Limerick 1-19 Clare 1-19
A last-gasp point from Seán Rynne was enough to secure a dramatic draw for Clare as the Banner and Limerick shared the spoils in an exciting second-round oneills.com Munster Under 20 hurling championship tie.
Patrick O'Donovan had starred for Limerick and at 1-19 to 1-16 Diarmuid Mullins’ Munster champions looked likely to take the two points but a late flurry of Clare scores ensured a remarkable draw on Shannonside.
A top-drawer Adam English goal four minutes before the break was the difference at half-time when Limerick led 1-9 to 0-9, but despite a dominant Treaty display in the final quarter, a late Clare resurgence, boosted by sub Conor Cleary and an outstanding Patrick Crotty goal, earned Terence Fahy’s side a well-deserved share of the points.
The hosts had kicked off the defence of their title with a 1-18 to 1-14 defeat of Waterford on Saturday afternoon in Dungarvan. Clare began with a 0-20 apiece draw with Tipperary on the same day in Cusack Park.
After a slow start to the game for Limerick, Clare's Keith Smyth tapped over the first point. A long-range Smyth free and a well-taken point from David Kennedy, who took full advantage of a superb Rynee sideline puck, had Clare three up inside the sixth minute.
However, O’Donovan pulled one back a minute later before Adam Fitzgerald picked up a loose ball after an O’Donovan tackle to bring it back to a one point game by the 10th minute.
Midway through the opening half, Clare opened up a three-point margin again after a powerful run from the impressive Patrick Crotty, who laid off to Rynne to slot over in space.
Limerick responded well through Fintan Fitzgerald and after some superb play from Adam Fitzgerald just shy of the 20th minute mark, Ethan Hurley made it the narrowest of margins.
Two Smyth points – a free and a point from play – put Clare three points ahead again, but two quick-fire scores – from Fitzgerald and O’Donovan – had the Treaty men back within a point in what was turning out to be a fantastic display of end-to-end hurling.
By the 25th minute, Ethan Hurley found himself in space and the Newcastle West wing back levelled the sides for the first time.
Momentum was certainly turning in Limerick’s favour as half-time fast approached and they were duly rewarded for their efforts three minutes from the break.
After some quick-thinking from John Fitzgerald, who laid the ball off to John Kirby - son of Limerick legend Gary Kirby – the Patrickswell clubman played a beautiful high ball straight into the hands of English.
The Doon man turned Clare captain Adam Hogan before raising the green flag to put Limerick three points ahead.
English, boosted by his goal, pointed a minute later before an O’Donovan free from his own half put Limerick five points ahead as half time fast approached.
But two late Clare points from O’Donnell and Crotty made it a three-point game yet again as Limerick took a 1-9 to 0-9 lead into the well-deserved break.
Limerick finished the half with six wides while Terence Fahy’s side recorded just three wides in the opening 30 minutes.
A resurgent Clare came out of the dressing room all guns blazing and, after David Kennedy linked up well with Oisin O’Connell, the Crusheen half-forward rounded Limerick goalkeeper Josh O’Reilly but was denied a goal when Ronan Lyons superbly blocked the shot.
O’Reilly denied Crotty a minute later but the Clare half-forward was not to be denied three minutes later, bursting through the Limerick defence and blasting the ball to the back of the net to draw the sides level for the third time.
Crotty also scored Clare’s next two points – either side of a Shane O’Brien point for Limerick – to put the Banner a point up heading into the final quarter.
By the time substitute Cleary pointed in the 44th minute Clare were two points up. The in-form O’Donovan had other ideas though, and the Effin man brought Limerick level with two points in a row.
O’Donovan had Mullins’ men two ahead by the 52nd minute thanks to two more well-taken frees as Limerick edged into a late three-point lead and looked likely for the win.
However, Rynne and Cleary brought the Banner back within a point and it was Rynne who proved the hero, as the Inagh-Kilnamona man found space before slotting over to bring the sides level with the last puck of the game.
Limerick: Josh O’Reilly; Ronan Lyons, John Fitzgerald, Evan O’Leary; David Fitzgerald, Cian Scully, Ethan Hurley (0-02); Joseph Fitzgerald (0-01), Adam English (1-01); Fintan Fitzgerald (0-01), Patrick O’Donovan (0-12, 0-06f, 0-01 '65), John Kirby; Con Hayes, Adam Fitzgerald (0-01), Shane O’Brien (0-01)
Subs Liam Lynch for Hayes (29 minutes), Barry Duff for Adam Fitzgerald (half time), Liam Dennehy for Fintan Fitzgerald (48 miniutes), Sean O’Neill for Kirby (58 minutes)
Clare: Aaron Shanahan; Jarlath Collins, Adam Hogan, Ian McNamara; Oran Cahill, John Conneally, Daithí Lohan; Seán Rynne (0-03), Conor Whelan; Oisín O’Donnell (0-01), Patrick Crotty (1-03), Niall O’Farrell, David Kennedy (0-1), Keith Smyth (0-07, 0-04f, 0-01 ‘65), Jack O’Neill (0-02)
Subs: Colm Cleary (0-02) for Whelan (half time), Oisin Clune for Cahill (51 minutes), Keelan Hartigan for O’Farrell (53 minutes), James Doherty for Kennedy (56 minutes)
Referee: Nicky Barry (Waterford)
Cork 1-17 Waterford 1-13
In the night's other round-robin game, Cork had four points to spare over Waterford, who fell to their second defeat in a row.
A finish to the top corner of the net from Josh Fitzgerald and the accurate shooting of Patrick Fitzgerald had helped the Déise into a six-point lead by the 22nd minute
However then Cork senior Colin Walsh (1-03) burst clear to goal and the gap was the minimum at the interval, 1-10 to 1-09.
The Rebels got the upper hand as rain poured down at Páirc Uí Chaoimh and outscored the visitors 0-08 to 0-03 in the second half, Waterford registering eight wides and failing to take a couple of goals chances.
Cork move up to second in the table, despite having played only one game, ahead of Clare and Tipperary.
Cork: B Saunderson; S Daly, E Downey, D O’Sullivan; J Dwyer, S Kingston, M Mullins; T O’Connell, M Finn (0-01); A O’Sullivan, B Cunningham (0-7, 4f, 1 '65'), D Healy; J Leahy, R O’Sullivan (0-01), C Walsh (1-03).
Subs: B Keating (0-01) for Finn (38), W Buckley for Healy (42), T Wilk for O’Connell (46), D Cremin for A O’Sullivan (0-03) (54), E O’Leary (0-01) for Leahy (59).
Waterford: C Troy; A O’Neill, C Cantwell, J Power; O Walsh, M Fitzgerald, M Mullaney (0-01); J Fitzgerald (1-01), W Beresford; J Booth, C Treen (0-02), C Keane; T O’Connell, P Fitzgerald (0-08, 4f), J Twomey.
Subs: F Roche (0-01) for Twomey (h-t), K Cullinane for Beresford (41), R Walsh for Keane (47), E Foley for O’Connell (56), R Dobbyn for Booth (59).
Referee: M Kennedy (Tipperary)