22 April 2023; Hugh Bourke of Limerick in action against Keelan Sexton of Clare during the Munster GAA Football Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Limerick and Clare at TUS Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Tom Beary/Sportsfile

It took extra time points from David Connolly, Davey Lyons and Ronan Connolly to put the dual club into a seventh decider.

Adare 2-15 Fr. Casey’s 2-12

Adare qualified for a sixth Limerick SFC final in just seven seasons following an extra-time over Fr. Casey’s in a dry, but soft, Newcastle West. They needed extra-time to progress, after relinquishing a two-goal lead entering the closing stages.

An own goal and a last gasp Eliah Riordan penalty sent this game into extra-time. It took extra time points from David Connolly, Davey Lyons and Ronan Connolly to put the dual club into a seventh decider.

Fr. Casey’s fall at the semi-final for the second time on the bounce – having lost out to the same opposition by five points 12 months ago. Their wait for a first final appearance since 2009 goes on, while the Abbeyfeale side last claimed the Fr. Casey Cup in 2006.

The winners put themselves in a strong position at half-time when leading 2-5 to 0-7. It was the younger of the Bourke brothers who was really influential for the two-time champions. He kicked 1-6 in all and had his fingerprints over all that was good about their attack.

Bourke has returned to full fitness having missed the business end of this championship last term. He found the net on the quarter hour, firing home after collecting an inviting Shane O’Connor pass. He then turned provider to find the busy Davey Lyons who drilled low to the net – 2-2 to 0-6.

There was scores from Dylan Quirke and a brace of Martin Scannell frees – which added to their early quartet of points. Eliah Riordan was a shining light for Casey’s who’d won their quarter-final against Na Piarsaigh two weeks ago Sean Scannell – manager and sub-keeper – was sent off at half-time for comments towards referee Johnny Murphy when leaving the field.

With 10 minutes remaining, the gap was still five, despite two Quirke frees. An own goal after a goalmouth scramble cut the gap but there was still work to do to tie this game.

Donagh Kelly missed the net, firing over with time running out. He would have been regretting that miss, especially when sub Willie Griffin curled over a beautiful effort to restore the three-point lead.

But then, right at the last Roy Gleeson was adjudged to have held Mark McCarthy, with all 30 players inside the Adare ’45. Up stepped Quirke to send the game to extra-time at 2-12 apiece.

Hugh Bourke showed great vision, again, when setting up David Connolly for a lead score in a mistake-filled first period of extra-time. Adare led by a point at the short whistle. The heavy conditions didn’t lend it to free-flowing football and the lead was always crucial, which allowed Adare to sit deep and defend their advantage.

Fr. Casey’s missed two frees in extra-time and couldn’t reply once Limerick hurler Ronan Connolly put three between them. It was heartbreak for Mark Fitzgerald – the new Clare manager – who has helped a youthful Abbeyfeale side get closer to the top of Limerick football once again.

The other semi-final clash, between three-in-a-row chasing Newcastle West and a refreshed-looking Monaleen outfit, takes place on Sunday at 3pm in Kilmallock.

Scorers for Adare: H Bourke 1-6 (0-3 frees); D Lyons 1-2; S Costello, A Canny (mark), J Alfred (free), R Bourke, W Griffin, D Connolly, R Connolly 0-1 each.

Adare: J Alfred; C Sparling, D Connolly, R Connolly; J Sweeney, S Doherty ©, P Maher; J English, J Twomey; S Costelloe D Lyons, A Canny, J Fitzgerald, H Bourke, S O’Connor.

Subs: R Bourke for Twomey (inj – 15); W Griffin for English (42); M O’Mahony for O’Connor (52), R Gleeson for Canny (59); A Canny for Costello (71); E Costello for Sparling (76)

From the Irish Examiner

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