Daragh Small reports from LIT Gaelic Grounds
PATRICK O’DONOVAN’S GOAL was the killer blow as Limerick began their bid for a Munster hurling double with victory over Clare in the minor final today.
Supporters who turned up for the 11.30am start were treated to a hard-hitting first half.
Limerick beat Clare 0-16 to 0-13 when these sides met here on 9 June, and they were 0-9 to 0-7 in front at half-time in this one.
Shane Meehan and O’Donovan traded goals but the latter was crucial, and Limerick won their first provincial crown since 2014.
A star of last year’s Limerick minor team, Cathal O’Neill was outstanding and his late free gave them a two-point lead at the break. The Crecora Manister man scored 0-6 in the first half, but Limerick also landed eight wides while they struggled in front of goal.
Clare were more prolific early on, and up the other end, when Patrick Reale’s shot went wide of Aaron Shanahan’s goal in the 14th minute, it was already Limerick’s fifth wide.
The visitors struck first with points from Tony Butler and Meehan, before O’Neill opened his account in the seventh minute. Aidan O’Connor equalised soon afterwards.
But Clare fired unanswered points from Meehan, Cian Galvin and Diarmaid Cahill before O’Neill took complete control. He scored the next four points of the game and Limerick went in front, for the first time, with his fifth point in the 25th minute.
Killian O’Connor and Cormac Murphy cancelled out O’Donovan’s next Limerick point, but the hosts finished out the half well.
Adam English pointed and then O’Neill found the target from long range as Limerick went in the with the lead at the interval.
Aidan O’Connor scored on the resumption for Limerick and English pushed out the lead, 0-11 to 0-7, in the 37th minute.
Galvin scored a vital free and although O’Neill added a seventh point, his missed with his next attempt. Clare were still alive in the game.
And in the 46th minute Meehan drove his shot through a hole in the Limerick net to reduce the arrears to the minimum.
Less than a minute later Limerick restored their four-point lead when O’Donovan finished his shot high past Shanahan.
Clare began to fire wides and Reale helped himself to two points in a comfortable Limerick win.
Scorers for Limerick: Cathal O’Neill 0-9 (0-6f), Patrick O’Donovan 1-1, Aidan O’Connor 0-3, Adam English 0-2, Patrick Reale 0-2.
Scorers for Clare: Shane Meehan 1-2 (0-1f), Cian Galvin 0-2 (0-2f), Conner Hegarty 0-2, Cormac Murphy 0-1, Killian O’Connor 0-1, Diarmaid Cahill 0-1, Tony Butler 0-1, Keith Smyth 0-1.
1. Jack Franklin (Kilteely-Dromkeen)
2. Adam Murrihy (Ahane)
3. Ronan Lyons (Monaleen)
4. Fergal O’Connor (Effin)
5. Jimmy Quilty (Blackrock)
6. Ethan Hurley (Newcastle West)
7. Colin Coughlan (Ballybrown)
8. Patrick Kirby (Patrickswell)
9. Patrick Reale (Knockainey)
10. Adam English (Doon)
11. Cathal O’Neill (Crecora-Manister)
12. Eddie Stokes (Doon)
13. Aidan O’Connor (Ballybrown)
14. Patrick O’Donovan (Effin)
15. Liam Lynch (Mungret St Paul’s)
24. Diarmuid Hegarty (St Patrick’s) for Lynch (58)
17. Michael Cremin (Newcastle West) for O’Donovan (60)
23. Cian Casey (Ahane) for Strokes (62)
22. Conor Hanley Clarke (Kilmallock) for English (64)
1. Aaron Shanahan (Tulla)
5. Ja Collins (Eire Og)
3. Adam Hogan (Feakle)
2. Storm Devanney (Sixmilebridge)
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17. Oisin O’Donnell (Crusheen)
6. Cian Galvin (Clarecastle)
7. Tony Butler (Doora-Barefield)
8. Colm O’Meara (Clonlara)
9. Cormac Murphy (O’Callaghan’s Mills)
23. Dylan Downes (Sixmilebridge)
11. Oisin Clune (Feakle)
10. Killian O’Connor (Corofin)
14. Conner Hegarty (Inagh-Kilnamona)
15. Diarmaid Cahill (Corofin)
13. Shane Meehan (Banner)
22. Sean Ronan (Kilmaley) for Cahill (43)
12. Keith Smyth (Killanena) for Murphy (48).
Referee: Nathan Wall (Cork)
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