By Jerome O Connell Limerick Leader Sport
EXTRA time heart-break for the Limerick minor hurlers this Wednesday evening as Clare ended the Limerick bid for a fifth successive Munster minor hurling championship final appearance.
It was 0-14 each at the end of normal time but Clare eventually edged into the final 0-19 to 0-17.
The sides were level on 10 occasions before Clare found a run of three unanswered points in the second period of extra time.
It was a dramatic night in which Clare hit 22 wides, compared to 10 for Limerick.
It was 0-7 each at half time – level on three occasions in front of an attendance of 3697.
Limerick, backed by six players who saw action in last September’s All Ireland MHC final loss to Tipperary in Croke Park, hit the ground running and were four points to the good after 11-minutes. All four came from the stick of Paul O’Brien – two from play and two from frees.
Clare hit five wides before they opened their account in the 12th minute. Tiernan Agnew was to score the next four points for Clare – one from play.
After 11-minutes without a score Limerick hit back through Ronan Connolly as the game opened up. Breffini Horner hit back but again Dan Minehan and David Woulfe replied to leave Limerick 0-7 to 0-5 clear with 25-minutes played.
But the sides went to the interval dressing room level with Agnew (free) and Gary Cooney with late Banner points in the half.
Crucially just before the half time whistle Dylan O’Shea was twice denied a Limerick goal – firstly hooked by Lee Brack and then by a save from goalkeeper Eamon Foudy. Clare ended the 30-minutes with seven wides – Limerick had just three.
Paul O’Brien (free) and David Woulfe had early Limerick points in the second half as the game was level 0-9 each with four minutes gone.
Diarmuid Ryan, an Ardscoil Ris Harty Cup player, had Clare ahead for the first time in the game’s 37th minute at 0-10 to 0-9 but then scores dried up.
After 15-minutes without a Limerick score, two came in quick succession from Dylan O’Shea and David Woulfe to level for a sixth time with 20-minutes played in the second half.
Clare then found three in a row to move 0-14 to 0-11 ahead with five minutes to play.
Mikey O’Brien hit back in the 56th minute and a minute later O’Brien reduced the margin to a single point.
Then 90-seconds from the end of normal time it was a Paul O’Brien free that sent the game to extra time, 0-14 each.
It was the seventh time the sides were level over the 60-minutes, in which Clare had 15 wides and Limerick just five.
It was a 60-minutes in which Paul O’Brien hit seven points (three from play), while Tiernan Agnew had nine points for Clare (one from play).
By half time in extra time it was 0-16 each with Woulfe and O’Brien on the mark for Limerick.
The opening minute of the second period of extra time saw Limerick ahead with an O’Brien ‘65 after the lineman over ruled the umpire to award it to Limerick.
But Clare hit back with Agnew and Gary Cooney moving them ahead.
Cooney added another in the final minute of extra time to seal the Clare win.
LIMERICK: Daithi Heffernan (Mallow); Conor Flahive (Mungret St Pauls), Conor Nicholas (Monaleen), Ciaran Barry (Ahane); Mikey O’Brien (Doon), Jerome Boylan (Na Piarsaigh), Kevin Bonar (Bruff); Dan Minehan (Ahane), Michael O’Grady (Knockainey); Paul O’Riordan (Bruff), Paul O’Brien (Mungret St Pauls), David Woulfe (Kilmallock); Dylan O’Shea (Garryspillane), Ronan Connolly (Adare), Gearoid Barry (Kilmallock). Subs: Brian O’Grady (Kilteely-Dromkeen) for Paul O’Riordan (h-t), Ryan Tobin (Garryspillane) for Gearoid Barry (37mins), Rory Duff (Mungret St Pauls) for Michael O’Grady (49mins), Michael O’Grady (Knockainey) for Mikey O’Brien (h-t, e-t), Ken Byrnes (Old Christrians) for Paul O’Brien, inj (16mins, e-t), Paul O’Riordan (Bruff) for Rory Duff, inj (16mins, e-t), Damien Burke (Dromcollogher-Broadford) for Dylan O’Shea, inj (e-t, 21mins).
CLARE: Eamonn Foudy (Inagh-Kilnamona); Sean Crowley (Kilmaley), Ross Hayes (Crusheen), Bradley Higgins (Kilmaley); Cian Minogue (Bodyke), Diarmuid Ryan (Cratloe), Aidan McCarthy (Inagh-Kilnamona); Keith White (Inagh-Kilnamona), Lee Brack (Clarecastle); Eoin Fitzgerald (Inagh-Kilnamona), Rian Considine (Cratloe), Tiernan Agnew (Sixmilebridge); Paul Corry (Sixmilebridge), Gary Cooney (O’Callaghans Mills), Breffni Horner (Crusheen). Subs: Conor Tierney (St Joesphs Doora-Barefield) for Paul Corry (h-t), Colin Haugh (Ruan) for Rian Considine (42mins), Gearoid Cahill (Corofin) for Eoin Fitzgerald (48mins), Cian McInerney (Inagh Kilnamona) for Sean Crowley (51mins), Eoghan Wallace (Clarecastle) for Diarmuid Ryan (57mins), Tom O’Rourke (Kilmaley) for Lee Brack (e-t), Killian McDermott (Clarecastle) for Keith Whyte (14mins, e-t).
REFEREE: Philip Kelly (Tipperary)