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Jack Mescal of Clare in action against Matthew Fitzgerald and Darragh Gleeson of Limerick during their Munster GAA Hurling Minor Championship Semi Final at Cusack park. Photograph by John Kelly

Buoyant Banner back in minor decider


Munster Minor Hurling Championship Semi-Final
Clare 2-21 Limerick 2-15

Clare will contest back-to-back Munster Minor Hurling Finals for the first time in eleven years after finally shaking off neighbours Limerick in front of 1,804 in Cusack Park Ennis on Tuesday evening.
Three days after lowering Limerick in the senior equivalent, a buoyant Banner maintained that momentum with a dramatic turnaround in a typically frenetic derby showdown.
Darren Collopy’s early four point blitz had initially powered Limerick 0-5 to 0-1 clear, only for a seismic shift to unearth an eleven point turnaround as playmaker and point-taker supreme Michael Collins scored three and directly set up as many more to turn the tide.
Level on three occasions by the 24th minute, the home side gathered pace once more approaching the break as points through Marc O’Brien, James Hegarty, Michael Power and Collins put Clare into the ascendency before the bonus of a last gasp goal to take into the dressing rooms at 1-12 to 0-8.
It stemmed from Eoin Oige Fanning forcing a defensive mistake that initially presented a goal chance for Michael Power, only for Marc O’Brien to seize the opportunity from the rebound. Not satisfied with that, the Cratloe Under 16 punished slack defending once more within the opening minute of the new half when meandering in from the left corner to somehow find the net on his side’s way to a 2-15 to 0-10 cushion.
It seemed an unassailable lead but Shannonside derbies are rarely that straight-forward as evidenced when Limerick substitute Patrick Kearney’s 38th minute goal was bolstered by a second major in the 57th minute for Dara Ferland to slash the arrears to just three at 2-17 to 2-14.
Having seen their scoring streak dry up, thanks to only two points in twenty minutes, Clare were thankful to their bench for finally sealing the win as replacements Fred Hegarty (3) and Eoin Begley combined for four of the last five points to tee up a Munster Final against Cork next Tuesday.

Clare: Mark Sheedy (Sixmilebridge); Eoghan Gunning (Broadford), Ronan Keane (Killanena), Conor Rynne (Inagh-Kilnamona); Jamie Moylan (Cratloe), James Hegarty (Inagh-Kilnamona), Matthew O’Halloran (Sixmilebridge); Jack Mescall (Inagh-Kilnamona), Emmet Mulcahy (Tulla); Sean Arthur (Newmarket-on-Fergus), Michael Collins (Clonlara), Ronan Kilroy (Banner); Eoin Ogie Fanning (St Joseph’s Doora/Barefield), Marc O’Brien (Cratloe), Michael Power (Newmarket-on-Fergus)
Subs: Evan Price (Clarecastle) for Mulcahy (43, inj), Fred Hegarty (Inagh-Kilnamona) for Arthur (45), Harry Doherty (Clarecastle) for Fanning (48), Eoin Begley (Clonlara) for Kilroy (52), Daire Neville (Cratloe) for Power (64)

Scorers: Marc O’Brien (2-3, 1f); Michael Collins (0-6); Fred Hegarty (0-3); James Hegarty (2f), Michael Power (0-2 each); Ronan Kilroy, Jack Mescall, Sean Arthur, Emmet Mulcahy, Eoin Begley (0-1 each)

Limerick: Joe Fitzgerald (Kildimo/Pallaskenry); Sean Morrissey (Dromin-Athlacca), Conor Bickford (Ahane), John O’Keeffe (Na Piarsaigh); Jack Cosgrove (Ahane), Sean Casey (Bruff), Darragh Gleeson (Adare); Diarmuid Lyons (Newscastle West), Michael Leo (Knockainey); Robert O’Farrell (Kildimo/Pallaskenry), Dara Ferland (Monaleen), Matthew Fitzgerald (Monaleen); Hugh Flanagan (Garryspillane), Tadgh Boddy (Bruff), Darren Collopy (Murroe/Boher)
Subs: Patrick Kearney (Adare) for Leo (HT), Sean Duff (Mungret St Paul’s) for Collopy (48), Declan Heavey (Garryspillane) for O’Keeffe (53)

Scorers: Darren Collopy (0-4, 2f); Patrick Kearney (1-1); Darragh Gleeson (0-3, 2f, 1’65) Dara Ferland (1-0); Tadgh Boddy, Hugh Flanagan, Robert O’Farrell (0-2 each); Sean Duff (0-1)

Referee: Nicky Barry (Waterford)

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