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Clare's Peter Duggan in action against Limerick's Sean Finn during their Munster Senior Hurling Championship tie in Cusack Park, Ennis. Photograph by Natasha Barton

HURLING: Clare and Limerick tee up Munster Final rematch

Munster Senior Hurling Championship Round 4
Clare 0-24 Limerick 1-21

CLARE extended their unbeaten championship record against Limerick in Cusack Park to 32 years after sharing the spoils with the back-to-back All-Ireland champions in front of a capacity 18.129 attendance, reports Eoin Brennan.
Following a remarkable opening to the Munster series, one perfect record simply had to fall amidst the ideal backdrop of an unprecedented atmosphere and occasion in Ennis but in the end, the Shannonside neighbours both satisfactorily maintained their unbeaten starts after Diarmaid Byrnes’ last gasp equalising free.
Byrnes was unerring for the champions but captain Tony Kelly was outstanding for the home side after almost single-handedly taking the game to Limerick to rack up a whopping 16 points in the first 45 minutes of the tie.
That included five points surrounding Limerick’s sole goal in the 15th minute when Kyle Hayes clinically finished an incisive Conor Boylan run and pass to the net as Kelly edged Clare 0-10 to 1-5 in front.
The sides were level at the break at 1-12 to 0-15 and indeed went blow-for-blow throughout a compelling second period that was only interrupted by the dismissal of Limerick’s Gearoid Hegarty for a second yellow card in the 64th minute.
Overall the lead changed hands ten times while there was never more than a puck of the ball between the neighbours of this tense but superb tussle for supremacy.
Substitute Shane Meehan and Ryan Taylor did nudge Clare into the ascendency at seemingly the perfect time in the 68th minute at 0-24 to 1-20.
However, a draw was inevitable as was the levelling scorer as Byrnes stepped up to a monster free to level the tie for the 14th and final time and ensure a repeat showing, this time for silverware, in the Munster decider in three weeks time.

Clare: Eibhear Quilligan (Feakle); Rory Hayes (Wolfe Tones), Conor Cleary (St Joseph’s Miltown), Paul Flanagan (Ballyea); Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe), John Conlon (Clonlara), David McInerney (Tulla); Cathal Malone (Sixmilebridge), Jason McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona); David Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona), Shane O’Donnell (Éire Óg), Ryan Taylor (Clooney-Quin); Tony Kelly (Ballyea), Peter Duggan (Clooney-Quin), Robin Mounsey (Ruan).
Subs: Shane Meehan (Banner) for McCarthy (HT), David Reidy (Éire Óg) for Mounsey (46), Aron Shanagher (Wolfe Tones) for Duggan (72)

Scorers: Tony Kelly (0-16, 10f, 1’65); David Fitzgerald, Ryan Taylor (0-2 each); Diarmuid Ryan, David McInerney, Shane Meehan (0-1 each)

Limerick: Nickie Quaid (Effin); Sean Finn (Bruff), Mike Casey (Na Piarsaigh), Barry Nash (South Liberties); Diarmaid Byrnes (Patrickswell), Declan Hannon (Adare), Dan Morrissey (Ahane); William O’Donoghue (Na Piarsaigh), Robbie Hanley (Kilmallock); Gearoid Hegarty (St Patrick’s), David Reidy (Dromin-Athlacca), Tom Morrissey (Ahane); Conor Boylan (Na Piarsaigh), Kyle Hayes (Kildimo-Pallaskenry), Seamus Flanagan (Feohanagh/Castlemahon)
Subs: Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock) for Boylan (53), Darragh O’Donovan (Doon) for Hanley (56), Oisin O’Reilly (Kilmallock) for Flanagan (56)

Diarmaid Byrnes (0-9, 7f, 1’65); Gearoid Hegarty, David Reidy (4f) (0-4 each); Kyle Hayes (1-0); Seamus Flanagan, Tom Morrissey, Oisin O’Reilly, Darragh O’Donovan (0-1 each)

Referee: Colm Lyons (Cork)

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