The performances of Tony Kelly, Peter Duggan and John Conlon helped Clare to a fully deserving 0-26 to 0-15 win in Cusack Park on Sunday afternoon. The win will now see the Banner progress to a Munster Hurling Final with Cork on July 1st.
Clare were full value for their half time lead of four points, 0-13 to 0-09, in truth they could of been ahead by more. Duggan opened the scoring on 4 minutes with a free, before John Conlon who was a real torment for the Limerick all game notched his first of four points. Clare bossing the early stages and led 0-02 to 0-00 after 5 minutes. Tom Morrissey got the Shannonsiders’ first score on 6 minutes, before Duggan tapped over two frees either side of a free from Dowling. Dowling added another minutes later, to make it 0-04 to 0-03, but Colm Galvin scored an inspirational score a minute later for Clare.
Dowling pointed yet again with a free for Limerick, before David Fitzgerald who came on for Seadna Morey scored two points in a row to give Clare a lead of 0-07 to 0-04 after 23 minutes. Kyle Hayes pointed for Limerick though, but John Conlon was giving Mike Casey a horrible time at full back and he registered another score. Dowling and Duggan exchanged frees, before Darragh O’Donovan hit a superb sideline over the bar to make it 0-09 to 0-07 after 28 minutes. The end of the half ended in chaos and drama though, referee James Owens had to consult with his umpires for two off the ball incidents in the Limerick square. He sent off David Reidy which appeared to be harsh on first viewing and them Tom Condon for what appeared to be a strike with the hurley into an opposition defender. When the game resumed two points from Duggan increased the gap as we approached 5 minutes of injury time. In that additional time Cian Lynch and Diarmuid Byrnes pointed, before Duggan ended the scoring for the half with a 65.
On the resumption Clare stormed out of the blocks with the influential Tony Kelly getting two in quick succession. However, his scores were matched with Tom Morrissey and Seamus Flanagan both pointing. Duggan tapped over a free before Conlon and Gearoid Hegarty exchanged scores. Dan Morrissey made a storming run forward then and hit a beautiful score. Aaron Gillane and Tom Morrissey did raise further white flags, but three Duggan points in between those scores were crucial. It was all Clare for there on and they took control in the final 10 minutes, with Duggan hitting a further three points, while Tony Kelly scored a further two from play and a free, a long with Conlon bringing his tally from play to four.
Clare march on to a July 1st final with Cork , while Limerick face the winners of the Joe McDonagh Cup Final that been Carlow or Westmeath in a few weeks time on July 7th or 8th. The Joe McDonagh Cup team will have home advantage.