Adare’s Declan Hannon leads Limerick to win the Munster senior hurling championship for a fifth time in a row following a nail-biting 1-23 to 1-22 over Clare in the final at the TUS Gaelic Grounds.
Clare led by a goal at the break thanks to a Mark Rodgers goal but Aaron Gillane hit back in the second half with one of his own that capped a man-of-the-match performance. He finished with a scoring haul of 1-11.
The Treatymen now head straight into the All-Ireland semi-final on either Saturday, July 8 or Sunday, July 9.
Limerick made a fast start with Gillane and Tom Morrissey points but Clare were soon back on level terms thanks to two frees from Aidan McCarthy with nine minutes on the clock.
A Shane O’Donnell point then put the Banner in front for the first time and another effort from play courtesy of Ryan Taylor saw Clare 0-4 to 0-2 ahead.
Gillane’s second of the game reduced the gap to one but Tony Kelly and a long range strike from Diarmuid Ryan saw Brian Lohan’s men three to the good.
Gillane and McCarthy then swapped frees but efforts from the Patrickswell man, Darragh O’Donovan and Gearóid Hegarty squared the game up at 0-7 each with 22 minutes of the game played.
Clare immediately responded with scores from Cathal Malone and Mark Rodgers to take control once more of a stop start first half.
Gillane got two more on the scoreboard either side of a second for Kelly, before a sublime Kyle Hayes point from play saw the game level for a third time.
Clare then hit the front with a Rodgers goal. A Kelly shot from distance struck the right hand post and the Scariff man was on hand to collect the loose ball and place a shot into the corner.
McCarthy then put Clare four points to the good but a seventh Gillane score of the half saw the game at 1-11 to 0-11 in Clare’s favour at the break.
David Reidy and Gillane got the scoring underway at the second half to bring Limerick to within a point and Kelly then gave Clare breathing space with his third of the afternoon.
Gillane and Rodgers then traded points, before the Limerick number 13 pounced for a goal. It was Reidy that provided the pass and Gillane turned his marker Cian Nolan and then found the back of the net with a bouncing shot to put his side a point ahead.
Kelly responded with a free to level the game but Morrissey, Gillane, Reidy and another from Gillane saw Limerick 1-19 to 1-14 up with 54 minutes played. Gillane also had a goal chance saved by Eibhear Quilligan.
Clare brought the game back to within two points with Kelly taking over the free taking duties after McCarthy was called ashore.
SCORERS – LIMERICK: Aaron Gillane 1-11 (8 frees), Tom Morrissey and David Reidy 0-3 each, Cathal O’Neill 0-2, Darragh O’Donovan Gearóid Hegarty, Kyle Hayes and Adam English 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: Nickie Quaid; Mike Casey, Dan Morrissey, Barry Nash; Diarmaid Byrnes, Declan Hannon, Kyle Hayes; Darragh O’Donovan, William O’Donoghue; Gearóid Hegarty, David Reidy, Tom Morrissey; Aaron Gillane, Seamus Flanagan, Graeme Mulcahy.
SUBS: Peter Casey for Mulcahy (47 mins), Colin Coughlan for Hannon (55 mins), Richie English for M Casey (57 mins, inj), Cathal O’Neill for T Morrissey (57 mins), Adam English for Flanagan (64 mins).
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