The gauntlet was thrown by Donal Og Cusack and Anthony Daly as Sunday Game pundits. 0-15 each. They wanted to see how Limerick would react and perform in that second half.
Cue absolute dominance. Cue twenty-one points later and the pundits were quietened to a whimper as Joanne Cantwell introduced the post game thoughts. It was quite the response and performance!
Limerick winning with ten points to spare as Clare were unable to stop the Limerick half back line dominance in the third quarter and unable to stop the run game and soaring scoring rate from the Shannonsiders. Hawkeye Sidekick reflects on the key points immediately post game.
Tony Kelly Masterclass:
You have to applaud Tony Kelly today. 0-17 points today. The midfield maestro could do no more today. Lohan and management decision to deploy Kelly in the full forward line in the opening period stunned Limerick management who failed to act.
The second ball breaks for Kelly in the opening half saw an influx of scores. He will be man of the match tonight, an immaculate hurler.
Limerick roared in that second half:
The opening half was sluggish from Limerick but this game was as good as over when the Limerick half back dominated the aerial exchanges early in the second half. Byrnes, Hannon and O’Loughlin set the platform.
The run game was developed and Clare had no answers. The distribution and passing much better and the inside full forward line got scores aplenty. Kiely will be happy with the second half.
0-36 is an incredible points tally. Hegarty was immense in open play, the best Limerick player. Left or right hand, he caused Clare massive issues.
Clare weak points utterly exposed:
Take Tony Kelly out of the scoring stakes and you will be hard pressed to find a Clare player who was prominent in the attacking unit. Taylor scores a goal but precious little else. No one else put a hand up.
David Reidy tried hard but is a player who sets up play and does not score heavy. Brian Lohan has serious issues in the scoring stakes. Kelly will be nullified in the qualifiers, where does the scores come from then?
I am genuinely struggling to see any alternatives despite Shane O’Donnell in the ranks. McGrath, Galvin, Conlon, Collins are massive losses.
Limerick weak points to improve for next week:
Tipperary next weekend will focus the minds in the Limerick camp. The defensive shape was all wrong in that opening period.
Barry Nash for me is a wing back, third man midfielder. He showed massive inexperience in the corner back role today, loose marking and not sharp enough will the sliothar.
The half back line in that opening period were guilty of some poor passing selections and then conceding soft frees to Kelly. The game today will improve the performance but the full back line is a question mark still.
Callanan and co. in the Tipperary full forward line will relish having a cut off the Limerick full back line unit after today.
Limerick – Allianz NHL Division One Champions:
Limerick win and advance to the Tipperary Munster SHC semi-final next weekend. A good win under the belt and add the fact that this game was a NHL Division One final. Happy days! The first fixture down but it was a good second half performance for Limerick. A great weekend considering the footballers promotion yesterday.
The squad bench was strong, good cameos from Reidy, Ryan, Flanagan in attack. Limerick SHC hurlers retain their league title!
The atmosphere is so surreal. The empty stands. The roars only of the backroom teams for atmosphere. It was surreal.
The opening half was subdued but it grew in stature as the half wore on. The filtered TV crowd noise I am not a fan of but it is a surreal time to watch the championship. I suppose we should be grateful that we have any games to talk about but it is all so different.