FOUR points up 15 minutes into the second half, it seemed that Clare had the measure of the Limerick U-21 footballers in Cooraclare on Wednesday night. The visitors, however, managed to outscore Clare 1-5 to 0-1 in the closing quarter and reserve a place against Tipperary in the Munster semi-final on March 18.
Cormac Joyce Power’s goal eight minutes from full-time was the game’s key score and it helped establish a 1-8 to 0-9 lead for the winners, who should have had home advantage, but the game was switched from the Gaelic Grounds due to ice on the Ennis Road pitch.
Wolfe Tones’ Gary Leahy kicked four first-half points for Clare, two from frees, to help the home county into a 0-6 to 0-2 interval lead. Podge McMahon kicked the remaining points and it looked as if Clare carried more attacking threat than Limerick.
Shane Brennan, who excelled along with Seán Collins, kicked the opening point of the second half to extend Clare’s lead. However, once Micheál Malone put Clare 0-9 to 0-5 up, Limerick asserted themselves and dismantled Clare in the closing minutes.
In the final piece of action, Seán Crotty appeared to have been fouled while shooting for goal, after Seán Collins had delivered a high ball into the square.
Overall, though, Clare can only look at themselves. The game was there for the winning but they blew it.
Clare: Peter O’Dwyer (Kilmurry-Ibrickane); Seán Cormican (St Breckan’s), Dean Ryan (Éire Óg, captain), Matthew Moloney (Kilrush Shamrocks); Micheál O’Loughlin (Ennistymon), Liam Markham (Cratloe), Stephen Tierney (St Breckan’s); Conor Ryan (Cratloe), Mark Hallinan, (St Joseph’s, Doora–Barefield); Seán Collins (Cratloe), Shane Brennan (Clondegad), Podge McMahon (Clondegad); Enda Lyons (St Joseph’s, Doora–Barefield), Gary Leahy (Wolfe Tones), Conor Cormican (St Breckan’s).
Subs: Seán Crotty (Éire Óg) for Enda Lyons, Micheál Malone (Miltown) for Conor Cormican, Ivor White (Doora-Barefield) for Mark Hallinan, Chris Dixon (Kilrush) for Stephen Tierney.
Scorers: Gary Leahy (0-5, 0-3f), Podge McMahon and Shane Brennan (0-2 each) and Micheál Malone 0-1.
Frees won: 27.
Wides: 7. 45s: 1.
Yellow cards: Matthew Moloney and Dean Ryan.
Limerick: Brian Scanlon; Damien Quaid, Michael McCormack, Brian Treacy; John Riordain (captain), Eoin Joy, Eoin Fitzgibbon; Bobby O’Brien, Tony McMahon; Patrick Sheehan, James Kelly, David Ward; Seamus O’Carroll, Cormac Joyce Power, Eoghan O’ Connor.
Subs: Eoin McEnery for Patrick Sheehan and Joe Martin for David Ward.
Scorers: Cormac Joyce Power (1-1), Eoghan O’Connor (0-5, 0-3f), Seamus O’Carroll (0-2) and Tony McMahon, Eoin Joy (0-1 each).
Frees: 17. Wides: 8. 45s: 1.
Yellow cards: Brian Treacy and Seamus O’Carroll.
Referee: Padraig O’Sullivan (Kerry).