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FOOTBALL: Clare pay the penalty for missed chances

Munster Senior Football Championship Quarter-Final
Limerick 2-16 Clare 1-19 (Limerick won by 4-1 on penalties)

BEING part of a first ever senior championship penalty shoot-out will be of little consolation to a Clare side that were agonisingly edged out of the provincial race at the first hurdle following a titanic derby battle with Limerick in Cusack Park Ennis on Saturday evening, reports Eoin Brennan.
In front of an enthralled 2,980 attendance, the neighbours left everything on the field in 100 plus minute marathon that could have easily gone either way. However, unable to separate the sides after extra-time, there wasn’t a shred of doubt about the eventual victors in a historic penalty finale as Limerick were unerring with four successive spot kicks to tee up a semi-final showdown with Tipperary in a fortnight’s time.
Not only was it Clare’s fourth successive Munster reverse but their most regretful to boot as when the dust settles, they will be kicking themselves over passing up a succession of late chances to finish the tie in normal time.
Blitzed by a 1-4 unanswered first half rally that included a brilliant solo goal from full-back Brian Fanning to trail Limerick by five, a David Tubridy converted penalty following a foul on Gavin Cooney did manage to lessen the damage to three by the break. However, despite having the conditions at the backs for the second half, Clare’s attempts at a full recovery were stubbornly resisted by Billy Lee’s side until the 64th minute when debutante substitute Brendy Rouine scored a worthy equaliser to level up the tie for only the fourth time at 1-13 to 1-13.
Three wides frustrated the hosts but following an interception from Cian O’Dea, Limerick captain Donal O’Sullivan would somehow produce an outstanding point blank save to deny Gavin Cooney what surely would have been the clinching score.
Jamie Malone did nudge the Banner in front deep into injury-time but a patient Limerick would be handed a reprieve when substitute Robbie Bourke converted a 40 metre free to force extra-time.
It was Clare captain Eoin Cleary that upped the ante for the home side on the restart, kicking three of the first four points, to provide a healthy cushion at 1-17 to 1-15. However, right on the stroke of half-time, Limerick raided for their second sucker-punch goal, again through replacement Bourke to edge the minimum in front, a position the visitors clung to for the majority of the second period.
A foul of Cian O’Dea did finally relieve the home tension as chief marksman Cleary levelled up the tie for the final time in the 90th minute. However that relief would quickly descend into grief amidst a unique penalty shoot-out as Limerick clinically scored spot kicks through Iain Corbett, Robbie Bourke, Brian Donovan and James Naughton whereas only Joe McGann found the net for the crestfallen hosts who now must turn to the qualifiers for some much-needed redemption.

Clare: Tristan O’Callaghan (St Breckan’s); Cillian Rouine (Ennistymon), Cillian Brennan (Clondegad), Manus Doherty (Éire Óg); Eoghan Collins (Ballyhaunis, Mayo), Ciaran Russell (Éire Óg), Cian O’Dea (Kilfenora); Jamie Malone (Corofin), Darren O’Neill (Éire Óg); Emmet McMahon (Kildysart), Eoin Cleary (St. Joseph’s Miltown), Pearse Lillis (Cooraclare); Gavin Cooney (Éire Óg), David Tubridy (Doonbeg), Aaron Griffin (Lissycasey)
Subs: Daniel Walsh (Kilmurry Ibrickane) for Collins (55), Brendy Rouine (Ennistymon) for Tubridy (57), Ciaran Downes (Kilmihil) for Lillis (64), Podge Collins (Cratloe) for McMahon (66), Conor Jordan (Austin Stacks, Kerry) for P. Collins (70, inj), Darragh McDonagh (St Joseph’s Miltown) for Doherty (79), Ciaran Morrissey (Kilmurry Ibrickane) for Brennan (80, inj), Joe McGann (St Breckan’s) for Cooney (80)

Scorers: Eoin Cleary (0-6, 2f); Aaron Griffin (0-4); David Tubridy (1-1, 1-0 Pen); Darren O’Neill, Brendy Rouine (f) (0-2 each); Pearse Lillis, Emmet McMahon, Gavin Cooney, Jamie Malone (0-1 each)

Limerick: Donal O’Sullivan (Monaleen); Michael Donovan (Galbally), Brian Fanning (Pallasgreen), Sean O’Dea (Kilteely/Dromkeen); Cian Sheehan (Newcastle West), Iain Corbett (Newcastle West), Paul Maher (Adare); Darragh Treacy (St Kieran’s), Cillian Fahy (Dromcollogher/Broadford); Adrian Enright (Fr. Casey’s), Brian Donovan (Monaleen), James Naughton (St Senan’s); Hugh Bourke (Adare), Josh Ryan (Oola), Peter Nash (Kildimo/Pallaskenry)
Subs: Jim Liston (Gerald Griffins) for M. Donovan (53), Diarmuid Kelly (Newcastle West) for Enright (58), Robbie Bourke (Adare) for Ryan (64), Gordon Brown (Na Piarsaigh) for Maher (64), Tommy Griffin (Gerald Griffins) for B. Donovan (69), Killian Ryan (Mungret St Paul’s) for Kelly (70), B. Donovan for H. Bourke (74), Colm McSweeney (Gerald Griffins) for Sheehan (77)

Scorers: Josh Ryan (0-6, 5f); Robbie Bourke (1-2, 2f); Brian Fanning (1-0); Cillian Fahy, Peter Nash (0-2 each); Hugh Bourke, Darragh Treacy, Adrian Enright, Brian Donovan (0-1 each)

Referee: Conor Lane (Cork)

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