Oscar Traynor Trophy Munster Region Round 1
Limerick District League 2 Clare District League 1
Clare’s grandstand finish proved too late to derail neighbours Limerick who relievedly held on for an opening victory in this year’s Oscar Traynor Cup in Jackman Park Limerick on Wednesday evening.
Two first half strikes including a decisive sucker-punch just before the half-time whistle catapulted the home side into the ascendency that they would never relinquish despite a late injury-time backlash for Donie Garrihy’s side.
With the Avenue United contingent delayed due to a car malfunction en route, Clare’s request to delay the kick-off time fell on deaf ears and it would a disconcerting blow as the visitors lacked bite early on and would be punished on the break in the 12th minute when Kieran O’Connell centred for waiting Shannon native Eoin Duff to finish at the second attempt.
Jack Ryan came closest to regaining parity in the 29th minute when Nathan Boaventura’s corner wasn’t cleared and Ryan was unlucky with a flick amidst a goalmouth scramble.
The introduction of Avenue pair Elias Kunz and Nnabuike Nneji did have a settling effect but after issuing a warning sign with a shot that just flashed wide of the left post in the 37th minute, James Fitzgerald would redress the balance in the 46th minute when cutting in from the right to nestle an inch-perfect attempt into the bottom right corner of the net at 2-0.
The home side went for the jugular on the restart but found Clare’s rearguard in stubborn mood as after a Shane Duggan piledriver just whistled past the right post, the excellent Harvey Cullinan cleared a Kieran O’Connell shot off the line while goalkeeper John Mulready produced a superb stop to deny Jake Dillon on the hour mark.
Clare lacked any real penetration against a well-marshalled home defence with a Cullinan flicked header the only real half-chance for the visitors. However, they would finally grab a lifeline in the 91st minute when substitute Joe Hanrahan threaded a ball through for Elias Kunz to finish to the net. Suddenly, there was a real urgency to Clare’s play but while they did carve out one final chance when Nathan Boaventura was fouled on the right edged of the box, unfortunately his attempt cleared the crossbar amidst a packed goalmouth.
With three teams in the group and only the winner to emerge to a provincial decide and subsequently the national quarter-finals, Clare’s fate is now out of their own hands already but if they are to have any hope in progressing, they will require a backlash against Kerry on home soil in a month’s time (Sunday, November 19th).
Limerick District League: Josh McCarthy; Jake Dillon, Adam Lipper, Almeida Eduardo, Danny O’Neill; James Fitzgerald, Shane Duggan, Kyle Duhig, Adam Foley; Kieran O’Connell, Eoin Duff
Subs: Adam Dore for Fitzgerald (49, inj), Shane Carmody for O’Connell (67, inj), Leon Daly for Foley (71), Kevin Barry for Duff (82), Brian O’Connor (89)
Clare District League: John Mulready (Bridge United); Cullen McCabe (Avenue United), Ethan Fitzgerald (Newmarket Celtic), Harvey Cullinan (Newmarket Celtic), Lee Mulready (Bridge United); Aaron Rudd (Newmarket Celtic), Jack Kelly (Newmarket Celtic), Liam Buckley (Bridge United), Tom Hanrahan (Moher Celtic); Nathan Boaventura (Newmarket Celtic), Jack Ryan (Shannon Town)
Subs: Elias Kunz (Avenue United) for Ryan (29), Nnabuike Nneji (Avenue United) for Buckley (34), James Fahy (Shannon Town) for Hanrahan (71), Joe Hanrahan (Moher Celtic) for Kelly (71), Witness Odirile (Avenue United)