Limerick lower the Banner to claim early season silverware

Limerick captain Barry Nash raises the Munster Senior Hurling Cup having received it from Munster G.A.A. chairperson Ger Ryan on left.

Co-Op Superstores Munster Senior Hurling Cup Final:

Limerick retained the Munster Senior Hurling Cup with consummate ease after dismissing the challenge of Clare in the final at Cusack Park, Ennis on Sunday.
In what was the first of three confrontations between the counties this year, the arch rivals also meet in the League and Championship, Limerick with just three of the 2021 All-Ireland side starting reaffirmed their hard won spot at the top of the hurling tree.
John Kiely fielded just four of the 2021 All-Ireland winning side, Barry Nash, Dan Morrissey, William O’Donoghue and Gearóid Hegarty among a team of fringe players and newcomers. The game showed the strength in depth at the Limerick manager’s disposal following was a very efficient performance.
When Kiely and his management team sit down to select the side for the League opener with Wexford on Sunday week, they will have plenty to ponder. Richie English was outstanding and scooped the Man of the Match accolade while Colin Coughlan, Ronan Connolly and Paddy O’Loughlin were all magnificent and certainly raised their hands to be considered for Wexford Park after putting the shackles on what was effectively Clare’s first line half forward trio.
William O’Donoghue and Brian O’Grady held sway at midfield ensuring a score hungry sextet got a copious supply of ball. All Limerick’s starting attack got on the scoresheet on a day when no fewer than ten players in green raised flags.
Overall it was a disappointing day for Brian Lohan and his Banner County charges who failed to ignite in a game that highlighted the importance of talisman Tony Kelly to Clare’s cause.
Clare tried out a number of new players but Lohan and his management team got a close insight of the scale of work ahead of them in the coming months if they are to harbour realistic hopes of challenging for major honours.
Some fringe and new players on the Limerick side put their hands up to John Kiely ahead of the forthcoming League and Championship campaign. “They are not necessarily new players,” the Limerick boss said, “they are players that are on the panel for a number of years now, it is time for them to put their hands up now and push for a place in the team. They will have more invol vement in the campaign ahead and they know that.”
“They have done well over the last two games they know themselves they have a lot of work to do, it is very competitive envir onment that they are working in, their attitude is good and that is all I can ask for and that they are bringing as much as they can to the table.”
The opening eight minutes was the scoring preserve of the opposing David Reidys, the Clare version knocking over three points with his Limerick namesake replying with two, 0-3 to 0-2 to Clare.
Limerick went on a run that yielded five unanswered points, two in as many minutes from Colin Coughlan, Darren O’Connell, David Reidy free and Pat Ryan. Clare returned to finding the target with points from a David Reidy free and Diarmuid Ryan before Limerick added a David Reidy free to lead 0-8 to 0-5 at the first water break.
Quickfire points for Clare immediately after the restart from Cathal Malone and David Reidy briefly raised hopes of a close and nail-biting Shannonside derby.
It sparked Limerick into a response in the shape of five in a row, a brace apiece from David Reidy and Oisín O’Reilly and one from Gearóid Hegarty.
Diarmuid Ryan and Mark Rogers shot over as Clare appeared to be embarking on a mini revival on the run up to half time. Limerick were having none of it and finished the half on top and reflected the mastery on the scoreboard with four unanswered points from Reidy, an inspirational effort from Man of the Match Richie English, Darren O’Connell and Reidy again for a healthy 0-17 to 0-9, lead at the change of ends.
David Reidy narrowed the gap from a 65 after the restart but his effort was trumped by a brace of frees from his namesake. Cathal Malone added a point for Clare which was negated by Reidy. The David Reidys traded frees before Adam English and Brian O’Grady both got off the mark to give Limerick a 0-23 to 0-12 lead at the second water break.
On the home straight Limerick added four points through Darren O’Connell, Brian O’Grady, Cathal O’Neill and Adam English while Clare replied in that period with five from David Reidy (2), Mark Rogers, and two from substitute Robin Mounsey but not enough to prevent Limerick from lifting more silverware.
Scorers: Limerick: David Reidy 0-12, 10fs; Darren O’Connell 0-3; Colin Coughlan, Oisín O’Reilly, Adam English, Brian O’Grady 0-2 each, Pat Ryan, Gearoid Hegarty, Richie English, Cathal O’Neill 0-1 each.
Clare: David Reidy 0-9, 6fs, 2-65; Diarmuid Ryan, Cathal Malone, Mark Rodgers, Robin Mounsey, 1-65, 0-2 each, Patrick Crotty 0-1.
Limerick: David McCarthy (Glenroe); Barry Nash (South Liberties) Captain, Dan Morrissey (Ahane), Richie English (Doon); Colin Coughlan (Bally brown), Ronan Connolly (Adare), Paddy O’ Loughlin (Kilmallock); William O’Donoghue (Na Piarsaigh), Brian O’Grady (Kilteely-Dromkeen); Cathal O’Neill (Crecora-Manister), David Reidy (Dromin-Athlacca), Gearóid Hegarty (St. Pat-rick’s); Darren O’ Connell (Kildimo-Pallaskenry), Pat Ryan (Doon), Oisín O’Reilly (Kilmallock).
Subs: Adam English (Doon) for Pat Ryan (47), Rory Duff (Mungret St. Paul’s) for William O’Donoghue (54), Conor Boylan (Na Piarsaigh) for Gearóid Hegarty (54).
Clare: Eibhear Quilligan; Mike Gough, Conor Cleary, Paul Flanagan; Diarmuid Ryan, Jason McCarthy, Aaron Fitzgerald; Jack Browne, Paddy Donnellan; Cathal Malone, David Reidy, Shane Golden; Mark Rogers, Domhnall McMahon, Gary Cooney.
Subs: Ryan Taylor for Shane Golden (HT), David McInerney for Paddy Donnellan (HT), Shane Meehan for Domhnall for McMahon (44), Darragh Lohan for Aaron Fitzgerald (47), Patrick Crotty for Gary Cooney (52), Robin Mounsey for Jason McCarthy (52)
Referee: Conor Doyle, Tipperary.