Clare dominated the opening half, with an early five point unanswered haul, three from the stick of Colin Ryan, pushing them 0-6 to 0-2 clear by the 15th minute. Limerick did reduce that deficit to two, mainly through the influence of Declan Hannon but with the aforementioned Ryan and midfield partner Nicky O’Connell pulling the strings, Clare powered to a ten point half-time advantage.
Jonathan Clancy chipped in with a brace of points and also had a hand in the opening goal, laying off a pass to Sean Collins to fire beyond keeper Aaron Murphy on the half hour.
Hannon struck back immediately with a point but in the next passage of play, Patrick Donnellan’s long delivery was gathered by the towering Alan O’Neill to claim a second goal for the Banner on their way to a 2-11 to 0-7 interval lead.
The home side made six changes at the break and it had an immediate impact, as substitutes Shane Dowling (4) and David Reidy orchestrated a Limerick revival to reduce the arrears to just six points by the 45th minute. That was as good as it got for John Allen’s side however as Clare matched any further Limerick efforts, with Nicky O’Connell and Limerick sub David Reidy producing an impressive late scoring duel.
Scorers for Clare: S. Collins 1-3, N. O’Connell 0-5 (0-1f), C. Ryan 0-5 (0-3f), A. O’Neill 1-0, J. Conlon 0-2 (0-1f), J. Clancy 0-2, S. O’Donnell 0-1.
Scorers for Limerick: S. Dowling 0-5 (0-3f, 1’65), D. Reidy 0-4, D. Hannon 0-3 (0-2f), S. O’Brien, N. Moran, P. O’Brien, A. Breen, B. O’Connell, P. Ahern 0-1 each.
CLARE: D. Tuohy; C. Duggan, J. McInerney, C. Cooney; B. Bugler, P. Donnellan, L. Markham; N. O’Connell, C. Ryan; J. Conlon, S. Collins, E. Barrett; J. Clancy, A. O’Neill, S. O’Donnell
Subs: P. Kelly (Clarecastle) for Markham (47), P. Kelly (Inagh/Kilnamona) for Tuohy (54), F. Lynch for O’Neill (57), M. Flaherty for O’Donnell (57), C. Nelson for Duggan (62), A. O’Neill for Barrett (65)
LIMERICK: A. Murphy; A. Dempsey, P. Begley, S. O’Neill; S. Walsh, W. McNamara, C. King; P. O’Brien, D. Moloney; D. Hannon, D. Breen, S. O’Brien; M. Ryan, N. Moran, A. Breen
Subs: N. Quaid for Murphy (h-t), M. Carmody for Dempsey (h-t), T. Condon for O’Neill (h-t), S. Dowling for Hannon (h-t), D. Reidy for Ryan (h-t), P. Ahern for A. Breen (h-t), B. O’Connell for Moloney (54), M. O’Connell for D. Breen (58)
Referee: Cathal McAllister (Cork).