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Clare Power Into Munster Minor Football Final With High Scoring Limerick Win

Munster MFC Semi-Final: Clare 4-20 Limerick 1-10

A third Munster final in the last four years awaits the Clare minor footballers after another impressive showing saw them overcome Limerick at the LIT Gaelic Grounds on Wednesday evening.

Dermot Coughlan’s charges controlled the game from start to finish with their workrate and ability to transition quickly from defence to attack proving to be a potent combination, as they set up another final showdown with Kerry next Tuesday evening.

That workrate in the middle third was a crucial element while the willingness to get up in support of the attack created several overlaps and scoring chances. Clare will need to be even more clinical in front of the posts if they are to reach the provincial summit, but on this performance there will be plenty positives to take into that tie.

Having reeled off 1-18 from play last time out, it served as a warning that there was plenty scoring potential in this young Banner side. That potential was apparent inside the opening minute, when Dylan O’Brien was on the end of some direct build up straight from the throw in, and the Kilrush Shamrocks man produced a deft finish to the net to give Clare the perfect start.

It set the tone for an opening quarter which Clare controlled but like in their quarter-final outing, wayward shooting and poor option taking saw some scoreable chances go astray with four wides in the period. Limerick also posed some threats and got some joy when attacking down the flanks, but outside of David O’Shaughnessy’s angled effort, the Clare defence kept the pathway to goal protected early on.

Eoin Killeen almost got in for Clare’s second goal but his shot was deflected over from close range. Clare continued to dominate around the middle third and did not have to wait much longer for their second goal as Craig Riordan fired a clinical finish to the bottom corner to send his side 2-2 to 0-1 clear approaching the opening water break. Dara Nagle and Riordan added further scores as Clare began to find their range and when the water break came, it was Clare in front by 2-4 to 0-1.

The second quarter was a much more even affair on the scoreboard with Clare maintaining that nine point gap to the break. Limerick struggled to make inroads past a dominant Banner half-back line with Clare’s commitment to supporting the attack keeping the Limerick defence under constant pressure. It was comfortable in the main for Dermot Coughlan charges, but there were also some good scoring chances left behind with the young Clare men guilty of overdoing it on more than one occasion and while they led 2-7 to 0-4 at half-time, that gap could well have been greater. Points from Eoin Killeen and Cillian McGroary meant that all Clare’s forward line were on the board in the opening half.

A quickfire brace of points through Josh Guyler and Nagle at the start of the second half was answered by another Shaughnessy score, but a killer blow arrived as McGroary billowed the net after a clever ball through from Nagle opened up the space. It sparked a run of 2-2 unanswered with points from Brendan Rouine and Fahy followed by another McGroary goal to put the result beyond Limerick’s reach, and at the turn of the final quarter Clare had built a 4-12 to 0-8 lead with the outcome long since decided.

That dominance continued in the final quarter with Clare reeling off 0-6 without reply before a late Limerick penalty gave them their only green flag of the night. It made no impact on the final outcome with Clare sealing a deserved win to set up another shot at a Munster title.

Clare: Thomas Collins (Lissycasey); Marc O’Loughlin (Corofin), Fergal Guinnane (Kildysart), Dara Rouine (Ennistymon); Odhran Cunningham (Killimer), Fionn Kelleher (Doora Barefield), Josh Guyler (Ennistymon); Brendan Rouine (Ennistymon), Brian McNamara (Cooraclare); Dylan O’Brien (Kilrush Shamrocks), Cillian McGroary (Corofin), Dara Nagle (Doora Barefield); Eoin Killeen (Doonbeg), Craig Riordan (Wolfe Tones), Diarmuid Fahy (Ennistymon).

Subs: Daithi Lohan (Wolfe Tones) for D Rouine, Sean McMahon (Miltown) for McNamara, Michael Nadsh (Doora Barefield) for Cunningham, Joseph Rafferty (Doora Barefield) for Fahy, Darragh Burns (Doonbeg) for Nagle.

Scorers: Cillian McGroary (2-1), Dara Nagle (0-4), Craig Riordan (1-1, 1 “45), Dylan O’Brien (1-1), Michael Nash and Eoin Killeen (0-3 each), Diarmuid Fahy (0-2, 1f), Brendan Rouine (0-2), Daithi Lohan, Fionn Kelleher and Josh Guyler (0-1 each).

Referee: Seamus Mulvihill (Kerry).

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