Limerick and Cork through to SHC quarter-finals
Hurling:Limerick defeat Clare by four points, while Cork prove too strong for Wexford in the All-Ireland SHC qualifiers.Limerickbeat Clare on a scoreline of 3-18 to 1-20 in a pulsating clash at Semple Stadium. The tenor for the game was set early on when Limerick wing-back Wayne McNamara burst up the field and rounded off his lengthy solo run with a brilliant finish to the net from 20 metres.
Tempers flared on 20 minutes when Graeme Mulcahy was tripped bearing down on goal. Shane Dowling’s effort for a goal from the resultant free was saved but the subsequent scramble for possession devolved into a melee that ended with Limerick’s Niall Moran and Clare’s Cian Dillon being booked, but the only surprise was that someone didn’t see red.
The set-to seemed to unsettle Limerick and Clare reeled off the next five scores of the game, with Conor McGrath finding his range and the half-back line contributing some brilliant scores.
A goal from Sean Tobin for Limerick, as he spectacularly connected with a high ball, roused Limerick again however and they went in at the break leading by a point, 2-9 to 0-14.
Five minutes into the second half Limerick made the decisive move in the game. Declan Hannon, introduced as a sub in the first half, finished a breaking ball expertly to the net and when Graeme Mulcahy pointed from a difficult angle shortly afterwards it catapulted the Treaty men into a five-point lead.
Clare were struggling to make inroads into the deficit with Niall Moran and Dowling proving deadly when presented with opportunities to raise white flags.
With 15 minutes to go Tony Kelly – Clare’s goal hero from the previous round against Dublin – again stood over a 20-metre free. He went for goal but was this time denied by Nicky Quaid, who was outstanding throughout. That save came within a bizarre 13-minute spell that somehow managed to contain some brilliant hurling but no scores for either side.
Kelly was successful with a free three minutes from time, skidding it along the ground to the net to put three between the teams. It looked like we were set for a frantic finish but a Hannon point eased Limerick’s nerves and they held on for a four-point win.
In the day’s earlier game, Corkadvanced to the All-Ireland quarter-finals with a 3-24 to 2-17 win over Wexford. The game started with a welter of goals, Luke O’Farrell’s early effort for Cork was immediately matched by Diarmuid Lyng, but O’Farrell continued to impress, scoring his second goal before earning a penalty that was emphatically despatched by goalkeeper Anthony Nash.
Still Wexford continued to pose a threat through Rory Jacob and Lyng landed a couple of sideline cuts – one of which was scarcely credible – to cut the half-time deficit to 3-7 to 1-11.
Cork had the breeze on the resumption though and gradually took control of the game, and with Patrick Horgan and Niall McCarthy in form they pulled away. Garrett Sinnott pulled a goal back for Wexford but the score – along with the late dismissal of Wexford’s David Redmond – had little influence on the game.
All-Ireland SHC qualifiers, Round Three
Limerick 3-18 Clare 1-20
Cork 3-24 Wexford 2-17