Shannonsiders edge past Clare in hurling qualifier

Clare 1-20 Limerick 3-18

Shannonsiders edge past Clare in hurling qualifier

Clare 1-20 Limerick 3-18

Shane Dowling and Niall Moran combined for 0-13 as Limerick edged past Clare in this evening’s All-Ireland SHC phase 3 qualifier at Semple Stadium.

Teen sensation Dowling was nerveless from placed balls while Moran bagged 0-5 from play as the Shannonsiders secured a priceless win.

The teams had met on four previous occasions in 2012 – and Clare were unbeaten before this latest clash between the neighbours.

Clare had come through a Waterford Crystal Cup quarter-final after a replay – and beat Limerick twice in Division 1B of the National Hurling League.

The Banner County whipped Limerick by 14 points on the opening weekend of the National League before a come from behind victory in the divisional decider.

But Limerick got the Clare monkey off their backs in fine style this evening – with special praise reserved for experienced Adare star Moran.

He’s often been the subject of stinging criticism from Limerick fans but the roving full-forward answered the doubters in the best possible fashion with a stunning display.

Moran had three points posted by the sixth minute and would add two more in the second half.

Both goalkeepers excelled too with some excellent saves – Nickie Quaid blocking two Tony Kelly 20m frees at crucial times while Patrick Kelly pulled off two fine first half saves in the Clare goal.

Quaid’s net was finally rattled two minutes from time when Kelly finally goaled from a 20m free.

That score cut the gap back to just three points – Clare trailing by 1-19 to 3-16 – but Limerick had the wherewithal to close the game out.

And first half goals would prove crucial for the Shannonsiders in front of 20142 spectators at Semple Stadium.

Wayne McNamara bagged the first in the fourth minute, bursting forward from the half back line to crack home a super effort at the Town End.

And two minutes before the break, Seanie Tobin flicked home a booming Gavin O’Mahony free for Limerick’s second goal.

The Treaty men led by just a point at half-time – 2-9 to 0-14 – but would lead by seven points on three occasions during the second half.

Clare looked to be in a good position approaching the break, having reeled off seven unanswered points following a melee that saw full-back Cian Dillon and Moran booked.

But Limerick responded with an unanswered run of 1-3 to regain the lead, having fallen 1-7 to 0-13 behind.

Scorers for Clare: C McGrath 0-6 (4f), T Kelly 1-2 (1-1f), N O’Connell 0-4 (3f, 1 65) C Galvin 0-3, J Conlon 0-2, B Bugler, P Donnellan & A Cunningham 0-1 each.

Scorers for Limerick: S Dowling 0-8f, N Moran 0-5, S Tobin 1-1, W McNamara & D Hannon 1-0 each, G Mulcahy 0-2, G O’Mahony 0-1f, K Downes 0-1.

CLARE: P Kelly; D O’Donovan, C Dillon, S Morey; B Bugler, P Donnellan, N O’Connell; C Galvin, S Collins; F Lynch, J Conlon, T Kelly; A Cunningham, D Honan, C McGrath.

Subs: L Markham for Collins (50), C Ryan for Cunningham (64), J Clancy for Honan (64).

LIMERICK: N Quaid; S Walsh, R McCarthy, T Condon; W McNamara, D O’Grady, G O’Mahony; P O’Brien, J Ryan; S Dowling, B Geary, D Breen; G Mulcahy, N Moran, S Tobin.

Subs: D Hannon for Geary (29), K Downes for Tobin (59), S O’Neill for Condon (inj, 60), S Hickey for J Ryan (62), T Ryan for Mulcahy (70).

Referee: B Gavin (Offaly).

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