Limerick manager threatened to pull out of Clare tie

Banner county face uphill task against Kerry after overcoming Billy Lee’s fractured outfit

Limerick 0-14 Clare 1-23

Clare made short work of the Limerick footballers to earn a Munster senior football championship semi-final against Kerry, but off-field problems in Limerick marred a united display from Billy Lee’s side at the Gaelic Grounds.

After a sluggish start Limerick trailed by eight points, but the home side recovered to twice close within three points, only for Clare to pull clear with a decisive final quarter.

After the match Limerick manager Lee cut loose on the Limerick county board, who he says left his players unfed after training last week and then filed the incorrect team to officials in Croke Park.


However, there was no such problems for Clare, who showed their class with a slick display as they earned a fifth straight win over Limerick in the championship and a fourth in four years.

“No questions but some of the mistakes we made today, if we repeat them, will be severely punished in Killarney,” manager Colm Collins said.

“There was a lot of aspects of our play which I was happy with. But there were things in both halves that we would haven’t been happy with.

“Nobody is under any illusions about the size of the effort it will take to beat Kerry in Killarney. We’re looking forward to it. Fitzgerald Stadium in the summertime, that’s where you want to be.”

Limerick trailed 1-6 to 0-1 after 18 minutes – debutant Kieran Malone bagged the goal after Donal O'Sullivan saved his first effort – although Limerick did well to get within five points at half-time, while Seán McSweeney and Jamie Lee cut the gap to three points after 40 minutes.

But in the next 14 minutes Clare outscored their hosts eight points to one, as Collins’s bench made a huge impact with six points from five different players.

‘Can’t do their job right’

Limerick have a huge amount of work to do before their qualifier June 9th. According to the manager, the Limerick county board “can’t do their job right” and even 10 minutes before throw-in he had threatened to pull his team out of the game.

"I left Limerick here on Wednesday and after training from here to Newcastle West my whole night was on the phone to officials to get their act in order," said Billy Lee.

“As an organisation in Limerick we need to pull ourselves together fairly fast and it’s up to the leaders in positions to lead.

“There was a lad on our bench today that we couldn’t use because the wrong list went to Croke Park. At quarter to four this evening, I had to have a conference call with my management team to sort out this and even as late as 10 minutes before throw-in to the game there was a game of Russian roulette being played because I wasn’t prepared to come out on the field with the team – it was gone to that extreme.

“We have full-time administrators and they can’t do their job right.”

LIMERICK: D O'Sullivan; D Connolly, S O'Dea, P Maher; P White (0-1), C Fahy, G Browne; D Treacy, M Fitzgibbon; D Neville (0-2), S McSweeney (0-5, five frees), G Noonan; J Lee (0-3, one free), P Begley, P Nash.

Subs: I Corbett for Nash (44 mins, BC), J Ryan (0-3, two frees) for Begley (49), K Ryan for Lee (54), D Lyons for Fitzgibbon (61), D Daly for Browne (61), P Scanlon for Neville (64).

CLARE: E Tubridy; G Kelly, C Brennan, E Collins; C O'Dea, A Fitzgerald, P Lillis (0-1); G Brennan, C O'Connor (0-1); K Malone (1-3), E Cleary (0-5), J Malone (0-1); E Courtney (0-2), K Sexton (0-1), D Tubridy (0-3, two frees).

Subs: C Ó nAinifein (0-1) for Kelly (42 mins), G O'Brien (0-1) for Sexton (58), E O'Connor for Collins (69), G Cooney (0-1) for D Tubridy (64), C Finucane (0-2) for K Malone (66), M O'Leary (0-1) for Courtney (67).

Referee: Noel Mooney (Cavan).