Limerick, captained by Adare’s Declan Hannon, are Munster champions for a fourth year in a row, but were made to work for it by an inspired Clare performance; the contest ebbed and flowed, before going to extra-time, and it was the Treaty who held out for victory
Limerick have won a fourth consecutive Munster title after an epic 1-29 to 0-29 win over Clare.
With Semple Stadium packed to capacity, the two rivals played out an incredible contest, and could not be separated after 70 minutes.
It was the Treaty who edged it after extra-time, as the Banner’s wait for a first provincial success since 1998 continues.
It was a breathless contest right from the throw-in.
The Treaty struggled to deal with Tony Kelly, but Ryan Taylor also created some headaches for John Kiely’s charges, striking three first-half points from play.
The pick of the bunch came from Kelly, who hooked and dispossessed Gearoid Hegarty, before embarking on a 50-yard solo run and putting it over the bar.
Up the other end, Seamus Flanagan led the charge for the Treaty with four superb scores.
The Banner were flying, meeting the All-Ireland champions in the physical stakes, and deservedly led 0-12 to 0-9.
The All-Ireland champions responded, however. In the 27th minute, Tom Morrissey rose to field a high ball, before playing a hand-pass to Hegarty. The 2020 Hurler of the Year flicked the ball over the head of Diarmuid Ryan, before burying it past Eibhear Quilligan.
John Keenan’s half-time whistle paused the play with the sides level, 0-14 to 1-11.
Limerick struggled to find scores after the restart, hitting three wides before Cathal O’Neill eventually raised a white flag.
The sides then traded scores, and the lead frequently changed hands.
It was level entering the three minutes of injury-time, and Declan Hannon thought he had won it with a long-range point from midfield under pressure.
Clare were given one last chance when they won a side-line on the Limerick ’21, and Tony Kelly stepped up from underneath the New Stand to cut it directly over the bar to force extra-time. Interestingly, 0-24 to 1-21 was also the full-time score when the teams met in Ennis.
The Treaty started extra-time the stronger, with Aaron Gillane and Seamus Flanagan striking points to help them into a one-point lead at the break.
Try as they might, the Banner were unable to claw it back, as Limerick subs David Reidy and Conor Boylan, as well as a late William O’Donoghue point, helped Limerick over the line.
Limerick: Nickie Quaid; Sean Finn, Mike Casey, Barry Nash; Diarmaid Byrnes (0-1, 0-1f), Declan Hannon, Dan Morrissey; William O’Donoghue (0-1), Darragh O’Donovan (0-1); Gearoid Hegarty (1-0), Cathal O’Neill (0-2), Tom Morrissey (0-3); Aaron Gillane (0-10, 0-7f), Seamus Flanagan (0-8), Kyle Hayes.
Subs: Richie English for Mike Casey (57), David Reidy (0-1) for Cathal O’Neill (58), Graeme Mulcahy for Darragh O’Donovan (64), Conor Boylan (0-1) for Tom Morrissey (65)
Clare: Eibhear Quilligan; Rory Hayes, Conor Cleary, Paul Flanagan; Diarmuid Ryan, John Conlon, David McInenery; David Reidy, David Fitzgerald (0-5); Cathal Malone, Tony Kelly (0-13, 0-6f, 0-1sl), Shane O’Donnell; Ian Galvin (0-1), Peter Duggan (0-4, 0-3f, 0-1sl), Ryan Taylor (0-3).
Subs: Shane Meehan (0-1) for Ian Galvin (55), Robyn Mounsey for David Reidy (63), David Reidy for Shane O’Donnell (13 ET), Patrick Crotty for Peter Duggan (16 ET), Mark Rodgers (0-2, 0-1f).
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