Clare hold on for Munster final spot

Munster SFC semi-final
Limerick 0-15 1-13 Clare, Gaelic Grounds, 7.30pm FT

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Clare claimed their place in the Munster Senior Football final after they held off a second half fight back from Limerick to run out one point winners at the Gaelic Grounds.

A Stunning first half from the Banner County saw them race into a nine point half time lead however Limerick, led by the inspiration Ian Ryan, controlled the second half and drew level with 8 minutes remaining.

However Clare held on and David Tubridy scored the crucial final score of the game in the last minute to give the Banner County the win and set up a meeting with Cork or Kerry next month.

The Visitors were the quicker out of the blocks and opened the scoring inside the first minute when Rory Donnelly knocked over a point with the same man doubling the advantage 3 minutes later.

Clare raced into a three point lead when Ger Quinlan knocked over a score, before Gary Brennan and David Tubridy with a 45 put the Banner in control, five points up with just nine minutes gone.

Limerick were shell shocked and didn’t have an answer to Clare’s attacking play. There was 14 minutes on the clock when the Treaty men kicked their first point, Ger Collins reacting quickest after Seamus O’Carroll had hit the post.

The point seemed to settle Limerick and they reduced Clare’s lead to just two points thanks to two points from Ian Ryan.

A free and a fisted point from Donnelly, taking his tally to the game to three put the Banner back in control before a goal from Gordon Kelly handed Michael McDermott’s side a huge seven point advantage with 13 minutes of the half left.

If Limerick were shell-shocked after Clare’s stunning start, the goal knocked the stuffing out of them completely and they failed to offer any form of fight back in the remaining minutes of the half.

Eight wides telling the story of their wastefulness in from the posts, Stephen Kelly had a chance for a goal but scuffed the chance wide and instead it was Clare, through further scores from Tubridy and Clohessy who extended their lead, heading into the half time whistle 9 points up, leading 1-09 to 0-03.

Much like the first half Clare were quickest off the blocks in the second half when Shane McGrath scored a point to put them 10 points up however O’Carroll pulled one back almost immediately.

The turning point of the game came 8 minutes into the second half when Stephen Kelly scored for Limerick to make it an 8 point game. The point kicked started an amazing fight back that saw Ian Ryan score four points in eight minutes.

The momentum was with Limerick now and despite Tubridy keeping Clare Five points ahead, the Banner men were looking a shadow of the side that had dominated the first half.

Points from Ger Collins, Ryan with his seventh, eighth and ninth of the game, Eoin O’Connor brought the sides level with seven minutes to go.

Ryan then put Limerick ahead however Tubridy hit back with a vital point to stem the run of Limerick scores and the forward sealed the win with another score right at the death.

Both sides will need to improve if they are to progress further this summer however Clare will no doubt be delighted with their place in the final. Limerick meanwhile will head for the qualifiers.

Limerick: Brian Scanlon, Johnny McCarthy, Paudie Browne, Lorcan O’Dwyer, Steven Lavin, John Riordan, Pa Ranahan, Thomas Lee, Paul Kinnerk, Iain Corbett, Stephen Kelly, Seanie Buckley,Ger Collins, Seamus O’Carroll, Ian Ryan.

Clare: J Hayes; K Harnett, S McNelis, L Healy; M McMahon, G Kelly, J Hayes; G Brennan, G Quinlan; S McGrath, E Coughlan, A Clohessy; M O’Shea, D Tubridy, R Donnelly.


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