/ GAA

Clare 4-12 Limerick 1-16

Updated: Sunday, 22 Jun 2008 21:32

Clare's Jonathan Clancy celebrates after hitting the back of the Limerick net
Clare's Jonathan Clancy celebrates after hitting the back of the Limerick net

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Clare are through to the Munster SHC final following a five-point victory over Limerick at Semple Stadium.

Two goals in each half helped Clare progress to a Munster final meeting with Tipperary as they got the better of Limerick at Semple Stadium.

Playing against the wind, Limerick opened the scoring when Andrew O'Shaughnessy pointed in the second minute, with Colin Lynch soon after getting Clare onto the score sheet.

Two pointed frees from O'Shaughnessy and a point from Niall Moran had Limerick two points ahead by the 12th minute with Tony Carmody getting Clare's second point.

However, the men in green then had to wait for almost 18 minutes for their next score as Clare scored 2-02 without reply.

Goalkeeper Brian Murray did well to block a goal bound shot from Niall Gilligan on 13 minutes, but he was caught out soon after when a speculative long range shot from half-back Pat Vaughan took a bounce and went all the way to the net.

Two points from frees by Mark Flaherty stretched the advantage to three points but Limerick were again rocked on 28 minutes when Clare once more raised the green flag.

Substitute Declan O'Rourke did well to scoop the ball forward from among a ruck of players and Jonathan Clancy found the net with a low ground shot.

Niall Moran grabbed Limerick's first point in quite some time a minute later but further points from Clancy, Carmody and Flaherty left eight points between the sides as the opening half drew to a conclusion.

O'Shaughnessy's pointed free for Limerick in stoppage time was the last score of the half as wind assisted Clare went in for the break 7 points ahead, 2-07 to 0-06.

In front of almost 29,000 spectators, both teams exchanged early second half points.

Limerick were right back in contention when Ahane's Ollie Moran punished some poor Clare marking to find the net after 39 minutes and reduce the deficit to four points.

Three further Limerick points against one from Clare left just two points between the sides with 47 minutes played and with the wind behind Richie Bennis' men.

However, another defensive error allowed Tony Carmody play the sliothar across the Limerick goalmouth to Barry Nugent who found the net with ease.

A fourth Clare goal three minutes later stretched the lead to eight points when a brilliant catch by Diarmaid McMahon was rewarded with a goal for the Kilmaley half-forward.

To their credit Limerick refused to concede and outscored the winners by six points to three before full-time with some good scores from open play.

The game ended on a sour note for Clare when Brendan Bugler was sent-off in stoppage time for a foul on Niall Moran and it could have been even closer at the final whistle had a goalmouth scramble ended with Limerick finding the net following Bugler's dismissal.      

Clare: P Brennan; G O'Grady; F Lohan; B Bugler; P Vaughan (1-00); C Plunkett; P Donnellan; B O'Connell; C Lynch (0-01); D McMahon (1-00); T Griffin; J Clancy (1-02); N Gilligan (0-03, 2frees); T Carmody (0-02); M Flaherty (0-03, all frees).
Subs: D O'Rourke for Griffin (22 mins), B Nugent (1-01) for Flaherty (48), G Quinn for Plunkett (67), F Lynch for McMahon (72).

Limerick: B Murray; D Reale (0-01); S Lucey; M O'Riordan; S Hickey; P O'Dwyer; M Foley; D O'Grady (0-01); M O'Brien (0-01); M Fitzgerald; O Moran (1-01); N Moran (0-05); A O'Shaughnessy (0-06, 5f); S O'Connor; D Sheehan.   
Subs: D Ryan (0-01) for Sheehan (40), B Foley for Fitzgerald (54), P Tobin for O'Connor (58).

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