Deadly Downes drives Limerick
Limerick 2-19 Clare 1-15
By Diarmuid O’Flynn, Cusack Park Ennis for the Irish Examiner newspaper
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
IN perfect summer conditions, a powerful Limerick side proved too strong for Clare in Cusack Park yesterday as they booked their place against Cork in next Wednesday’s Munster Under-21 hurling final. When Limerick step out onto their home turf in the Gaelic Grounds next week it will be for their first Munster decider since 2002 and the heady days of the All-Ireland three-in-a-row. Limerick had entered the game as underdogs but inspired by the contributions of senior stars Kevin Downes and Declan Hannon up front belied that tag with a performance of subtlety, pace and power. All over the pitch they were sharper, faster, hungrier and from first whistle to last always looked the more likely winners.
Playing into a slight breeze, the visitors had the ideal start, a goal within two minutes from flying corner-forward Michael Ryan, and by the 10th minute had increased that lead to six points, 1-4 to 0-1, courtesy of points from midfielder Seán O’Brien (two), Shane Dowling and Ryan, Clare’s reply coming from their speedster in the corner, Paudge Collins. The next 10 minutes saw Clare on top, a regular supply of good ball to the attack resulting in points from senior stars Conor McGrath (two) and Cathal McInerney (another senior) and fellow half-forward Tony Kelly, this year’s minor captain. Cue the entry of Kevin Downes, and after a quiet start the powerful youngster, who still has two years left at this level, began to assert himself on the edge of the square. He helped himself to three well-taken points before the break and that, together with points from Ryan, William Griffin and Niall Kennedy, was enough to see Limerick seven points ahead at half time, 1-10 to 0-6, and with the breeze behind them in the second half.
On the resumption it was Clare now with the better start, half-time substitute David O’Halloran with a point inside a minute. McInerney then powered a shot past Limerick keeper Aaron Murphy from close range after a pass from the ultra-dangerous McGrath, followed by a Tony Kelly point. Suddenly it was all back in the melting-pot, 1-10 to 1-8. Minor Shane Dowling ! settled Limerick nerves with a fine point after a huge Murphy puck-out and, using their superior size and power, gradually the visitors began again to impose themselves. Points from long-range free-taking midfielder Conor Allis, Hannon and Dowling (two) soon had them back in the driving-seat and when Downes robbed full-back and Clare captain Patrick O’Connor on the end-line in the 50th minute and batted to the net to make it 2-16 to 1-11, it was all but over.
Clare fought to the finish, the flying O’Halloran and Conor McGrath constantly probing for a weakness in the Limerick defence — they found none. Full-back Patrick Begley was immense, corner-backs Alan Dempsey and Steve O’Reilly fast and sure when attacking the ball and emergency centre-back Cian Hayes — filling in for domestic accident victim James O’Brien — commanded the middle. Limerick also had to do without senior star Graeme Mulcahy, forced to cry off after suffering a shoulder injury in last Sunday’s All-Ireland quarter-final loss to Waterford. This was an impressive win for Limerick as manager Leo O’Connor’s charges maintained the 2011 good news story for the Treaty county hurlers for another week at least. On the basis of this display Cork had best be on their guard.
Scorers for Limerick: K Downes 1-4; M Ryan 1-2; S Dowling 0-4 (2f); C Allis 0-3 (1f, 2 65s); S O’Brien 0-2; W Griffin, N Kennedy, D Hannon, M Carmody 0-1 each.
Scorers for Clare: C McGrath 0-5 (3f, 1 65); C McInerney 1-1; T Kelly 0-3; D O’Halloran 0-3; L Markham 0-2; P Collins 0-1.
LIMERICK: A Murphy; A Dempsey, P Begley, S O’Reilly; C McNamara, C Hayes, T O’Callaghan; C Allis, S O’Brien; S Dowling, D Hannon, N Kennedy; M Ryan, K Downes, W Griffin.
Subs: B Cleary for O’Callaghan (41); M Carmody for Griffin (44); S Madden for Ryan (61); B O’Connor for McNamara (59); T Fleming for Downes (62).
CLARE: K Brennan; D Nash, P O’Connor, P Flanagan; K Ryan, C Chaplin, S O’Halloran; C Ryan, L Markham; C McInerney, S Golden, T Kelly; P Collins, C McGrath, F Kennedy.
Subs: D O’Halloran for C Ryan (30); A Lynch for Kennedy (30); J Fennessey for Golden (41).
Referee: C Lyons (Cork)
Clare — K Brennan; D Nash, P O’Connor, P Flanagan; K Ryan, C Chaplin, S O’Halloran; L Markham, C Ryan; S Golden, C McInerney, T Kelly; P Collins, F Kennedy, C McGrath
Limerick – TBC
For the Record
|2011 Team Management||John Minogue (Manager);
Cyril Lyons (Selector),
Sean O’Halloran (Selector), Alan Dunne (Selector)
|Leo O’Connor (Claughaun – Manager); Pat Davern (Ballybrown – Selector); John Kiely (Galbally – Selector);
(South Liberties – Selector)
|2011 Team Captain||TBC||Kevin Downes
|2010 Championship Performance||Clare defeated Limerick in the Munster Semi-Final before losing to Tipperary by 1-22 to 1-17 in the Munster Final at Semple Stadium Thurles||Limerick lost to Clare by 1-15 to 1-12 in the Gaelic Grounds Limerick in the Munster Semi-Final.|
|Number of Munster Under 21 Hurling titles||1||5|
|Last Munster Under 21 Hurling Title||2009||2002|
|Munster Under 21 Hurling Championship Record since 2000||Played – 16
Won – 6
Lost – 10
Drawn – 0
|Played – 21
Won – 11
Lost – 8
Drawn – 2
|Last meeting in the Munster Under 21 Hurling Championship||July 14th 2010 at the Gaelic Grounds Limerick – Clare 1-15 Limerick 1-12 (Munster Semi-Final) – a late Darach Honan goal ensured Clare defeated Limerick by 3 points.|
|What happened 3 years ago?
2008 Munster Minor Hurling Championship Round-up
|Clare defeated Cork by 2-17 to 2-16 in the first round at Pairc Ui Chaoimh. Two months later, Clare lost the Munster Semi-Final to Tipperary by 2-12 to 1-10 at Thurles.||Limerick lost to Tipperary by 3-21 to 1-12 in the first round at Thurles before bowing out to Cork in the Semi-Final playoff by 0-23 to 1-11 in Pairc Ui Chaoimh|
BORD GAIS ENERGY MUNSTER GAA
HURLING UNDER 21 CHAMPIONSHIP 2011
Wednesday June 1st
@ Semple Stadium Thurles Tipperary 4-12 Waterford 1-16
Friday July 15th
@ Semple Stadium Thurles Cork v Tipperary 7:30pm
Tuesday July 26th
@ Cusack Park Ennis Clare v Limerick 7:30pm
Wednesday August 3rd
Venue Permutations as follows –
@ Cusack Park Ennis Clare v Tipperary 7:30pm
@ Cusack Park Ennis Clare v Cork 7:30pm
@ Gaelic Grounds Limerick Limerick v Tipperary 7:30pm
@ Gaelic Grounds Limerick Limerick v Cork 7:30pm
Munster Under 21 Hurling Championship Roll Of Honour
Tipperary (20) – 1964, 1965, 1967, 1972, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1989, 1990, 1995, 1999, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010
Cork (18) – 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1973, 1975, 1976, 1977, 1982, 1988, 1991, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2005, 2007
Limerick (5) – 1986, 1987, 2000, 2001, 2002
Waterford (3) – 1974, 1992, 1994
Clare (1) – 2009
Munster Under 21 Hurling Championship – List of Winning Teams
Visit the Munster GAA web site History section to view the complete list of each winning team since the competition began in1964 – http://munster.gaa.ie/history/u21h_teams/
Munster Under 21 Hurling Cup
Corn na Cásca presented by the Munster Council in 1966 to commemorate the jubilee of the 1916 Rising.
All Ireland Under 21 Hurling Championship
In the Under 21 Hurling All Ireland Roll of Honour, Cork top the charts along with Kilkenny with 11 titles. Tipperary are joint-third with 9 titles, tied with Galway. Limerick have won 4 All-Ireland titles in this grade while Waterford and Clare have 1 title each.
2011 Bord Gais Energy Munster Under 21 Hurling
Championship Matches played to date
Tipperary 4-12 Waterford 1-16 – June 1st @ Semple Stadium Thurles (Munster Quarter-Final)
Tipperary – P Ryan; C Haugh, K O’Gorman, S Maher; B Stapleton, J Barry, P Heffernan; N McGrath, J Gallagher; S Curran, P Murphy, A Ryan; J O’Neill, B O’Meara, J O’Dwyer.
Subs: S O’Brien for Barry (inj, h-t), A McCormack for Ryan (39), M Sheedy for Curran (56).
Waterford – S O’Keeffe; J Barron, D Fives, N Connors; P Prendergast, Philip Mahony, S Daniels; S Roche, A Brophy; E Murphy, Pauric Mahony, M O’Neill; B O’Sullivan, M Shanahan, J Dillon.
Subs: O Whelan for O’Neill (h-t), O Connors for Brophy (47), E Madigan for Murphy (inj 56).
Referee – Diarmuid Kirwan (Cork)
2011 Top Scorers – Bord Gais Energy
Munster Under 21 Hurling Championship
John O’Neill (Tipperary) 2-2
Brian O’Sullivan (Waterford ) 1-4
Pauric Mahony (Waterford) 0-6 frees
Noel McGrath (Tipperary) 1-1 (1-0 penalty)
Maurice Shanahan (Waterford) 0-4
Sean Curran (Tipperary) 1-0
Adrian Ryan (Tipperary) 0-3
John O’Dwyer (Tipperary) 0-2 (0-1 free)
Brian Stapleton (Tipperary), Paddy Murphy (Tipperary), Brian O’Meara (Tipperary), Mike Sheedy (Tipperary), Jake Dillon (Waterford), Owen Connors (Waterford) 0-1 each
Odds and Ends
Waterford had 10 points to spare over Tipperary in the 2009 Munster Under 21 Hurling Championship Semi-Final at Fraher Field Dungarvan. 14 months later, 8 of the Tipperary team played in the 2010 All-Ireland Senior Hurling defeat over Kilkenny – Padraic Maher, Michael Cahill, Brendan Maher, Seamus Hennessy, Gearoid Ryan, Noel McGrath, Seamus Callanan and Patrick Maher. 7 other Tipperary hurlers who played that night are members of the 2011 Tipperary Senior Hurling panel – namely Pa Bourke, John O’Neill, Shane Bourke, John O’Keeffe, Sean Carey, Michael Heffernan and John Coghlan. By contrast, Noel Connors was the only Waterford player to start for Waterford in the 2010 Munster Final and Replay while Maurice Shanahan and Shane Casey made brief substitute appearances.
Shane O’Neill captained Cork to Munster Under 21 Hurling success, their last title at this grade. Shane is the Cork Senior Hurling captain for 2011. The Cork team included Eoin Cadogan, Pat Cronin, Cathal Naughton and Pat Horgan.
Waterford’s last Munster Under 21 Hurling title came in 1994 with James O’Connor as Captain. Tony Browne lined out at centre-back while Paul Flynn was corner-forward.
Tipperary have played in 28 finals, winning 20. Cork have contested 27 finals, being successful 18 times. Waterford have qualified for just 6 of the 47 finals played to date, winning 3. Limerick’s records is Played 16, Won 5, Lost 11. Finally, Clare lost 11 finals before winning their first in 2009 before going on to lose the 2010 final to Tipperary.