It proved to be redemption for the Banner who now face into next week’s clash with Waterford after their sharper forwards and stronger midfield had them out of sight long before half-time.
Limerick managed a second-half fightback but not before Clare had added another 1-2 after the break.
Despite facing the wind, Mikey Morrissey’s equalising reply to Keelan Sexton held Limerick level for 10 minutes. But after Gary McCarthy’s fisted effort was saved by Killian Normoyle, Aiden Davidson’s point on the break opened the floodgates and another eight unanswered scores had already decided the outcome before Morrissey broke the sequence with a free.
But within seconds as Clare won the kickout, Evan Courtney broke down the right and Liam Madigan finished his cross to the net. Strikes by Sexton, Niall McCarthy and Davidson left the score at 1-13 to 0-2 at the break.
Any lingering Limerick hopes disappeared when Davidson goaled seconds after the restart. But after Madigan and Sexton’s free widened the gap to 19 points, Clare sat back and three points followed by Tommy Childs’ long-range goal raised Treaty spirits. However, despite Richard Hayes and corner-back Seán Murphy scoring two more goals before the finish, the chasm was always too wide to bridge.
Scorers for Clare: Keelan Sexton 0-5 (3 frees), Liam Madigan 1-3, Aiden Davidson 1-2, Evan Courtney 0-3, Conal O’Hanafin, Maccen Byrne, Cian O’Dea, Niall McCarthy 0-1 each.
Scorers for Limerick: Richard Hayes 1-2 (0-2 frees), Mikey Morrissey 0-4 (2 frees), Tommy Childs (free), Seán Murphy 1-0 each, Brian Hurley 0-1.
CLARE: K Normoyle; L Tierney, P Lillis, C Downes; C O’Dea, B Cahill, C Pyne; C O’Hanafin, J Woods; M Byrne, K Sexton, N McCarthy; A Davidson, E Courtney, L Madigan.
Subs: C Magner for C O’Hanafin (40m), C Finnucane for A Davidson (51m), E Hanrahan for C Magner (bc 52m), B O’Connor for N McCarthy (55m),
LIMERICK: A Brudair; S Murphy, M Reidy, F O’Grady; S Ivess, C Flanagan, K Ryan; T Childs, D Noonan; M Morrissey, R Hayes, K Daly; S Stack, C Bourke, G McCarthy.
Subs: S Brosnan for F O’Grady (20m), D Mackin for C Bourke (ht), B Hurley for G McCarthy (ht), B Stack for C Flanagan (43m).
Referee: Alan Kissane (Waterford).