Limerick overwhelm Clare to pick up season’s first silverware

John Kiely without a number of his stars but All-Ireland champions are still too strong

Clare’s Diarmuid Ryan tries to tackle Limerick’s Cathal O’Neill. Photograph:  Bryan Keane/Inpho

Clare’s Diarmuid Ryan tries to tackle Limerick’s Cathal O’Neill. Photograph: Bryan Keane/Inpho

 

Limerick 0-27 Clare 0-18

The Limerick hurlers captured their first silverware of the year when they had a merited victory over neighbours Clare in the final of the Co-Op Superstores Munster Hurling Cup at Cusack Park in Ennis.

Despite fielding a side without a plethora of their established stars, John Kiely’s charges were far too strong for their opponents, on a day when some fringe players put their hands up for inclusion in the starting line-up over the coming months.

Clare’s David Reidy drew the first score of the game, a point from play, in the second minute following some good preparatory work by corner-forward Mark Rodgers. Limerick’s David Reidy got his side off the mark moments later with a point from a long-range free.

Clare then forged ahead with a pair of pointed frees by their David Reidy. In fact both men with the same name lined out at centre-forward and were free-takers in the main for their respective outfits.

The Shannonsiders then hit a purple patch and struck for six unanswered scores by the 13th minute. The visitors led by 0-8 to 0-5 at the first water-break. Clare reduced the deficit to just one, minutes after the stoppage but a clinical Limerick hit five in a row to exhibit their prowess and superiority around the field.

Clare again added two scores before Limerick finished the half strongly, firing over four in a row through Reidy (two), corner-back and man of the match Richie English plus a Darren O’Connell effort. The half-time scoreboard read, 0-17 to 0-9 in favour of the All-Ireland champions.

Clare introduced substitutes Ryan Taylor and David McInerney, at the beginning of the second-half, in an effort to add some extra experience to the team’s efforts. The two Reidy’s exchanged points early in the half, but it was the visitors who held all the aces. They enjoyed an 11-point lead by the second water-break, with Reidy unerring from placed balls.

Darren O’Connell grabbed his second and his side’s 24th score on 55 minutes, to leave Limerick 0-24 to 0-13 ahead. Clare recorded three in a row through substitute Patrick Crotty, Reidy and Mark Rodgers but it was too little too late. Brian O’Grady, Cathal O’Neill and sub Adam English finished out the game for Limerick with a point apiece, with Banner County substitute Robin Mounsey adding two late points to complete the Clare account for the afternoon.

Limerick: D McCarthy, B Nash, D Morrisey, R English (0-1), C Coughlan (0-2), R Connolly, P O’Loughlin, B O’Grady (0-2), W O’Donoghue, C O’Neill (0-1), D Reidy (0-12, 11 f), G Hegarty (0-1), D O’Connell (0-3), P Ryan (0-1), O O’Reilly (0-2). Subs: A English (0-2) for Ryan (46), R Duff for O’Donoghue (53), C Boylan for Hegarty (53).

Clare: E Quilligan, M Gough, C Cleary, P Flanagan, D Ryan (0-2), J McCarthy, A Fitzgerald, J Browne, P Donnellan, C Malone (0-2), D Reidy (0-9, 6f, 2 ‘65), S Golden, M Rodgers (0-2), D McMahon, G Cooney. Subs: R Taylor for Golden (half-time), D McInerney for Donnellan (half-time), S Meehan for McMahon (44), D Lohan for Fitzgerald (46), P Crotty (0-1) for Cooney (50), R Mounsey (0-2) for McCarthy (53).

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