GAA: O’Donnell double helps Clare end Munster wait

clare limerick munster hurling championship Shane O’Donnell
4 June 2017; Shane O’Donnell of Clare celebrates after scoring his side’s first goal during the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Semi-Final between Limerick and Clare at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Co. Tipperary. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Shane O’Donnell struck 2-2 to propel Clare to a first Munster SHC final appearance 2008, as Limerick were seen off 3-17 to 2-16 at Semple Stadium, Thurles.

Conor McGrath added to O’Donnell’s two early goals as Clare booked a final meeting with either Cork or Waterford on 9 July.

Limerick had battled back from those two O’Donnell strikes and an eight-point deficit to level things up, as they rattled off an unanswered 1-5, but the Banner were able to regain the initiative as half-time approach.

Clare hit five unanswered scores of their own to lead 2-10 to 1-8 at the short whistle.

Tony Kelly missed a penalty with two minutes of normal time remaining, as he drove low and wide, but it was of little consequence as Clare got the better of their near neighbours again, having also come out on top in last year’s All Ireland qualifier meeting.

Kyle Hayes provided some late cheer for Limerick, as he netted in the final minute to mark his senior championship debut.

clare limerick munster hurling championship Shane O’Donnell
4 June 2017; Tony Kelly of Clare in action against Seamus Hickey, 7, and Sean Finn of Limerick during the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Semi-Final match between Limerick and Clare at Semple Stadium, in Thurles, Co. Tipperary. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Clare joint-manager Gerry O’Connor, said: “The critical thing is we got across the line and we got a really good performance out of our guys.

“It was one of those games where we were one pass away from really putting them away.

“There’s lots more for us to work on between now and 9 July.

“We got super goals and you could probably say that we missed some goal opportunities as well.

“Overall, we’d be happy with the level of effort, we’d be very happy with the level of tackling, the level of finishing is something that we have to work on for the next day.”

Limerick were left to contempt another tilt at the qualifiers and rue a high wide count, as well as the concession of three costly goals.

Right time

“I think the difference really was obviously the goals. We found it harder to get goals than they did. They got goals at the right time,” Limerick boss John Kiely.

“We had too many wides in the first half. We needed to keep it a little bit closer and we needed to maybe close the gap a little bit sooner after half-time just to put a bit more pressure on them.

“But they’re a good side and they’ve some really, really good forwards.”


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