Limerick bow out of Munster Minor Hurling Championship after defeat to Clare:

By John Keogh Limerick Leader Sport

LIMERICK are out of the Munster Minor Hurling Championship at the semi-final stage after a 2-21 to 2-15 loss to Clare at Cusack Park, Ennis this Tuesday evening.

Two Marc O’Brien goals on either side of half time gave Clare a 10-point lead and they never looked like losing that advantage despite second half goals for Limerick by Patrick Kearney and Dara Ferland.

Clare advance to play Cork in the final next week.

Limerick made a great start to the game with Darren Collopy and Darragh Gleeson sending frees over the bar inside three minutes.

An excellent effort from play by Collopy put Limerick three to the good, before a long range James Hegarty placed ball got Clare up and running.

Collopy was in fine form early on and another couple of scores from the Murroe-Boher youngster saw Limerick into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead with 11 minutes played.

Two points from Ronan Kilroy and Michael Collins reduced Limerick’s advantage to two but it was brief as Hugh Flanagan put over another point for the Treaty youngsters.

However, Clare hit form as the half continued with points from Jack Mescall, Sean Arthur and Collins levelling the game. Limerick did go in front through Tádgh Boddy but an O’Brien free and a Emmet Mulcahy effort put Clare ahead for the first time on 23 minutes.

An excellent Robert O’Farrell point squared the game for a third time but it was Clare that dominated the final minutes of the half in a clinical manner.

O’Brien and Hegarty frees put them two to the good and further points from Michael Power and Collins had them four to the good heading into first half added time.

However, that lead was soon increased to seven. Limerick keeper Joe Fitzgerald made a good stop to deny Power a goal but as he attempted to clear the danger, O’Brien flicked the sliotar into the net. That goal put Clare 1-12 to 0-8 in front at the break.

That lead was soon at 10 after O’Brien netted a second goal in the first minute of the second half. He rounded Conor Bickford and fired a low shot that Fitzgerald half stopped but the ball trickled over the line.

Limerick responded with efforts from Boddy and Kearney, before the latter fired in a bullet of a goal to bring the score to 2-15 to 1-10 with eight minutes played in the second half.

Clare continued to dominate the play after Kearney’s goal but Limerick did have hope of a comeback after Ferland’s goal but it came too late and they bowed out of the Munster MHC.

Scorers – Limerick: Darren Collopy 0-4 (2 frees), Patrick Kearney 1-1, Dara Ferland 1-0, Darragh Gleeson 0-3 (2 frees, ’65), Hugh Flanagan, Tádgh Boddy and Robert O’Farrell 0-2 each, Sean Duff 0-1,

Scorers – Clare: Marc O’Brien 2-3, Michael Collins 0-6, Fred Hegarty 0-3, James Hegarty (2 frees), Michael Power 0-2 each, Ronan Kilroy, Jack Mescall, Sean Arthur, Emmet Mulcahy and Eoin Begley 0-1 each.

LIMERICK: Joe Fitzgerald (Kildimo-Pallaskenry); John O’Keeffe (Na Piarsaigh), Conor Bickford (Ahane), Sean Morrissey (Dromin-Athlaca); Jack Cosgrove (Ahane), Sean Casey (Bruff), Darragh Gleeson (Adare); Diarmuid Lyons (Newcastle West), Michael Leo (Knockainey); Robert O Farrell (Kildimo-Pallaskenry), Dara Ferland (Monaleen), Matthew Fitzgerald (Monaleen); Hugh Flanagan (Garryspillane), Tádgh Boddy (Bruff), Darren Collopy (Murroe-Boher).

Subs: Patrick Kearney (Adare) for Leo (h-t), Sean Duff (Mungret St Pauls) for Collopy (49 mins), Declan Heavey (Garryspillane) for O’Keeffe (54 mins).

CLARE: Mark Sheedy (Sixmilebridge); Eoghan Gunning (Broadford), Ronan Keane (Killanena), Conor Rynne (Inagh-Kilnamona); Matthew O’Halloran (Sixmilebridge), James Hegarty (Inagh-Kilnamona), Jamie Moylan (Cratloe); Jack Mescall (Inagh-Kilnamona), Emmet Mulcahy (Tulla); Ronan Kilroy (The Banner); Michael Collins (Clonlara), Sean Arthur (Newmarket on Fergus); Oige Fanning (St Joseph’s Doora-Barefield), Marc O’Brien (Cratloe), Michael Power (Newmarket on Fergus).

Subs: Evan Price (Clarecastle) for Mulcahy (43 mins, inj), Fred Hegarty (Inagh-Kilnamona) for Arthur (44 mins), Harry Doherty (Clarecastle) for Fanning (49 mins), Eoin Begley (Clonlara) for Kilroy (53 mins), Darragh Neville (Cratloe) for Power (64 mins).

REFEREE: Nicky Barry (Waterford).