First-half supremacy paves way for Limerick victory over Clare 

First-half supremacy paves way for Limerick victory over Clare 

On this latest Saturday evening of League fare involving the All-Ireland champions, there was to be no wiping out of Limerick’s sizable half-time lead.

This night last week, Cork succeeded in turning a 0-16 to 0-8 interval deficit into a one-point triumph over the Treaty.

Limerick again reached half-time here with 0-16. They again limited their opponents to eight scores; 1-7 this time, as opposed to 0-8 against Cork.

But that is where the similarities with their League opener end. 

Limerick, in front of 15,521 on home soil, were not of a humour to again let slip their interval advantage. They outgunned a really poor Clare effort by 0-8 to 0-1 in the third quarter to extend their lead from six out to 13 (0-24 to 1-8).

On target during this spell of near total Limerick authority was rampaging half-back Kyle Hayes, Peter Casey, and newcomers Shane O’Brien and Michael Houlihan. The latter, who finished with 0-12 (four from play), was a deserved man of the match recipient.

For manager John Kiely, Houlihan and O’Brien offer further live options in an already swollen attack.

Summing up Clare’s horrid evening was the fact that Aidan McCarthy’s 54th minute point was their first from play since the 19th minute.

David Reidy did make an impression off the bench when clipping 1-2, but it should be noted that Reidy’s goal was part of a 1-5 consolation burst late on that took the final margin of defeat from 13 down to six.

That 13-point difference had stood as late as the 65th minute when Adam English’s long carry and offload to fellow sub Donnacha Ó Dálaigh delivered a superb goal.

As noted above, Limerick’s first half saw them outbox their opponents 16 scores to eight for the second Saturday evening running.

The hosts had a lead of 0-7 to 0-2 built inside the eighth minute. They were not of a mood to hang about. They were busy on the ground, sharp in their buildup, and clinical with the final product.

New addition to the half-forward line Houlihan had three thrown over inside seven minutes. Gearoid Hegarty’s point in the eighth minute, having earlier assisted for a Kyle Hayes minor, meant Limerick’s entire half-forward line was already on the scoresheet.

The final member of that half-forward line and making his first start in green since injuring his hamstring in last April’s Munster championship win over Waterford at this very venue was Cian Lynch.

The two-time hurler of the year arrowed over a third minute point. He also had two early assists and won a free. He was, in essence, his old productive self.

Freetaking duties fell into Houlihan’s lap after an early injury to David Reidy. And while the Kilmallock man missed three, he also nailed eight in total.

Limerick, as is their wont, were so effective in packing and dominating the middle third, with plenty of green grass then further up. Shane O’Brien almost got in for a green flag before half-time, but his swing was half hooked.

Clare did manage a green flag in the first half, Ian Galvin’s 18th minute finish after a neat touchdown by Peter Duggan representing their first score of the evening. They’d only manage one more score from play in t

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