Limerick 3-14 Clare 2-15: Willie Griffin played a captain’s part in Thurles as Limerick’s intermediate hurlers got a memorable day off to a winning start.
Adare clubman Griffin hit 2-6 as his side saw off a youthful Clare outfit in the Munster intermediate hurling championship quarter-final, to set up a Munster semi-final with Tipperary on June 21.
Limerick were six points behind in the first half but a deadly two-goal blast midway through the second half provided a winning platform.
Mike Fitzgerald was on the pitch less than four minutes when he blasted home Limerick’s second goal before Griffin struck a beauty. The quickfire strikes handed Limerick a 2-13 to 2-9 lead . The sides were level twice in the early stages, and again after half-time, but Limerick were full value for the win.
At half-time, Limerick were 0-9 to 1-8 behind as Ian Galvin’s sixth minute goal effectively separated the sides.
And Clare bagged a second goal in the 38th minute, with opposite corner forward Ryan Taylor on target. That prompted a response from Limerick and the introduction of Fitzgerald was a masterstroke from boss Don Flynn.
He cracked home the goal that renewed the Limerick challenge before Griffin netted twice in five minutes. 2007 All-Star goalkeeper Brian Murray also played his part for Limerick between the sticks, with crucial saves.
Galvin hit 1-5 for Clare but it wasn’t enough to prevent defeat for the team managed by Donal Moloney, one half of Clare’s former U21 management team. David Conroy also impressed with four points from play, including three in the first half, for Clare.
Limerick were wasteful before the break, registering eight wides, but when goal chances presented themselves, they were clinically taken. Limerick haven’t won the Munster intermediate hurling title since 2008 but victory over Tipp next month would put them within an hour of provincial glory.
For Clare, the dream of a first Munster crown since 2011 came to an abrupt end, despite an encouraging first half.
Scorers for Limerick:
W Griffin 2-6 (0-3f), M Fitzgerald 1-0, D Byrnes 0-3 (2f, 1 65), W Hickey & M Carmody 0-2 each, K O’Brien 0-1.
Scorers for Clare:
I Galvin 1-5 (0-4f), D Conroy 0-4, R Taylor 1-0, M O’Malley 0-3 (1f), S McGrath, S Ward & D Moloney 0-1 each.
E Quilligan; A McGuane, E Quirke, L Corry; D Fitzgerald, B O’Gorman, B Carey; S McGrath, D Conroy; M O’Malley, S Ward, S Taylor; I Galvin, D Moloney, R Taylor.
B Corry for Moloney (37), R Hayes for O’Gorman (47), K Hehir for Carey (49), C Moloney for Taylor (52), C Fennessy for L Corry (58).
B Murray; S Finn, B O’Connell, M Reidy; D Moloney, D Byrnes, B Lynch; R O’Donnell, A Brennan; K O’Brien, W Hickey, M Carmody; W Griffin, M Fitzgibbon, M Ryan.
D O’Donovan for O’Donnell (28), M Fitzgerald for Hickey (41), C Ryan for Fitzgibbon (56), G Murphy for Brennan (60+1).
J O’Brien (Tipperary).
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