Clare and Limerick teed up a mouthwatering Munster Championship rematch in two months' time after sharing the Shannonside derby spoils in an intense Allianz Hurling League Division 1A encounter in front of over 10,000 in Cusack Park.

While fundamentally a clash to avoid Division 1 relegation danger, it soon became apparent that there was much more at stake than league points as this neighbourly tussle for supremacy saw both sides finish with 14 men.

Limerick set the pace for the opening 45 minutes albeit without any real comfort. However, once Tony Kelly regained full parity in the 49th minute, Clare would be the ones to snatch the whip hand, only to be pegged back three times by the back-to-back All-Ireland champions as the tie petered put to its fairest conclusion.

Raiding for the first three points through Aaron Gillane, Diarmaid Byrnes and Tom Morrissey by only the fourth minute, Limerick were the much more clinical side in the opening period.

And while it was Tony Kelly that inevitably got the home side back on track with three of the next four points, another scoring burst from Gearoid Hegarty, Cathal O'Neill and Gillane ensured a 0-07 to 0-03 advantage for the visitors by the turn of the opening quarter.

The Banner almost received a rousing full reprieve by the 21st minute, only for a David Fitzgerald goal to be ruled out. Kelly kept up the pressure on the leaders but with Gillane’s unerring accuracy from frees, Limerick managed to maintain a two-point cushion by the break at 0-11 to 0-09.

It took the impressive Diarmaid Byrnes only 12 seconds to open the second half scoring but Kelly’s influence eventually turned the tide. Robin Mounsey was unlucky to see a goal chance flash just wide of the top right corner but the newcomer did make amends with a superb lineball before Kelly and David Fitzgerald catapulted Clare into the ascendency for the very first time at 0-15 to 0-14 by the turn of the final quarter.

Dan Morrissey of Limerick catches the sliotar ahead of Clare's Patrick Crotty

Byrnes cancelled out that lead and would again be instrumental when Fitzgerald opened up a two-point gap for the hosts by the 56th minute as Limerick resisted at 0-17 to 0-17.

With the pressure intensifying, there wouldn’t be another score for 12 minutes as both sides repeatedly missed the target while Gillane and subsequently Jack Browne received second yellow cards.

Even a Kelly injury-time free from his own ’65 would be wiped out in the 73rd minute when substitute David Reidy earned a valuable draw that gets finally Limerick off the mark while consolidating Clare’s Division 1 status in the process.

Clare: Eibhear Quilligan; Paul Flanagan, Conor Cleary, Rory Hayes; Jack Browne, John Conlon, David McInerney; Shane Golden, Jason McCarthy (0-01); Cathal Malone (0-01), David Fitzgerald (0-02), Ryan Taylor (0-01); Shane Meehan (0-01), Tony Kelly (0-11, 0-08f), Robin Mounsey (0-01, 0-01s/l)

Subs: Patrick Crotty for Mounsey (52), Peter Duggan for Golden (54), Gary Cooney for Meehan (59), Paddy Donnellan for McCarthy (63)

Limerick: Nickie Quaid; Barry Nash, Dan Morrissey, Richie English; Diarmaid Byrnes (0-05, 0-03f), Declan Hannon, Colin Coughlan; William O’Donoghue, Darragh O’Donovan; Gearoid Hegarty (0-01), Cian Lynch, Tom Morrissey (0-02); Cathal O’Neill (0-01), Aaron Gillane (0-07, 0-06f), Adam English (0-01)

Subs: Ronan Connolly for Hannon (29, inj), Brian O’Grady for O’Donovan (53) Graeme Mulcahy for Hegarty (55), Pat Ryan for English (61), David Reidy (0-01, 0-01f) for T. Morrissey (65)

Referee: Patrick Murphy (Carlow)