All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Semi-Final – Clare 1-22 Limerick 0-18

Clare defeated Limerick by 1-22 to 0-18 in the All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship Semi-Final on Sunday August 18th at Croke Park.

Davy driving Clare close to perfection

Clare 1-22 Limerick 0-18

By Diarmuid O’Flynn for the Irish Examiner newspaper

Perfection in team sport is well-nigh impossible to attain; with this display in Croke Park yesterday in the second All-Ireland senior hurling championship semi-final, Clare came as close as any team has so far this year. On the field and off every battle was won and it started before a ball was hit. Tactically it was well flagged that Clare would again play the sweeper system they’ve been working with all year and the word coming out of Limerick was that they were all set to neutralise that plan — they weren’t.

Patrick Donnellan is the Clare captain and regular centre-back; yesterday his position in the half-back line was taken by Conor Ryan and Patrick dropped back into the ‘hole’ between the two defensive lines. What did Limerick do to counteract that? Nothing that anyone in the 62,962 attendance could see; instead they played right into Clare’s hands, into Donnellan’s hands more specifically — he had a field day. Not that anyone in a dominant Clare defence looked as though they needed assistance anyway. Not a single Limerick forward won his individual battle, speedy corner-forward Graeme Mulcahy looking the most threatening, but even he was well marked by the increasingly impressive youngster, David McInerney.

Mulcahy did have one run on goal, brought a good save from Patrick Kelly, but even then he was put under pressure by the fast-closing Donnellan. Midfield was also an area won by Clare, despite the best efforts of Paul Browne, one of Limerick’s best on the day. Here Tony Kelly was especially impressive, finished with four points from play, but Colm Galvin also contributed a beauty.

One had to feel sorry for an overworked Limerick defence and Stephen Walsh, Richie McCarthy and Tom Condon in the full-back line lost any caste, nor did Paudie O’Brien nor Gavin O’Mahony on the flanks. They too had an extra man and Tom Condon cleaned up a lot of ball, but the five Clare forwards played like men possessed, relentless pressure put on every Limerick defender as they attempted to work the ball clear. It all added up to a superb team performance by Clare, 23 scores (1-22) from just 28 shots, a mere three points conceded to the starting forwards at the other, three more to the subs who came in.

Does this mean Clare have hit their pinnacle, have hit the pinnacle of team play in hurling? Not a bit of it, not even close. With an average age of 23 this is a Clare side on a learning curve; in every championship game so far this year they’ve improved, they’ll surely improve again for the All-Ireland final. But it was impressive, very impressive. From the start Limerick were in trouble, looking nervy and out of sorts after the five-week break from the Munster final. It began with a missed free by the normally deadly Declan Hannon, continued in those opening 15 minutes as Clare raced into a 1-4 to 0-1 lead, full-forward Darach Honan using his long leg to boot home a scrappy but ultimately golden goal in the 12th minute. In that period Limerick shot five wides and would shoot five more before the break, the unfortunate Hannon with four of those.

Should Limerick have made a change of free-taker? In hindsight, definitely, especially given sub Shane Dowling’s eventual return of six from six. Even with all those wides Limerick trailed by just seven points at the break, 1-10 to 0-6. Limerick needed a good start to the second half ! and they duly delivered, Dowling with three points from frees (one inside his own half) to bring the deficit back to four. That’s as close as it would get, however.

As they had done in both their games in Munster, Limerick brought in the 7th Cavalry; Niall Moran, Kevin Downes and Thomas Ryan all joining Dowling on the field, the latter two getting on the scoresheet. Made no difference. This was Clare’s day, their near-perfect day. With Kelly and Galvin shredding Limerick in midfield, Colin Ryan continuing to punish defensive infractions, Clare finished with aplomb.

A September date now with Cork, their conquerors in Munster, it’s going to be one hell of an All-Ireland final!

Scorers for Clare: Colin Ryan 0-11 (9f); T Kelly 0-4; P Collins 0-3; D Honan 1-0; P Donnellan, P O’Connor, C Galvin, C McInerney 0-1 each.

Scorers for Limerick: S Dowling 0-6 (5f, 1 65); P Browne 0-2; G O’Mahony 0-2, (1 s/l); D Hannon 0-2 (2f); D Breen, J Ryan, G Mulcahy, C Allis, K Downes, T Ryan 0-1 each.

Clare: P Kelly; D O’Donovan, C Dillon, D McInerney; P O’Connor, Conor Ryan, B Bugler; T Kelly, C Galvin; J Conlon, P Collins, Colin Ryan; C McGrath, D Honan, P Donnellan (c).

Subs for Clare: F Lynch for Conlon (44); C McInerney for Honan (64); N O’Connell for Galvin (67); S O’Donnell for McGrath (70+1).

Limerick: N Quaid; S Walsh, R McCarthy, T Condon; P O’Brien, W McNamara, G O’Mahony; P Browne, D O’Grady (c); D Breen, J Ryan, S Hickey; G Mulcahy, D Hannon, S Tobin.

Subs for Limerick: C Allis for Hickey (inj. 15); S Dowling for Tobin (32); N Moran for Hannon (50); T Ryan for Allis (56); K Downes for Breen (63).

Referee: J Ryan (Tipperary).


Brilliant Clare surge into All-Ireland final

From the web site

GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship Semi-Final: Clare 1-22 Limerick 0-18

Clare will play Cork in the All-Ireland hurling final on September 8 after the Banner County produced a highly assured performance to defeat Limerick in the All-Ireland semi-final at Croke Park on Sunday. Clare lead from start to finish, and in truth, Limerick were never really in the game apart from a very brief period at the start of the second half when a flurry of points saw them get within four of the Clare lead. Davy Fitzgerald’s side weathered that storm comfortably enough though, and they pulled away on the scoreboard in the second half. Colin Ryan was outstanding from frees for Clare and he finished with 0-11, while teenage sensation Tony Kelly gave a masterclass display, finishing with 0-4 from play and inspiring his team to victory.

Limerick appeared to be nervous, particularly in the first half, and the occasion may well have gotten to some of their players. They struggled to gain any rhythm or fluency in the game, and Clare overwhelmed them in almost every sector of the field. Clare were particularly outstanding in the first half, and they lead 1-10 to 0-6 after a dominant opening 35 minutes. Limerick didn’t settle into the game at all, struggling to string passes together, and losing out in most of the 50:50 battles with the Clare players. Declan Hannon in particular struggled in the first half, and he missed four very scoreable placed balls.

Points from Patrick Donnellan, Patrick O’Connor and Kelly put Clare 0-3 to 0-1 in front early on and then on 14 minutes, they pounced for a goal to go five ahead. A long ball was pumped towards the Limerick goal, and after Podge Collins contested it and broke it, Darach Honan used his strength to bundle the ball over the line, his helmet getting the final touch. Ryan’s accuracy from frees further boosted the Clare lead in the second quarter, and although Limerick kept in touch with points from Gavin O’Mahony and Paul Browne, Clare were beginning to take control and they were fully deserving of their 1-10 to 0-6 interval advantage. After Hannon had evidently struggled with the frees in the first half, Shane Dowling was given the job for the second half, and he made an immediate difference, hitting three early points from placed balls to give Limerick a fighting chance at the start of the second period.

However, while Limerick managed to get within four points, Clare always seemed able to find the extra gear required to pull away from them again. Kelly swung over one of his gems to re-establish the five-point advantage, and that score was followed by points from Colm Galvin, Ryan and Podge Collins to leave Clare 1-15 to 0-11 ahead heading into the final quarter. Limerick weren’t really able to get close again. Ryan continued his nerveless display from placed balls, and his final tally of 0-11 was remarkable, given the pressure he was under for each strike. Kelly too shone until the finish, and his fourth point, which put Clare eight ahead, was probably the pick of the bunch.

Frees from Dowling and a point from Limerick substitute Kevin Downes had the Munster champions within five with three minutes of normal time remaining, but Ryan completed the scoring for Clare with another excellent effort, and in the end, they advanced serenely. The pairing of Cork and Clare in the All-Ireland showpiece in three weeks’ time means the decider will be contested by two Munster sides, neither of which won this year’s Munster championship.

Scorers for Clare: Colin Ryan 0-11 (9f), T Kelly 0-4, D Honan 1-0, P Collins 0-3, P Donnellan 0-1, P O’Connor 0-1, C Galvin 0-1, C McInerney 0-1

Scorers for Limerick: S Dowling 0-6 (6f), Hannon 0-2 (2f), P Browne 0-2, G O’Mahony 0-2 (1 sl), C Allis 0-1, J Ryan 0-1, G Mulcahy 0-1, D Breen 0-1, T Ryan 0-1, K Downes 0-1

Clare: P Kelly; D O’Donovan, D McInerney, C Dillon; B Bugler, P Donnellan, P O’Connor; C Galvin, C Ryan; J Conlon, T Kelly, C Ryan; P Collins, D Honan, C McGrath. Subs: F Lynch for J Conlon (44), C McInerney for D Honan (63), N O’Connell for C Galvin (67), S O’Donnell for C McGrath (71).

Limerick: N Quaid; S Walsh, R McCarthy, T Condon; P O’Brien, W McNamara, G O’Mahony; P Browne, D O’Grady; D Breen, J Ryan, S Hickey; G Mulcahy, D Hannon, S Tobin. Subs: C Allis for S Hickey (inj, 15), S Dowling for S Tobin (32), N Moran for D Hannon (51), T Ryan for C Allis (56), K Downes for D Breen (63).

Attendance: 62,962

Clare brush aside nervy Limerick

Report from the Irish Independent newspaper

Clare will meet Cork in the first all-Munster All-Ireland final since 1997 after a comfortable 1-22 to 0-18 win over a jittery Limerick in Croke Park today Limerick looked very nervous in the opening half and their play was littered with defensive errors and poor free-raking from Declan Hannon. Clare were much more assured in what they were trying to do with the likes of Tony Kelly, Colin Ryan and Podge Collins in rude health and deservedly led by 1-10 to 0-6 at the interval.

Limerick began the second half brightly but really needed a goal to get back in the game and it never arrived with Colin Ryan’s 11-point haul crucial to the Banner mens victory. They will now get a chance to avenge their Munster semi-final defeat to Cork on the second Sunday in September. Superb vision from Colin Ryan helped Pat Donnellan come forward to open the scoring and his half-back partner Pat O’Connor was next on the scoresheet.

Limerick almost responded in great fashion but Graeme Mulcahy was denied a goal by a superb save from Patrick Kelly. It took eight minutes for Limerick to open their account after a nervous opening through a Declan Hannon free. Tony Kelly scored a fine point before Clare struck for a rare goal when Limerick failed to deal with a high ball and the sliotar somehow found it’s way to the net through either Podge Collins or Darach Honan. Colin Ryan and substitute Conor Aliss, who replaced the injured Seamus Hickey, exchanged points and Clare led by 1-4 to 0-2 after 18 minutes.

Hannon put three very poor misses behind him to slot a free for Limerick and the deficit was cut to four points. The wily Podge Collins snapped up a loose ball and pointed for Clare before James Ryan and Colin Ryan exchanged points. James Ryan’s point was initially waved wide but the decision was overruled despite the fact that Hawkeye was out of commision.

Limerick midfielder Paul Browne seized on a poor clearance from Pat Donnellan to beat a man and score a brilliant point. Colin Ryan raised another white flag and the dimunitive Podge Collins grabbed his second point to put Clare six ahead with six minutes to go to the break. Tony Kelly and Gavin O’Mahony traded scores before Colin Ryan landed a huge score from a free and Clare led by 1-10 to 0-6 at the break.

Limerick were in dire need of a good start in the second period and three frees from Shane Dowling cut the deficit to four points. Colin Ryan responded with a free of his own in the 40th minute but that effort was cancelled out by Graeme Mulcahy’s point. Limerick were exerting pressure but Tony Kelly was unperturbed and struck over his third point to make it 1-12 to 0-10 with 25 minutes to go. Colin Ryan and Paul Browne traded scores before Colm Galvin landed a massive point for the Banner.

Limerick were in desparate need of a goal but were struggling and Podge Collins reaffirmed Clare’s dominance with a point and a free from Colin Ryan made it 1-16 to 0-11 after 52 minutes. David Breen and Tony Kelly swapped points before Dowling added another free for Limerick. Limerick substitute Niall Moran was very fortunate that his swing of the hurl to the helmet of Tony Kelly was missed by the match officials.

Colin Ryan’s flawless free-taking was continuing and he made it an eight-point game with 13 minutes to go. Gavin O’Mahony and Ryan swapped points before points from Dowling and Tom Ryan gave Limerick some hope. Substitutes Cathal McInerney and Kevin Downes scored points for both sides but Clare still led by six with five minutes remaining. Shane Dowling had a goalbound free superbly saved by Patrick Kelly but pucked the resulting 65 but Colin Ryan’s 10th point cancelled that out. Ryan capped a massive performance with the final point of the game as Clare ran out seven point winners.

Fixture Details

18.08.2013 (Sun)

GAA Hurling All Ireland Senior Championship Semi Final

Páirc an Chrócaigh 15.30 Luimneach v An Clár

Referee: Johnny Ryan (Tiobraid Árann)

Team News

The Limerick senior hurling management of John Allen, John Kiely, Eamon Mescall and Donnach O Donnell has announced their team and panel for this weekend’s All Ireland senior hurling championship semi final against Clare in the Croke Park at 3.30pm.

The team and panel is as follows – 1 Nickie Quaid (Effin), 2 Stephen Walsh (Glenroe), 3 Richie McCarthy (Blackrock), 4 Tom Condon (Knockaderry), 5 Paudie O Brien (Kilmallock), 6 Wayne McNamara (Adare), 7 Gavin O Mahony (Kilmallock), 8 Paul Browne (Bruff), 9 Dónal O Grady (Capt)(Granagh/Ballingarry), 10 David Breen (Na Piarsaigh), 11 James Ryan (Garryspillane), 12 Seamus Hickey (Murroe/Boher), 13 Graham Mulcahy (Kilmallock), 14 Declan Hannon (Adare) and 15 Seanie Tobin (Murroe/Boher)

Panel members 16 Aaron Murphy (Hospital/Herbertstown), 17 Mark Carmody (Patrickswell), 18 Cathal King (Na Piarsaigh) 19 Alan Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh), 20 Shane Dowling (Na Piarsaigh), 21 Conor Allis (Croom), 22 Niall Moran (Ahane), 23 Kevin Downes (Na Piarsaigh), 24 Paudie Aherne (Kilteely/Dromkeen), 25 Tommy Quaid (Effin) and 26 Thomas Ryan (South Liberties)

Match Coverage

This game will be shown live on RTE 2


With Cork through to the GAA hurling All-Ireland senior final on September 8, the battle to join them will take place in Croke Park next Sunday when Clare face Limerick in the second semi-final (3.30). It will be preceded by the minor semi-final between Galway and Limerick (1.30).

While Clare and Limerick have a long history of championship clashes, this will be the first time they have met in the All-Ireland semi-final. Limerick arrive there as Munster champions, having beaten Tipperary and Cork while Clare beat Waterford and lost to Cork in Munster before beating Laois and Wexford in the All-Ireland qualifiers and Galway in the quarter-final.

Clare are bidding to reach the All-Ireland final for the first time since 2002 (they lost to Kilkenny) while Limerick last appeared in the final in 2007 (they also lost to Kilkenny)

Paths to the semi-final


Clare 2-20 Waterford 1-15 (Munster quarter-final), Thurles

Cork 0-23 Clare 0-15 (Munster semi-final), Gaelic Grounds

Clare 1-32 Laois 0-15 (All-Ireland qualifiers), Ennis.

Clare 3-24 Wexford 1-20 (All-Ireland qualifiers – after extra-time) Thurles

Clare 1-23 Galway 2-13 (All-Ireland quarter-final), Thurles

Average For: 2-21; Average Against: 1-17

Clare scorers

Colin Ryan……………………….0-40 (0-29 frees, 0-6 ‘65s’)

Tony Kelly……………………….0-12 (0-1 pen)

Conor McGrath………………..2-7

Padraic Collins………………..0-12

Shane O’Donnell……………..3-2

Darach Honan…………………..0-9

John Conlon……………………..0-8

Cathal McInerney………… 2-1

Colm Galvin…………………..0-5

Peter Duggan………………….0-4

Brendan Bugler………………0-3

Fergal Lynch…………………..0-2

Patrick O’Connor………..0-2

Patrick Donnellan……………0-1

Liam Markham………………0-1

David McInerney………….0-1

Cian Dillon………………….0-1

Seadna Morey……………..0-1

Aaron Cunningham………0-1

Nicky O’Connell…………0-1


Limerick 1-18 Tipperary 1-15 (Munster semi-final), Gaelic Grounds

Limerick 0-24 Cork 0-15 (Munster final), Gaelic Grounds

Average For: 0-23; Average Against: 0-17


Declan Hannon………0-17 (0-11 frees, 1 ‘65’, 1 sideline)

Sean Tobin……………1-3

Shane Dowling……..0-5 (0-1 free)

James Ryan………….0-4

Donal O’Grady……..0-3

Graeme Mulcahy….0-2

Kevin Downes…….0-2

Niall Moran………..0-2

David Breen………..0-1

Paudie O’Brien……0-1

Paul Browne………0-1

Seamus Hickey…..0-1

Last Five Championship Clashes

2012: Limerick 3-18 Clare 1-20 (All-Ireland qualifiers)

2008: Clare 4-12 Limerick 1-16 (Munster semi-final)

2007: Limerick 1-23 Clare 1-16 (All-Ireland quarter-final)

2006: Clare 2-21 Limerick 0-10 (All-Ireland qualifiers)

1996: Limerick 1-13 Clare 0-15 (Munster semi-final)

Limerick 3 Clare 2

Last Five All-Ireland semi-finals


2006: Kilkenny 2-21 Clare 1-16

2005: Cork 0-16 Clare 0-15

2002: Clare 1-16 Waterford 1-13

1999: Kilkenny 2-14 Clare 1-13

1998: Offaly 0-16 Clare 0-13 (third game)


2009: Tipperary 6-19 Limerick 2-7

2007: Limerick 5-11 Waterford 2-15

1996: Limerick 1-17 Antrim 0-13

1994: Limerick 2-23 Antrim 0-11

1981: Galway 4-16 Limerick 2-17 (replay)

Last Championship clash…

Limerick 3-18 Clare 1-20 (2012 All-Ireland qualifiers)

Goals by Wayne McNamara and Sean Tobin helped Limerick to an interval lead of 2-9 to 0-14 and they went on to out-score Clare by 1-9 to 1-6 in the second half.

Limerick: N Quaid; S Walsh, R McCarthy, T Condon; W McNamara (1-0), D O’Grady, G O’Mahony 0-1 (0-1 free); P O’Brien, J Ryan; S Dowling 0-8 (0-8 frees), B Geary, D Breen; G Mulcahy 0-2, N Moran 0-5, S Tobin 1-1.

Subs: D Hannon 1-0 for Geary, K Downes 0-1 for Tobin, S O’Neill for Condon, S Hickey for J Ryan, T Ryan for Mulcahy.

Clare: P Kelly; D O’Donovan, C Dillon, S Morey; B Bugler 0-1, P Donnellan 0-1, N O’Connell 0-4 (0-3 frees); C Galvin 0-3, S Collins; F Lynch, J Conlon 0-2, T Kelly 1-2 (1-1 frees); A Cunningham 0-1, D Honan, C McGrath 0-6 (0-4 frees).

Subs: L Markham for Collins, C Ryan for Cunningham, J Clancy for Honan.


Having served as a selector during Donal O’Grady’s management term in Cork, Allen took over as boss in late 2004 and remained in charge for two seasons, during which the Rebels won two Munster (2005-2006) and one All-Ireland title (2005). In that period, they won nine of ten championship games, their only defeat coming against Kilkenny in the 2006 decider. Allen stood down as manager at the end of 2006.

He again succeeded Donal O’Grady, this time as Limerick manager, at the start of 2012. He steered them to Munster title success this year while his overall championship record over the two seasons reads: Played 6, Won 4, Lost 2.

Davy Fitzgerald replaced Justin McCarthy as Waterford manager in mid-season 2008 and led them to the All-Ireland final for the first time since 1963 three months later, where they lost to Kilkenny. He remained as Waterford manager until the end of the 2011 season, the highpoint of which was a Munster title win in 2010.

His championship record with Waterford reads: Played 18, Won 10, Drew 2, Lost 6. He took over in Clare at the start of 2012 and since then, his championship record reads: Played 8, Won 5, Lost 3.


Cork’s 1-24 to 1-19 win over Dublin in last Sunday’s All-Ireland semi-final ensures that the final will not only be an All-Munster affair but also a repeat of either this year’s Munster semi-final or final. Cork beat Clare by 0-23 to 0-15 in the semi-final in the Gaelic Grounds on June 23rd and lost to Limerick by 0-24 to 0-15 in the final, also at the Gaelic Grounds on July 14,

It will be the first all-Munster All-Ireland final since Clare beat Tipperary in 1997. Cork are back in the final for the first time since 2006 and are bidding to win the title for the first time since 2005.