Emmet McMahon. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill

A fourth win in five Allianz National Football League outings has kept Clare’s bid for promotion alive in Division 3.

Mark Fitzgerald’s side recorded a 1-16 0-14 win over Limerick in Rathkeale which tees them up for important clashes with Antrim and Down.

Nineteen players were given game time over the course of Saturday’s tie and their performances are rated here exclusively for Clare Echo subscribers.

Stephen Ryan –

Stephen may be the stand in captain while Cillian Brennan is sidelined with injury but he is certainly living up to the role by showing greater leadership and confidence in this campaign than any before. It’s a second clean sheet in as many games for the Kilrush netminder but he’ll be among the first to admit he struggled at times in the second half when Limerick pushed up on his kickout. This pressure saw him kick one straight out over the sideline but to his credit he regained his composure.

Rating: 7

Manus Doherty. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
Manus Doherty –

A fine defensive and attacking performance from Manus who once again demonstrated his electric burst of pace to full effect. He nullified the challenge of Peter Nash and kept the lively corner forward scoreless forcing his substitution before the hour mark. The Éire Óg man also chipped in with two invaluable points, both fisted efforts, the first ended a nine minute scoring drought at the start of the second half and the second was Clare’s last score of the tie.

Rating: 8

Ronan Lanigan is beaten in the air. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
Ronan Lanigan –

Faced arguably a step-up on the quality of players he marked in the last two rounds and Ronan found the going tough at times with James Naughton. Lanigan is an intelligent chap so it comes as no surprise that he generally makes the smart and right decision when in possession, he is linking the ball very well but can do more to better organise the defence around him.

Rating: 7

Micheál Garry –

As has been flagged in previous notes on Micheál, he plays on the edge, a border between rough physicality and conceding soft frees, it’s a tight rope, one he fell off against Offaly with a first half yellow card prompting management to substitute him. On the physical side in Rathkeale, he made good hits but was also a tad too loose allowing Jamie Baynham kick three points from play.

Rating: 6

Ikem Ugwueru leads the charge. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
Ikem Ugwueru –

A clear sign of Ikem’s importance to the side was how much they struggled when he was forced off at half-time. The Ennis man is one of Clare’s best attacking platforms from wing-back, his strength means he is difficult to deal with and he is not letting go of the ball easily. Could learn from his clubmate Doherty on how to manoeuvre a few fisted scores but is continuing to create a high amount of scoring opportunities for his colleagues which included three first half assists.

Rating: 8

Alan Sweeney. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
Alan Sweeney –

Showed his quality at breaking through the lines at speed in the opening half, this was most clear in Alan’s involvement to Ciaran Downes’ point on fifteen minutes. On the counter-attack Sweeney is excellent but the spine of the Clare defence is cutting cut open on too many occasions, at centre back he is a big part to play in minding the house but is leaving the front door open too frequently.

Rating: 6

Daniel Walsh kicks a score. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
Daniel Walsh –

Thundered into the game and Daniel delivered a fine opening half which included kicking two points. A comfortable and confident shooter, Walsh is not afraid to have a pop and is one of Clare’s accurate men in possession. He linked up very well with Emmet McMahon down the left flank in the first half, one such example was the goal on twenty two minutes. However the Kilmurry Ibrickane man is fading out of games, this coinciding with the patches in when the pressure is mounting on Clare.

Rating: 7

Brian McNamara –

An evening to remember for Brian Mc as he kicked his first goal at senior level for the county. Indeed it was a bullet of a shot from the Cree man that went to the roof of the Limerick net following good work from Daniel Walsh and Emmet McMahon. He’s settling into the role but needed to demonstrate his fielding ability when the tide was against Clare.

Rating: 7

Gavin Murray –

Similar to McNamara at midfield Gavin struggled in the second half on the fielding front as Limerick gobbled up high kickouts from Stephen Ryan on their way to four points without reply at two separate junctures. Was caught out of position at times which hindered his ability to make tackles.

Rating: 6

Dermot Coughlan –

With an excellent score on six minutes, Dermot once again demonstrated his confidence at shot taking is now a constant part of his game with the county side. Would have had a more prominent role but drifted back and assumed a deeper role with many of Clare’s defenders further up field than him when Clare had the aid of the conditions.

Rating: 7

Cormac Murray –

A third successive start for Miltown Malbay’s Cormac and it is fully merited. He’s adding an electricity to the Clare attack and is weaving through opposing defences with joy. Kicked two points to follow up his tally of two goals versus Wicklow.

Rating: 7

Emmet McMahon quickly distributes the ball. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
Emmet McMahon –

Not alone did Emmet kick four sublime scores in the first half but he moved the ball at exceptional speed to chip in with multiple assists including for two defining scores, Brian Mc’s first half goal and Manus Doherty’s first point of the second half. Defensively Emmet will need to offer more as Limerick players were finding it a bit too easy to evade his challenges.

Rating: 8

Ciaran Downes –

With each passing game Ciaran’s confidence in the Clare jersey is rising. The challenge for him over the remaining two games is to now back himself to have a pop when in a scoring position. Ran well and recovered if handling errors went astray. Will be happy to have joined his teammates on the scoresheet.

Rating: 7

Aaron Griffin goes for goal but has to settle for a point. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
Aaron Griffin –

Supply of ball to Aaron totally dried up in the second half but he managed to finish the evening with four points to his name. Should have had a goal in the first half but slightly hesitated but maybe he was caught by surprise to have a kickout land straight in his lap. Overall is offering a lot more to the side than previous seasons.

Rating: 8

Joe McGann –

Glimpses of McGann’s electricity were evident in the first half but more game time is going to benefit the Doolin man. By the time of his substitution on fifty four minutes his involvement had waned but prior to this he chipped in with turnovers and won frees, the more games he can get under his belt the better.

Rating: 7

Subs:

Darren Nagle –

Replaced ikem Ugwueru at half-time and didn’t bring the line breaking skill that the Éire Óg man offers in abundance. Still Nagle made himself available and made plenty of selfless runs to offer himself as an option for teammates. Likely to get called out by Mark Fitzgerald during a video analysis session for his shot on goal in the second half.

Rating: 6

Jamie Stack in action. Photograph: Gerard O’Neill
Jamie Stack –

It was a vital but almost unnoticed role from Jamie in helping to stem the tide on Saturday evening. Limerick had just put four points together back to back at a time when Clare were crying out to win a kickout, he managed to get a flick on the ball as it hung in the air, it fell onto the path of Cormac Murray and he duly obliged to score on fifty nine minutes, two points from Griffin followed and with that Clare put the game to bed. Stack was not overly influential but showed he has the flair and confidence for senior level.

Rating: 6

Tom McDonald –

Brought into the fray with sixty eight minutes on the clock, Tom should have been on the field much sooner. Management should have took a punt on the towering Parish man to try field Stephen Ryan’s kickouts so that he could showcase if he was up to the task or not.

Rating: 6

Mark McInerney –

not on long enough to be rated

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Subscribe for just €3 per month

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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