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Limerick fight back to begin 2024 Munster Championship campaign with a win



Limerick fight back to begin 2024 Munster Championship campaign with a win. Photo: Limerick GAA Twitter

Limerick fought back from a nine-point gap to claim a 2024 Munster Championship opening day win against Clare in Cusack Park

The Treaty County victory marks the county’s first Cusack Park victory in more than 30 years, a victory which seemed unlikely to many watching as the Limerick team trailed 1-15 to 0-9 with just 15 minutes to go. 

A tit-for-tat start to the game saw Clare’s Aidan McCarthy get the league champions a point up from play within 20 seconds, but Limerick responded winning a free afterwards which was put over by Aaron Gillane.

Gearóid Hegarty and David Fitzgerald took the score to 0-2 to 0-2 with another Limerick point for David Reidy and another free from Gillane seeing Limerick lead on the five-minute mark 0-2 to 0-4.

The momentum seemed to be with the Treaty men when an early substitution was forced when Mike Casey was replaced by Seán Finn.

Saves from Nicky Quaid slowed the Clare attack for a period, but Clare eventually found their footing in the half as scores from Cathal O’Neill and another from McCarthy levelled it up which was followed by scores from Hegarty and McCarthy making it 0-5 to 0-5 midway through the first half.

Clare would then take the lead through McCarthy who was on form with his free taking on the day; although Limerick held on the Banner started topull away when on the 30th minute McCarthy fired past Quaid making it 1-10 to 0-8, as it would stay to half time.

With a mountain to climb, the second half started slowly and the game looked as though it was slipping away from the Treaty men. Just one point in the 38th saw Clare pull farther ahead. It wasn’t until the 48th minute Gillane put the ball over from a free that Limerick would score their first of the second half.

Another score from McCarthy saw Clare make it a seven-point game, leading 1-13 to 0-09, and pushing nine clear in the 52nd minute with a score from Rodgers’ second point of the day.

Limerick slowly fought back taking their scores, as Gillane brought it to within six points in the 56th minute, and in the 60th the Limerick men began step up with a bit of luck on their side as a Byrnes long free dropped short and Gillane got a touch on the ball, finding the net making the score 1-16 to 1-13.

A score from Reidy shortly after put Limerick within two points, and an Ó’Dáilligh mishit snuck through the legs of the Clare keeper giving Limerick a lead for the first time since early in the first half.

In the 67th minute, another bit of luck came Limerick’s way as a shot rebounded from the post into the path of Gillane who scooped the sliotar home and a Tony Kelly score made it a three-point game in Limerick’s favour coming into the final minutes of the game.

A Cian Lynch score gave Limerick a four-point cushion on the 69th minute and the additional 3 minutes weren’t enough for Clare as Tony Kelly scored his second, finishing up 1-18 to 3-15, giving Limerick a win on the opening Munster Championship weekend.

Speaking after the game, John Kiely said, “Some of the guys will be disappointed with their performance, but who knows, maybe that’ll light their fire to go back and train hard this week and come back next week better players.”

He noted that the historical aspect of this season hasn’t impacted performances, saying, “Your perception of what the season is about and ours are two totally different things. I can assure you when you’re coming into this, you’re not thinking about anything else.”

Limerick face Tipperary next in the 2024 Munster Championship at home this Sunday, April 28 with throw-in at 4pm.

Scorers for Limerick: Aaron Gillane (1-5, 5f); Donnacha Ó Dalaigh (1-1); Gearoid Hegarty (0-3); Diarmaid Byrnes (1-0f); Cathal O’Neill, David Reidy (0-2 each); Kyle Hayes, Cian Lynch (0-1 each)

Scorers for Clare: Aidan McCarthy (1-10, 8f); David Fitzgerald, Mark Rodgers, Tony Kelly (f) (0-2 each); Shane O’Donnell, Seadna Morey (0-1 each)

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Richard is a presenter, producer, songwriter and actor. He was named the Limerick Person of the Year (2011) and won an online award at the Metro Éireann Media and Multicultural Awards (2011) for promoting multi-culturalism online. Richard says that the concept is very much a community driven project that aims to document life in Limerick. So, that in 20 years time people can look back and remember the events that were making the headlines.