* Shane Meehan under floodlights in Clarecastle tonight. Photo by Gerard O’Neill

Shannonside neighbours and arch rivals, Clare and Limerick got their competitive seasons underway before a full house of 1,500 at the impressive Clarecastle astro turf facility this Wednesday evening.

Limerick 2-21 Clare 1-19

Both availed of the opportunity to give their extended panels an opportunity to impress when they clashed in the opening round of the Munster senior hurling league.

With a more experienced panel of players in action. Limersick emerged as deserving winners but both managements are likely to have left the venue happy with a number of aspects of their displays.

At the end of a contest which produced some good scores, Limerick struck for goals just before the half time whistle and again shortly before the final whistle and these scores played a vital part in their victory.

That Limerick will have plenty of competition for places on their championship team – they meet Clare in the opening round in Ennis on Sunday, April 21 – was evident with good performances from Colin Coughlan, Cathal O’Neill, Adam English and Shane O’Brien to mention a few.

Clare can be happy with the performances of Eamonn Foudy, John Conneally, Darragh Lohan, and Keith Smyth to mention some.

The Shannonsiders had the better of the early exchanges racing into a 0-7 to 0-3 lead in the first quarter. Clare hit back strongly and landed five points without reply to go one ahead with the half time whistle approaching.

Just before the short whistle Limerick struck for a Cathal O’Neill goal and they led at the break on a scoreline of 1-10 to 0-10. Both sides made changes for the second half and scores were shared in the opening minutes before Limerick, with the help of three points in a row, stretched their lead to seven points.

Three in a row from the home side reduced the visitors’ lead to four points as the game moved inside the last quarter.

Limerick then landed four in a row before a goal from substitute Luke Flynn, after Clare goalie Eamonn foudy had saved well from Shane O’Brien, pushed their advantage to ten points. Clare finished strongly with 1-2 in injury time, the goal coming from a long range Eamonn Foudy free which slipped through the fingers of Limerick goalie Jamie Power, but Limerick held for for a merited win.

Clare travel to Pairc Ui Rinn on this Sunday to face Cork in round 2 of the competition.

Scorers; Limerick; Paddy O’Donovan (0-7, 5 frees); Cathal O’Neill (1-1); Donnacda O’Dalaigh (0-4); Shane O’Brien (0-3) Luke Flynn (1-0); Colin Coughlan, Micheál Houlihan (0-2) each; Barry Murphy, Adam English (0-1) each

Clare; Mark Rodgers (3 frees) David Conroy (0-4) each; David Reidy (1 free), Keith Smyth (1 free, 0-3 each) Eamonn Foudy (1-0); Shane Meehan (0-2);Diarmuid Cahill, Keelan Hartigan, Paddy Donnellan (0-1) each

Limerick; Jamie Power (Monaleen); Emmet McEvoy (Na Piarsaigh), Dan Morrissey (Ahane), Fergal O’Connor (Effin); Mark Quinlan (Garrypillane, Ethan Hurley (Newcastle West), Ciaran Barry (Ahane); Barry Murphy (Doon),Colin Coughlan (Ballybrown); Micheál Houlihan (Kilmallock), Paddy O’Donovan (Effin), Cathal O’Neill (Crecora.Mainister; Donnacda O’Dalaigh (Monaleen), Shane O’Brien (Kilmallock), Adam English (Doon);

Subs; David Fitzgerald (Kildimo/Pallaskenry) for Quinlan; Aaron Costello(Kilmallock) for F. O’Connor; Joe Fitzgerald (Monaleen) for B. Murphy; Luke Flynn (Granagh/Ballingarry) for English; Liam Lynch (Mungret St. Pauls) for O’Neill; Oisin O’Reilly (Kilmallock) for O’Dalaigh; Darragh Langan (Monaleen) for C. Barry; Mike Keane(Adare) for McEvoy

Clare; Eamonn Foudy (Inagh-Kilnamona); Paul Flanagan (Ballyea), Conor Leen, (Corofin), John Conneally (Clooney-Quin); Darragh Lohan (Wolfe Tones), Conn Smyth (Feakle), Cian Galvin (Clarecaatle); Daviid Conroy (St Josephs), Diarmuid Ryan Cratloe), Colm O’Meara (Clonlara), David Reidy (Eire Og), Shane Meehan (Banner); Keith Smyth (Killanena), Mark Rodgers (Scariff), Diarmuid Cahill (Corofin);

Subs; Ross Hayes (Crusheen) for Leen; Gearoid Sheedy (Ogonnelloe) for O’Meara; Stephen Conway (Feakle) for Cahill; Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin) for Rodgers; Keelan Hartigan (Scariff) for Meehan; Paddy Donnellan (Broadford) for C. Smyth; Jack Kirwan (Parteen-Meelick) for Reidy; David Tuohy (Clarecastle) for Flanagan; Dylan McMcMahon(Clonlara) for Lohan.

Referee; Alan Tierney, Tipperary

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If you’re here, you care about County Clare. So do we. Did you rely on us for Covid-19 updates, follow our election coverage, or visit The Clare Echo every week for breaking news and sport? The Clare Echo invests in local journalism and we want to safeguard its future in our county. By becoming a subscriber you are supporting what we do, will receive access to all our premium articles and a better experience, while helping us improve our offering to you. Subscribe to clareecho.ie and get the first six months for just €3 a month (less than 75c per week), and thereafter €8 per month. Cancel anytime, limited time offer. T&Cs Apply. www.clareecho.ie.

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