Limerick defeated Clare by 1-13 to 1-9 in the Munster Senior Football Championship Semi-Final on Sunday at Cusack Park Ennis.
Clinical Treaty off to a flier
Limerick 1-13 Clare 1-9
By Michael Moynihan for the Irish Examiner newspaper
Monday, June 08, 2009
THE Championship wasn’t confined to Killarney yesterday.
Clare and Limerick served up a game of real bite and brio – in the first half, anyway – in Ennis yesterday, with Limerick taking the victory by four points.
Limerick offered the 4,386 spectators in Cusack Park the very definition of a flying start: Stephen Lucey and Jim O’Donovan points preceded a Stephen Lavin goal for the Shannonsiders.
A Jason Stokes-Ger Collins combination broke down, but Lavin steamed through to rescue the situation and slotted the ball home coolly past Dermot O’Brien.
When Ian Ryan pointed a free Limerick were six up with a bare five minutes on the clock.
“Sometimes those things can militate against a team,” said Limerick boss Mickey Ned O’Sullivan: “They can give the team on the receiving end an injection, and that’s what happened. Clare came back and they put it up to us.”
Credit Clare, they did. Following a David Tubridy pointed free, the referee correctly gave a throw-in deep in the Limerick half when their midfielder John Galvin retaliated, having won a free out. Tubridy won possession and bore down on goal, and though his handpass looked just too far ahead of Gary Brennan, the Clare midfielder managed to bundle the ball over the line: game on.
The sides exchanged the lead from then until half-time in an open game which saw plenty of entertaining football. Limerick operated with a two-man full-forward line of Jason Stokes and Ger Collins, with Clare keeping Tubridy and Michael O’Shea isolated at the other end.
Accordingly, there was plenty of space whenever a player broke out of the traffic in the middle third of the field: Clare’s Timmy Ryan came close to a goal when he soloed through, and Gordon Kelly had a fine point when he made ground.
At the other end Ger Collins won a lot of ball but lacked support, while Jason Stokes looked to involve players outside him rather than going for his own score.
David Tubridy tied the scores with a late first-half free, 1-7 apiece, and Clare had the breeze in the second half. However, Limerick sparkled again early on, with Collins (two) and Ryan hitting points before Tubridy replied for Clare in the 43rd minute.
That was one of only two scores that Clare managed in the second half, while Limerick drove on. They had introduced Eoin Hogan at half-time, and his pace was a potent addition to their attack.
The men in green kept Clare at bay and the Banner forwards were reduced to trying shots that weren’t always the best option, as their captain David Russell conceded afterwards: “It was a disappointing result, the way it ended up.
“Limerick just took their scores while we were trying to score from difficult angles.”
Clare had to wait until injury time for Michael O’Shea to add their second point, and by that stage Limerick had throttled the life out of the game.
Mickey Ned O’Sullivan has some work to do – his side lost their concentration totally when Clare surged at them in the first half and left some alarming gaps at the back which Cork or Kerry would likely punish. In addition, Clare enjoyed parity at midfield, with Timmy Ryan and David Russell doing shifts there at various times in the game; O’Sullivan will want more from his combination of John Galvin and Jim O’Donovan in the decider.
“The win was based on graft and hard work,” said O’Sullivan. “We’re in the final now, and we’re the only team in the final.”
Scorers for Clare: D. Tubridy 0-4 (f’s); G. Brennan 1-0; G. Quinlan 0-2; E. Coughlan, Gordon Kelly and M. O’Shea 0-1 each.
Scorers for Limerick: I. Ryan 0-6 (0-3 f’s); G. Collins 0-3 (0-2 fs), S. Lavin 1-0; S. Buckley, J. O’Donovan, S. Lucey, E. Hogan 0-1 each.
CLARE: D. O’Brien, L. Healy, C. Whelan, D. Ryan, G. Kelly, K. Dilleen, G. Kelly, G. Quinlan, G. Brennan, E. Coughlan, D. Russell (c), P. Reidy, M. O’Shea, T. Ryan, D. Tubridy.
Subs: M. McMahon for D. Ryan, 26; S. Collins for Coughlan, 49; C. O’Connor or Reidy and G. Lynch for Ryan, both 63; N. Considine for Healy, 70. .
LIMERICK: S. Kiely, J. McCarthy, S. Gallagher, M. O’Riordan, S. Lavin, S. Lucey, P. Ranahan, J. O’Donovan, J. Galvin, P. Browne, I. Ryan, S. Buckley (c), C. Joyce-Power, J. Stokes, G. Collins.
Subs: E. Hogan for Joyce-Power HT; K. O’Callaghan for Stokes, 54; D. Phelan for Buckley (blood) 59-61; T. Cahill for O’Donovan, 72.
Referee: P. McGovern (Galway)
O’Sullivan: proving media wrong not our aim
By Michael Moynihan of the Irish Examiner newspaper
Monday, June 08, 2009
LIMERICK manager Mickey Ned O’Sullivan was happy with his side’s win yesterday but also had a word for media commentators who had criticised the Shannonsiders in recent months.
“Being a manager, that’s part of it. You guys have a job to do and you won’t sell papers praising us. You have to be controversial. We take that as part and parcel of management, but we don’t have anything to prove to the media. We have to prove it to ourselves.
“We knew we weren’t doing ourselves justice, and maybe the media were right to point that out, but we don’t go out to prove the media wrong. That’s irrelevant, because none of you guys are out on the field.
“The players are out there, and they know what they’re capable of. You win games, the media is with you, you lose games and they’re against you. That’s part and parcel of it.”
Regarding the game itself, O’Sullivan was happy his side rallied after the break.
“The way we took control against the breeze after half-time, we had to impose ourselves on the game. Eoin Hogan did well when he came on, he used his pace and did well.
“We knew it was going to be tough. If we hadn’t respected Clare we would have lost that game. We had a lot of work done on them, we knew they were good and had some very strong players. We knew we had a bad second half against Tipp the last day and we knew we could turn that around, and we did that. We dug deep.”
O’Sullivan feels Limerick are stronger this year than in previous seasons.
“We have options this year. Two years ago we didn’t have options and last year we had injuries, but we have plenty of options this year. With more summer football these lads will get a chance, and they’ll be fighting for their places.
“We didn’t put an emphasis on the league. We felt we slipped up last year in not getting to a Munster final – that was our All-Ireland.
“We knew the draw favoured us, and we’re there now. It’s a victory for the football people of Limerick, for the players, who believe in themselves and for the management team, the coach and selectors. It’s a victory for the underdog to get to the final and who knows what’ll happen.”
Understandably, Clare skipper David Russell was disappointed.
“We went 15 or 20 minutes without scoring in the second half, and you can’t do that in championship football. You have to keep the scoreboard ticking over.
“Giving them a head start didn’t help either, we had to put in awful hard work to get back into it. But you can’t let a team get six points up, there’s desperate hard work in getting level after that.”
Red-hot Ryan leads way as Clare shown the back door
From the Irish Independent newspaper
Monday June 08 2009
The Limerick footballers advanced, as expected, to the Munster final at the expense of Clare at Cusack Park, Ennis, yesterday.
An impressive second-half performance against an opposition that could only manage two pointed frees in that period, proved to be the catalyst for victory.
Coming into this game off the back of an impressive win over a fancied Tipperary in the opening round, Mickey Ned O’Sullivan’s charges wore the tag of red-hot favourites against a first-time-out Clare, who were far from impressive in their Division 4 National League campaign. So it was no surprise as to how the game began yesterday.
Limerick got off to a whirlwind start and led by 1-2 to no score after just three and a half minutes. An Ian Ryan pointed free for the Shannonsiders on five minutes meant that Clare trailed by six points and looked to be in deep trouble.
Dual star Stephen Lucey opened the scoring for the afternoon inside a minute and midfielder Jim O’Donovan added another after he was fed by the impressive Ger Collins.
A lethargic Banner defence allowed Stephen Lavin an inordinate amount of space and the Adare clubman got the better of advancing keeper Dermot O’Brien in a one-on-one to produce the game’s first goal.
The Clare fans anticipated a white-wash after the early encounters but, admirably, Frank O’Doherty’s men dug deep and responded in true-grit fashion.
David Tubridy kick-started the revival with a pointed free in the eighth minute and when Gary Brennan goaled two minutes later, they were back in the game. Tubridy gained possession on the left flank after a throw-in by referee McGovern and he hand-passed to the edge of the square where Brennan managed to place himself in position to nudge it over the line.
Midfielder Ger Quinlan followed up with a point from distance and when the O’Curry’s man added another on 17 minutes, the sides were level. Tubridy gave the Banner the lead with another placed ball after a 13-minute spell when they overturned a six-point deficit.
Limerick scores from Collins and Ian Ryan restored their lead by the 23rd minute, but from then until the end of the half there was little or nothing between the sides.
Impressive Clare wing-back Gordon Kelly, who worked tirelessly all day, grabbed the equaliser and when his colleague Enda Coughlan fisted a point at the end of the half-hour, the home-side had their tails up.
A superb long-range effort by Limerick captain Seanie Buckley regained parity and with both Tubridy and Ryan landing good scores from frees before the whistle, the teams were deadlocked at 1-7 apiece at the break.
But the Shannonsiders upped their performance a notch after the break and took control of matters. Ger Collins from play and from a free either side of an Ian Ryan free gave them a three-point advantage by the 52nd minute.
A Tubridy free for Clare kept it tight as the game headed into an elongated scoreless period.
Even though Limerick held all the aces, their fans in the 4,386 crowd couldn’t express relief or fulfilment until sub Eoin Hogan put four between the sides in the 56th minute. Ryan immediately added another score to take the wind out of Clare’s sails and when the No 14 recorded another beautiful score from the right flank closer to the finish, Limerick were home and dry.
Michael O’Shea converted a late free for Clare but a haul of only two points in the second half was never going to be enough to win a championship match.
Scorers– Limerick: I Ryan 0-6 (4 f), G Collins 0-3 (2 f), S Lavin 1-0, S Lucey, J O’Donovan, S Buckely, E Hogan 0-1 each. Clare: D Tubridy 0-4 (4f), G Brennan 1-0, G Quinlan 0-2, Gordon Kelly,E Coughlan, M O’Shea (f) 0-1 each.
Limerick — S Kiely; J McCarthy, S Gallagher, M O’Riordan; S Lavin, S Lucey, P Ranahan; J O’Donovan, J Galvin; P Browne, I Ryan, S Buckley (capt); C Joyce-Power, J Stokes, G Collins.Subs: E Hogan for Joyce-Power (ht), K O’Callaghan for Stokes (53), T Cahill for O’Donovan (70).
Clare — D O’Brien; L Healy, C Whelan, D Ryan; Gordon Kelly, K Dilleen, Graham Kelly; G Quinlan, G Brennan; E Coughlan, D Russell (capt), P Reidy; M O’Shea, T Ryan, D Tubridy. Subs: M McMahon for D Ryan (26), S Collins for Coughlan (50), C O’Connor for Reidy (64), G Lynch for T Ryan (64), N Considine for Healy (70).
Ref — P McGovern (Galway).
Munster GAA Senior Football Championship Semi Final
An Clár v Luimneach at 4.00p.m.
At Cusack Park Ennis
Reiteoir – Pat McGovern (Gaillimh)
Limerick (SFC v Clare): S Kiely; J McCarthy, S Gallagher, M O’ Riordan; S Lavin, S Lucey, P Ranahan; J O’Donovan, J Galvin; P Browne, J Stokes, S Buckley; C Joyce-Power, I Ryan, G Collins.
Clare (SFC v Limerick): D O’Brien; L Healy, C Whelan, D Ryan; Gordon Kelly, K Dilleen, Graham Kelly; G Quinlan, G Brennan; E Coughlan, D Russell (captain), P Reidy; M O’Shea, T Ryan, D Tubridy.
They may be close neighbours, but meetings between Clare and Limerick are the hen’s teeth of Munster Championship football.
Munster SFC Semi-final:
Ennis: Limerick v Clare, 16:00
The two sides have met just four times since 1984, which was the last time The Banner managed a win over Limerick.
The last time they encountered eachother was back in 2006, with goals by John Galvin and Michael Crowley winning the game for Limerick on a 2-5 to 0-8 scoreline.
Limerick will, justifiably, go into Sunday’s clash in Ennis as favourites to land a fourth straight win against Clare, with that confidence stemming from the defeat of Tipperary in the previous round.
Tipperary were riding high after winning the Allianz NFL Division Three title, and after Mickey Ned O’Sullivan’s side had been relegated, the feeling was that Tipp would be too strong.
However, Limerick surprised many with a one-point win, which looked like being far greater at half-time. Mickey Ned has a solid side and the availability of his dual players, Stephen Lucey and Mark Riordan is a massive boost this year.
O’Sullivan has named the same starting XV for Sunday, with one minor positional change as Ian Ryan, who scored a vital goal against Tipperary, switches to full-forward in a direct swap with Jason Stokes, who moves out to the ’40.
Frank Doherty, the Clare manager, has named three championship newcomers in his team. Paul Reidy starts at half-forward, Graham Kelly at wing-back and Dean Ryan at corner-back.
A number of players have overcome fitness scares to start with Conor Ryan, Michael O’Shea and Timmy Ryan all making it.
However, Clare look to be lacking the experience needed to cause an upset in Ennis, and Limerick should progress to a Munster final meeting with Cork or Kerry.
Clare: D O’Brien; L Healy, C Whelan, D Ryan; Gordon Kelly, K Dilleen, Graham Kelly; G Quinlan, G Brennan; E Coughlan, D Russell, P Reidy; M O’Shea, T Ryan, D Tubridy.
Limerick: S Kiely, J McCarthy, S Gallagher, M O’ Riordan, S Lavin, S Lucey, P Ranahan, J O’Donovan, J Galvin, P Browne, J Stokes, S Buckley, C Joyce-Power, I Ryan, G Collins.
They may be close neighbours in a six-county Munster championship but they have not met as often in recent times as might be expected. In fact, next Sunday’s clash will be only the fifth between them since 1984 which, incidentally, was the last time Clare beat Limerick. Since then Limerick have won all three clashes, the most recent being in 2006 when they won by 2-5 to 0-8.
Overall, they have met 37 times in the championship with Clare leading 22-10 while there have been five draws. Clare will be having their first outing in this year’s championship whereas Limerick have a victory behind them, having beaten high-flying Tipperary by 1-11 to 1-9 in the first round.
Last Five Championship Clashes
2006 – Limerick 2-5 Clare 0-8
2003 – Limerick 2-14 Clare 0-12
1988 – Limerick 2-4 Clare 0-5
1984 – Clare 2-5 Limerick 0-10 (replay)
1984 – Clare 0-10 Limerick 1-7
1982 – Clare 4-12 Limerick 0-8
Last Championship Clash
21 May 2006: Limerick 2-5 Clare 0-8 (Munster first round)
Goals by John Galvin and Michael Crowley helped Limerick to a three point win to set them up for a semi-final clash with Cork which they lost by four points.