By Eoghan Cormican, Gaelic Grounds
Limerick 2-11 Clare 1-8
A goal apiece from substitutes John Ryan and Cian Magnier Flynn handed Limerick victory in this Munster MHC first round clash.
Ahead by 0-11 to 1-7 after 52 minutes, Ryan grabbed a long delivery into the Limerick inside line and hopped the sliotar in front of Clare ‘keeper Killian Nugent for their first goal.
Clare attempted to fight their way back into the contest, but the result was decided when Cian Magnier Flynn rattled in a second Limerick goal deep in stoppages.
Clare, despite having the wind in the first-half, opted to redeploy centre-forward David Fitzgerald to the half-back line and operate with just two men in their inside line. It was a move that paid no real dividend as Limerick full-back William O’Meara hurled a significant amount of ball in the opening period.
The visitors did get off to the perfect start; Ian Murray pulling to the net one minute in after Limerick ‘keeper Mark O’Kelly attempted handpass when bursting off his line went astray.
Limerick answered with three on the bounce through Mark O’Dwyer (free), Conor Boylan and Kyle Hayes, and while Sean O’Loughlin nudged the Banner back in front, they would fail to add to their tally in the ensuing 17 minutes of action.
Mark O’Dwyer (free), Cal McCarthy and Brian Ryan returned the home outfit in front during this period, 0-6 to 1-1, but the sides would return to the dressing room deadlocked as Clare hit the three of the final four points of the half to tie matters at 1-4 to 0-7.
Scorers for Limerick: C Magnier Flynn, J Ryan (1-0 each); M O’Dwyer (0-3, 0-3 frees); C Boylan, K Hayes (0-2 each); D Carroll, B Ryan, C McCarthy, C O’Connor (0-1 each).
Scorers for Clare: S O’Loughlin (0-4, 0-4 frees); I Murray (1-0); A Kennedy (0-2); C Tierney (0-1).
Limerick: M Kelly (Croom); B Nash (South Liberties), W O’Meara (Askeaton), B Timmons (Murroe/Boher); J Adams (Ballybrown), C O’Connor (Kilmallock), F Hourigan (Murroe/Boher); C Nicholas (Monaleen), C McCarthy (Kilmallock); K Hayes (Kildimo/Pallaskenry), D Carroll (Newport), B Ryan (South Liberties); C Boylan (Na Piarsaigh), A Barrett (Kilmallock), M O’Dwyer (Monaleen).
Subs: C Magnier Flynn (Kileedy) for Barrett (HT), J Ryan (Doon) for O’Dwyer (45), D Woulfe (Kilmallock) for McCarthy (58), C Flahive (Mungret) for Timmons (58), D Minihan (Ahane) for O’Connor (63).
Clare: K Nugent (O’Callaghan’s Mills); C McInerney (Inagh Kilnamona), D O’Loughlin (Corofin), K White (Inagh Kilnamona); P Mulready (Sixmilebridge), C Noonan (Killanena),T O’Meara (Killanena); R Hayes (Crusheen), C Tierney (St Joseph’s Doora Barefield); G Cooney (O’Callaghan’s Mills), D Fitzgerald (Crusheen), S Kennedy (Kilmaley); S O’Loughlin (Kilmaley), K Galvin (Clonlara), I Murray (Bodyke).
Subs: A Kennedy (Kilmaley) for Murray (40 mins), S Costelloe (Wolfe Tones) for McInerney (41, inj), T Connellan (Eire Og) for Cooney (49), M Danaher (Cratloe) for Galvin (58).
Referee: T Walsh (Waterford).