Clare 0-15 Limerick 0-13
By Eoghan Cormican, Cusack Park
Clare have advanced to meet Cork in the Munster football championship semi-final after this hard-fought victory over Limerick at Cusack Park, Ennis.
Clare's Gary Brennan celebrates with Davy O'Halloranat the final whistle today. Picture: Inpho
The visitors, behind by five at the break, thrice reduced the gap to the minimum coming down the home stretch, but never could they draw level with Clare.
John Brudair’s men outscored Clare by 0-6 to 0-1 between the 43rd and 57th minute to reduce the deficit to the solitary, 0-13 to 0-12. Podge Collins set-up sub Rory Donnelly in the ensuing passage of play to ease the pressure on the home outfit.
Ian Ryan again cut the deficit to the minimum, but Clare refused to allow parity be achieved – sub Cathal McInerney landing a pressure free.
Treaty goalkeeper Brian Scanlon split the posts from the ’45 as the clock spilled into time added on and Limerick pushed for the equaliser in the subsequent action. The Clare defence were both composed and disciplined in frustrating their opponent’s efforts. McInerney wrapped up this quarter-final contest with his second point deep into stoppages.
The winners had returned to the dressing room 0-9 to 0-4 in front at half-time and were full value for their five-point advantage. The sides were squared at 0-2 apiece after 10 minutes, but by this juncture Clare had already kicked five wides and forced Limerick goalkeeper Scanlon into a smart save to deny Shane Brennan.
It was the latter who kicked the first of Clare’s four unanswered minors thereafter, Gary Brennan, Cathal O’Connor (’45) and a superb individual effort from Podge Collins moving the Banner 0-6 to 0-2 clear 23 minutes in.
Scanlon raised a first Limerick first white flag in 20 minutes to stop the rot, but momentum rested with Clare and they finished out the half with further scores from Eoin Cleary and two from the right boot of the superb Gary Brennan.
Scorers for Clare: G Brennan (0-4); R Donnelly, C McInerney (0-1 free), E Cleary (0-2 each); C O’Connor (45), Sean Collins, J Malone, S Brennan, P Collins (0-1 each).
Scorers for Limerick: I Ryan (0-4, 0-2 frees); B Scanlon (0-3, 0-2 45’s, 0-1); P Nash (0-2 each); D Neville, I Corbett, S Cahill, T Lee.
Clare: J Hayes; C Russell, K Hartnett, M McMahon; S Hickey, G Kelly, D Ryan; G Brennan, C O’Connor; Sean Collins, J Malone, S Brennan; E Cleary, P Burke, P Collins.
Subs: Stephen Collins for Hickey (HT, inj), R Donnelly for S Brennan (40 mins, inj), D O’Halloran for Malone (47, bc) C McInerney for Clear (58), C Dunning for Stephen Collins (65), K Sexton for Burke (69).
Limerick: B Scanlon; S O’Sea, J McCarthy, R Browne; I Corbett, C Fahy, S Cahill; T Lee, G Hegarty; S Buckley, D Treacy, J Riordan; P Nash, P Ranahan, I Ryan.
Subs: D Neville for Lee (35 mins), C Sheehan for Riordan (HT), K Moore for Ranahan (56), G Noonan for Browne (62), K Phair for Nash (70, bc).
Referee: D O’Mahoney (Tipperary).