The Cratloe man was the difference in the Gaelic Grounds, last night, with a haul of 2-1 from play.
Clare, who were beaten by Limerick after extra time last season, led 1-5 to 0-5 at half time. Limerick senior player Eoghan O’Connor had the home side off the mark after just 30 seconds but it was a McInerney goal in the 16th minute that divided the teams by the break. The dual player finished expertly after winning possession in the right corner and working his way goalwards before crashing to the net.
Jamie Lee and captain Derry O’Connor had early Limerick scores with Darren O’Neill, Enda Finucane and Stephen Tierney on the mark for Clare as the sides were level 0-3 each after the opening quarter.
Then came the Clare goal and both McInerney and Tierney added points to hand them a five-point lead. Limerick fought back and points from O’Connor and Ian Corbett left just a goal between them at the break.
Limerick started the second-half well with Francis O’Riordan, Eoghan O’Connor and Derry O’Connor on target to level the game 0-9 to 1-6.
Then McInerney struck for his second goal — cooly slotting home after Shane Brennan carved the opening for a 2-9 to 0-7 lead.
But that was to be their last score as Limerick searched for an equaliser but could only engineer a free from Eoghan O’Connor.
Scores for Limerick: E O’Connor 0-5 (4fs), D O’Connor 0-2, J Lee, I Corbett, F O’Riordan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Clare: C McInerney 2-1, S Tierney 0-3, D O’Neill 0-2 (1f), E Finucane 0-1.
LIMERICK: J Brouder; A Morrissey, A O’Sullivan, C McLoughlin; J O’Meara, T McCarthy, S Sheahan; D Treacy, I Corbett, D O’Connor, E O’Connor, F O’Riordan; D O’Dea, J Donovan, J Lee.
Subs: J Lane for D O’Dea (45), D Bonfil for J Donovan (51), P Quinn for D Treacy (28), T Quilligan for J Lee (58).
CLARE: W De Loughery; E Ralph, E Malone, M O’Connor; S Malone, S Collins, S Tierney; K O’Connor, C Ryan; D O’Neill, P Collins, S Brennan; E Finucane, C McInerney, S O’Driscoll.
Subs: M O’Shea for S O’Driscoll (35), M Malone for K O’Connor (43), J Looney for C Ryan (50), R Linnane for E Finucane (59), O Vaughan for E Ralph (62).
Referee: D O’Mahoney (Tipperary).