ESB Munster Minor Hurling Championship Semi-Final – Clare 1-17 Limerick 2-12

Clare defeated Limerick by 1-17 to 2-12 in the ESB Munster Minor Hurling Championship Semi-Final on Friday in the Gaelic Grounds Limerick.

Arthur’s accuracy the catalyst as Clare march on

From the Irish Examiner newspaper

Clare 1-17 Limerick 2-12

Saturday, June 26, 2010

AN exhibition of free-taking by Niall Arthur, who scored eight times from placed balls, earned Clare a two point victory over Limerick in a keenly contested ESB Munster MHC semi-final at the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick last night. However, Clare were always the better team and fully deserved their win, Limerick’s second goal coming in the 60th minute from a free by Shane Dowling. Apart from Arthur’s contribution, David O’Halloran and Paudge Collins also make outstanding contributions up front while Paul Flanagan and Kevin Lynch were the pick of their backs.

Limerick had hoped to build on the success of the Árd Scoil Rís team who won this year’s Dr Harty Cup title for the first time, but on the night could never match the pace and skill of their opponents. Only Kevin McDonnell, Declan Hannon and Shane Dowling came out of this game with their reputations fully intact. Clare got the perfect start and stormed into an 0-4 to nil lead after just five minutes. Their hurling was far crisper all over the field with Kevin Lynch who had finished his Leaving Cert earlier in the day, a commanding figure at centre. Up front, O’Halloran’s pace troubled the Limerick defence and after John Fitzgibbon opened the home side’s account with a point, Arthur wasted a glorious chance of a Clare goal, driving into the side netting after O’Halloran put him through. But it was a temporary let-off for Limerick. From a lengthy clearance by Enda Boyce, O’Halloran won possession and took off on a great run before rattling the Limerick net from 12 metres for a superb individual goal.

Limerick struggled to come to grips with the pace and skill of a very talented Clare side, and were in real danger of being completely over-run. However, after going 12 minutes without a score, Sean Kelly landed a point and it sparked a tremendous revival by the home side which yielded four points without reply. It was now Clare’s turn to soak up the pressure, and at the break it was all to play for at 1-8 to 0-8.

There was a far great pep in Limerick’s step on the changeover and they were level after 33 minutes when Declan Hannon’ free from inside his own 65-metre line wasn’t cleared and Michael Ryan first-timed the loose ball to the net. The goal tied the game for the first time and they were level twice more after exchanging points, but O’Halloran continued to torment the Limerick defence and with Collins equally efficient at centre forward, the visitors edged three points clear thanks to the excellent accuracy of Arthur’s frees.

Limerick were in need of a goal if they were have any chance, and it didn’t look like coming as a resolute Clare defence, in which corner back and captain Flanagan was outstanding, gave nothing away. Points by the busy Collins and another from a free by Arthur put Clare five up with minutes to go. There was still a kick left in Limerick however, and they won a 20-metre free which Shane Dowling drilled to the net, but it was too little too late and Clare held on for a well-deserved victory and a place in the final against the winners of tonight’s second semi-final involving Cork and Waterford.

Scorers for Clare: N Arthur 0-8 (all frees); D O’Halloran 1-1; P Collins 0-3; J Shanahan, T Kelly 0-2 each; D Keane 0-1.

Scorers for Limerick: D Hannon 0-6 (0-2 65s); S Dowling 1-2 (frees); M Ryan 1-0; J Fitzgibbon 0-3 (0-2 frees); S Kelly 0-1.

CLARE: R Taaffe; P Flanagan, N Purcell, S Morey; E Boyce, K Lynch, S O’Halloran; C Galvin, T Kelly; C Malone, P Collins, J Shanahan; D O’Halloran, N Arthur, D Keane.

Subs: A Mulready for Malone (40); H Vaughan for Purcell (48).

LIMERICK: OW O’Rourke; B Murphy, A Dempsey, B Hannigan; M Carmody, K O’Donnell, C O’Riordan; D Hannon, S Kelly; M Fitzgibbon, T Ryan, D Morrissey; J Fitzgibbon, S Dowling, M Ryan.

Subs: D Murphy for O’Riordan (22); J Mulcahy for Kelly (half time); B O’Connor Mulcahy (45); R Ryan for T Ryan (51); J Aherne for M Fitzgibbon (55).

Referee: D Copps (Cork)

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