Limerick win dramatic penalty shoot-out to end losing Munster run against Clare

James Naughton kick secures win after Robbie Bourke had earned extra-time

Clare 1-19 Limerick 2-16 (aet, Limerick win 4-1 on penalties)

There were dramatic scenes in Ennis on Saturday after Limerick defeated Clare on penalties to claim a first win over their neighbours in the Munster Championship in 13 years and set up a semi-final showdown against Tipperary in a fortnight.

It finished 4-1 on penalties to the resurgent Treaty men who ran out eventual winners in Cusack Park after James Naughton coolly slotted home the decisive spot kick.

The win was Limerick’s first successful attempt in six to overcome their fierce rivals in the Munster SFC after defeats at the hands of Clare in 2012, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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After Jamie Malone pointed deep into stoppage-time, Clare looked like worthy winners but substitute Robbie Bourke's free – the last kick of the regulation 70 minutes – brought the game to extra-time.

Robbie Bourke, who was only introduced late in the second half, proved to be the hero, scoring Limerick's second goal in extra-time to bring the game to penalties.

Billy Lee's men had led by three points – 1-9 to 1-6 – at half-time in the regular game thanks to a Brian Fanning goal just shy of the half-hour mark.

Clare got off to a flying start as Aaron Griffin put the Banner a point to the good after just 25 seconds.

Despite winning the throw-in, Limerick conceded the ball before Cian O’Dea played a superb outside of the foot ball to Griffin before the Liscasey clubman slotted over for the game’s opening score.

A Josh Ryan free in third minute – his first of four – was cancelled out by a well-worked David Tubridy score before Hugh Bourke levelled terms again in the seventh minute.

However, Clare responded with two scores in a row with points from Darren O’Neill and Griffin – his second of the evening – giving Colm Collins’s side a two-point lead in the 12th minute.

After Eoin Cleary restored Clare's two-point advantage and Adrian Enright narrowed the deficit to one, Cillian Fahy burst through a stretched Clare defence in the 19th minute before tapping over to bring both sides level for the third time at 0-5 apiece.

In the 23rd minute, Brian Donovan put Limerick ahead for the first time. The momentum suddenly swung in the favour of Limerick with Ryan taking full advantage to kick over the resulting kick-out moments later.

Five minutes later, Limerick full back Brian Fanning took full advantage of the swinging pendulum to score the game’s first goal from close range.

However, the Pallasgreen man went from hero to zero, giving away a penalty just after the half-hour mark for his jersey pull on Gavin Cooney as he bore down on goal.

Tubridy raised the green flag with the resulting penalty to make it a two-point game heading into stoppage-time.

Ryan continued his perfect free-scoring showing for Limerick with the last kick of the opening 35 minutes to extend the visitors’ winning margin to three points at the break.

After the restart, both Ryan and O’Neill exchanged points before Pearse Ellis narrowed the deficit to two three minutes into the half.

Points from Ryan (free) and Peter Nash were cancelled out by Eoin Cleary and Griffin before McMahon made it a one-point game with 15 minutes remaining.

Brendan Rouine had Collins's men level with five minutes to go – 1-13 to 1-13 apiece.

A superb save from Limerick goalkeeper Donal O’Sullivan two minutes from time denied Cooney what would certainly have been a game-deciding goal.

As the clock entered the red, Jamie Malone kicked over what looked like the winning point.

But in the most dramatic of fashions, substitute Robbie Bourke stepped up in the 75th minute to coolly slot over a free to bring the game to extra-time.

Cleary scored all three of Clare’s points in the first half of extra-time, and it looked like his side were cruising into a two-point half-time lead before Robbie Bourke found the back of the net from close range with the last kick of the half.

In what was a nervy second half period of extra-time, Clare clawed back to level terms thanks to frees from Rouine and Eoin Cleary to ensure the historic penalty shoot-out.

CLARE: Tristan O'Callaghan; Manus Doherty, Cillian Brennan, Cillian Rouine; Jamie Malone (0-1), Cian O'Dea, Eoghan Collins; Darren O'Neill (0-2), Ciarán Russell; Pearse Lillis (0-1), Eoin Cleary (capt, 0-6, two frees), Emmet McMahon (0-1); Gavin Cooney (0-1), David Tubridy (1-1, 1-0 penalty), Aaron Griffin (0-4)

Subs: Daniel Walsh for Collins (56 minutes), Brendan Rouine (0-2) for Tubridy (57), Ciarán Downes for Lillis (65), Pádraic Collins for McMahon (66), Conor Jordan for Collins (f/t, inj), Darragh McDonagh for Doherty (79, e/t), Ciarán Morrissey for Brennan, Joe McGann for Cooney (both h/t e/t).

LIMERICK: Donal O'Sullivan (capt); Seán O'Dea, Brian Fanning (1-0), Michael Donovan; Cian Sheehan, Iain Corbett, Paul Maher; Darragh Treacy (0-1), Cillian Fahy (0-2); Adrian Enright (0-1), Brian Donovan (0-1), James Naughton; Peter Nash (0-2), Josh Ryan (0-6, four frees, one mark), Hugh Bourke (0-1).

Subs: Jim Liston for Michael Donovan (54 minutes), Diarmuid Kelly for Enright (59), Robbie Bourke (1-2, one free) for Ryan, Gordon Brown for Maher (both 65), Tommy Griffin for Brian Donovan (69), Killian Ryan for Kelly (f/t), Brian Donovan for Hugh Bourke (74, e/t), Colm McSweeney for Sheehan (78, e/t).

Referee: Conor Lane (Cork)