Limerick exorcised their Shannonside derby hoodoo and effectively ensured that they will also get an opportunity to retain their All-Ireland crown after an emphatic victory over Clare this afternoon.

Three previous championship clashes had gone the way of the Banner County in as many seasons.

However, with Limerick off the back of a 20 point hammering of Waterford and Clare faltering by 13 to Tipperary, that form guide proved accurate as the neighbours split the difference to leave 18 between them by the final whistle.

Aaron Gillane reigned supreme as the chief targetman with 1-11, his 59th-minute goal putting the result beyond any doubt as the home side simply fleshed out the margin in a late canter.

Clare did carve out three early goal chances but poor decision-making, allied to some excellent last ditch defending, meant that the visitors would only keep in touch through Peter Duggan's placed balls.

Indeed, the Banner would only score four points from play over the entire match in contrast to 1-19 for their rampant hosts.

The best evidence of Limerick's superior balance was the fact that by half-time, all of the home side's attacking division - along with midfielder William O'Donoghue - had scored from play in contrast to only a solitary point from Duggan.

That left only four points between the neighbours but Limerick upped the ante before the break with the last four scores through O'Donoghue, Gearoid Hegarty, Gillane and Peter Casey to soar 0-15 to 0-07 clear by the midway mark.

Clare did briefly rally on the restart with points from Tony Kelly and Duggan but a slicker Limerick swiftly moved through the gears to outscore their war-weary opponents by 1-12 to 0-04 for the remaining 25 minutes as the game petered out to its inevitable conclusion.

Amazingly, after an average losing margin of 15 points over their last two matches, Clare can still qualify for the All-Ireland series provided that they overcome Cork on home soil next Sunday and Limerick do their neighbours a huge favour by lowering Tipperary.

Whether Limerick will play in the Munster final or preliminary quarter-finals is still in the balance. They could only miss out altogether in the highly improbable scenario of Clare beating Cork by at least 22 points and Limerick losing to Tipp by 40+.

LIMERICK: Nickie Quaid; Richie English, Mike Casey, Sean Finn; Diarmaid Byrnes (0-01), Declan Hannon (0-01), Paddy O’Loughlin; Cian Lynch, William O’Donoghue (0-01); Gearoid Hegarty (0-02), Kyle Hayes (0-01), Tom Morrissey (0-03); Peter Casey (0-04), Aaron Gillane (1-11, 0-07f, 0-01'65), Graeme Mulcahy (0-02)

Subs: Darragh O'Donovan (0-01) for O'Donoghue (55), Shane Dowling (0-01, 0-01f) for Hegarty (56), Dan Morrissey for Hannon (62), Seamus Flanagan for P. Casey (62), Pat Ryan for Mulcahy (68)

CLARE: Donal Tuohy; David McInerney, Patrick O'Connor, Jack Browne; Cathal Malone,  Conor Cleary, David Fitzgerald; Shane Golden, Colm Galvin (0-01); Peter Duggan (0-11, 0-08f, 0-01 lineball), Tony Kelly (0-01), Podge Collins;, Aron Shanagher, John Conlon, Shane O'Donnell

Subs: Aidan McCarthy for Golden (Half-Time), Diarmuid Ryan for Shanagher (49), Seadna Morey for Fitzgerald (52), Jason McCarthy for Collins (58), Niall Deasy for O'Donnell (65)

Referee: James Owens (Wexford)