Munster SHC: Impressive Limerick finish strongly
Munster Senior Hurling Championship Quarter-Final and Allianz Hurling League Final
LIMERICK 0-36 CLARE 1-23
By Eoin Brennan at Semple Stadium
An electric second half display ensured that Limerick received the twin boost of Allianz League silverware and a place in the last four of the Munster Senior Championship in Semple Stadium, Thurles this afternoon.
In an unprecedented dual derby, Limerick’s superior spread of scoring threats eventually told against a Clare side led immaculately by talisman Tony Kelly who finished with 17 points.
However, while the holders never successfully curbed the 2013 Player-of-the-Year’s resistance, they did collectively demonstrate a better balance backed by 26 points from play from 11 different scorers. Gearoid Hegarty and Kyle Hayes were particularly prominent in the second period as Limerick finished with eight of the last ten points to run out handsome ten point victors.
Kelly’s heroics dominated a seesaw first half that saw the neighbours locked together on eight occasions, with the Ballyea man’s 12 point tally matched by Aaron Gillane (8), Tom Morrissey (3) and Peter Casey (2) at 0-15 to 0-15 by the interval.
Backed by the sizeable conditions, Limerick hit the ground sprinting for the new half, with six points without reply in the opening five minutes alone signalling their fresh intent at 0-21 to 0-15.
Clare did rally, inevitably though Kelly along with an opportunist goal for starting debutant Ryan Taylor in the 46th minute to slash the arrears to just the minimum. However, it only seemed to anger the champions who would first restore their six point cushion by the turn of the final quarter before finishing the game as a contest by finally put their flagging opponents to the sword with an eight point haul in just 11 minutes.
Limerick’s first back-to-back National League titles since 1985 ensured a fourth major trophy for John Kiely’s men in just two years as they now look to retain their Munster crown, starting with a semi-final showdown with All-Ireland successors Tipperary in Pairc Uí Chaoimh next Sunday.
Scorers for Limerick: Aaron Gillane 0-12 (9fs, 1'65), Gearoid Hegarty 0-5, Tom Morrissey 0-4, Peter Casey, Kyle Hayes, Diarmaid Byrnes 0-3 each, Graeme Mulcahy 0-2, Cian Lynch, Declan Hannon, Seamus Flanagan, Pat Ryan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Clare: Tony Kelly 0-17 (9fs), Ryan Taylor 1-1, Cathal Malone, Diarmuid Ryan 0-2 each, Stephen O’Halloran 0-1.
*LIMERICK: *Nickie Quaid; Sean Finn, Dan Morrissey, Barry Nash; Diarmaid Byrnes, Declan Hannon, Paddy O’Loughlin; Cian Lynch, William O’Donoghue; Gearoid Hegarty, Kyle Hayes, Tom Morrissey; Graeme Mulcahy, Aaron Gillane, Peter Casey.
Subs: Darragh O’Donovan for T. Morrissey (57), Seamus Flanagan for Casey (59), Pat Ryan for Mulcahy (64), David Reidy for O’Donoghue (64), Jerome Boylan for Nash (72).
*CLARE: *Eibhear Quilligan; Jack Browne, Conor Cleary, Rory Hayes; Patrick O’Connor, Seadna Morey, Stephen O’Halloran; David McInerney, Cathal Malone; Diarmuid Ryan, David Reidy, David Fitzgerald; Tony Kelly, Shane O’Donnell, Ryan Taylor.
Subs: Aron Shanagher for Fitzgerald (HT), Aidan McCarthy for Reidy (55), Domhnall McMahon for McInerney (63), Aaron Cunningham for Taylor (70).
REFEREE: Fergal Horgan (Tipperary).