. They were due a bad day at the office and this was it, the test now for them is to reflect and regroup, they will and it will be no surprise to see them in an All-Ireland semi-final although they may have to take the scenic route. Cian Lynch and Dan Morrissey kept their fight going till the end, Mike Casey and Tom Morrissey did well in stages.
Donal Moloney and Gerry O’Connor are the first Clare managers since Ger Loughnane to lead their side to back to back Munster finals. Now the challenge is to collect the silverware. They’ll be happy with the result and rightly so, once again their full-back line was very strong, Browne, O’Connor and McInerney are limiting the influence of very talented inter-county forwards and on top of that they helped Donal Tuohy keep a clean sheet, Limerick’s full-forward line scored just two points from play. Jamie Shanahan launched several attacks from wing-back, once again John Conlon and Peter Duggan led their attack.
1. Donal Tuohy (Crusheen)
4. Jack Browne (Ballyea)
2. Patrick O’Connor (Tubber) – CAPTAIN
3. David McInerney (Tulla)
4. Jack Browne (Ballyea)
5. Seadna Morey (Sixmilebridge)
6. Conor Cleary (St Josephs Miltown)
7. Jamie Shanahan (Sixmilebridge) (0-01)
8. Colm Galvin (Clonlara) (0-01)
9. Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge)
10. Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin) (0-13 10f 1’65)
11. Tony Kelly (Ballyea) (0-05 1’65)
12. David Reidy (Éire Óg Inis)
13. Podge Collins (Cratloe)
14. John Conlon (Clonlara) (0-04)
15. Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg Inis)
19. David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona) (0-02) for Morey (14) (Inj)
18. Jason McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona) for Malone (54)
23. Ian Galvin (Clonlara) for Fitzgerald (61)
25. Conor McGrath (Cratloe) for O’Donnell (65)
24. Michael O’Neill (Kilmaley) for Collins (70)
1: Nickie Quaid (Effin)
2: Sean Finn (Bruff)
3: Mike Casey (Na Piarsaigh)
4: Richie English (Doon)
5: Diarmaid Byrnes (Patrickswell) (0-01)
6: Declan Hannon (Adare)
7: Dan Morrissey (Ahane) (0-01)
8: Darragh O’Donovan (Doon) (0-01 1SC)
9: Cian Lynch (Patrickswell) (0-01)
10: Gearoid Hegarty (St Patricks) (0-01)
11: Kyle Hayes (Kildimo-Pallaskenry) (0-01)
12: Tom Morrissey (Ahane) (0-03)
13: Seamus Flanagan (Feohanagh) (0-01)
14: Shane Dowling (Na Piarsaigh) (0-04 4f)
15: Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock).
18: Tom Condon (Knockaderry) for Finn (13) (Inj)
22: Richie McCarthy (Blackrock) for Mulcahy (HT)
20: Aaron Gillane (Patrickswell) (0-01) for Flanagan (49)
19: David Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh) for Hegarty (56)
24: Barry Nash (South Liberties) for English (56)
Referee: James Owens (Wexford)