Preview: Munster SHC Final – Limerick v Clare:

The battle between Clare’s Conor Cleary and Limerick’s Aaron Gillane will have a big bearing on the outcome of the Munster SHC Final.
The battle between Clare’s Conor Cleary and Limerick’s Aaron Gillane will have a big bearing on the outcome of the Munster SHC Final.

Sunday 9th June
Munster Senior Hurling Championship final
Limerick v Clare, FBD Semple Stadium, 4pm (RTE)

Clare have decided to hold Tony Kelly in reserve for Sunday’s Munster SHC Final with the Ballyhea magician once again named on the bench.

Manager Brian Lohan has made two changes to the team that defeated Tipperary in the final game of the round robin phase, with David McInerney and Rory Hayes coming into the defence for Conor Leen and Cian Galvin.

Shane O’Brien is set to make his first championship start for Limerick after impressing off the bench against Waterford last time out.

He scored three points that day after coming on for Seamus Flanagan who pulled a hamstring and is ruled out of Sunday’s Final by that injury.

Also on the absent list for the reigning All-Ireland champions is Sean Finn who suffered a similar injury against Cork.

There is some good news on the injury front for Limerick, though. Darragh O’Donovan is in line to make his first championship appearance of the year after recovering from a calf muscle tear and is named on the bench.

So too is Richie English who hasn’t featured yet this year due to a ruptured cruciate ligament he sustained before last year’s All-Ireland Final.

These two teams served up classics in both the 2022 and 2023 Munster Finals and there’s every reason to expect this will be another sizzler.

A match of fine margins could well come down to some key battles. Can Conor Clerary limit the scoring output of Aaron Gillane? In the injury-absence of Sean Finn what Limerick defender will be tasked with marking Shane O’Donnell? Who will come out on top in what should be an epic midfield battle?

And, if the game is finely poised in the second-half, can Tony Kelly give his team a winning momentum from the bench or will Limerick subs like Adam English, Darragh O’Donovan, and Donnacha Ó Dálaigh make a bigger impact?

It’s going to be a lot of fun watching how it all unfolds.

CLARE: Eibhear Quilligan; Adam Hogan, Conor Cleary, Rory Hayes; Diarmuid Ryan, John Conlon, David McInerney; David Fitzgerald, Darragh Lohan; Cathal Malone, Mark Rodgers, Peter Duggan; Aidan McCarthy, Shane O’Donnell, David Reidy. Subs: Cian Broderick, Conor Leen, Paul Flanagan, Seadna Morey, Ian Galvin, Paddy Donnellan, Tony Kelly, Aron Shanagher, Shane Meehan, Robin Mounsey, Cian Galvin

LIMERICK: Nickie Quaid; Mike Casey, Dan Morrissey, Barry Nash; Diarmaid Byrnes, Declan Hannon, Kyle Hayes; Will O Donoghue, Cathal O’Neill; Gearóid Hegarty, David Reidy, Tom Morrissey; Aaron Gillane, Shane O’Brien, Cian Lynch. Subs: Jason Gillane, Conor Boylan, Colin Coughlan, Adam English, Richie English, Graeme Mulcahy, Barry Murphy, Aidan O’Connor, Fergal O’Connor, Donnacha Ó Dálaigh, Darragh O Donovan.