You can imagine both sets of players have been advised that there is plenty of timber on the sidelines, so don’t be afraid to use it.
Limerick and Clare, Treaty v Banner, Conlon or Dowling, the incessant clash of ash.
Or so it promises to be in the third part of a Semple Stadium triple-header. Davy Fitzgerald led his side to an impressive and emotional comeback against Dublin in Ennis just a week ago, the suspicion is that the Banner may not have had sufficient time to recover since.
While that victory over Dublin showed great heart and plenty of skill, one could argue that Dublin very much left it behind them. Six points up and a man up, Anthony Daly perhaps foundered the good ship Dublin with some poor decisions on the sideline.
Today is Davy’s chance to show his side are the real deal, that John Conlon is as good as we all think, that Conor McGrath has more in him than last week showed, that Tony Kelly is far from a one-hit wonder, and that Sean Collins can again drive midfield.
John Allen has as much youth in his team and will have gained some momentum in two handy qualifiers wins, with the eight-goal rout of Antrim memorable for a haul of 4-9 by Shane Dowling.
These were games the Treaty would have expected to win so, as with Clare’s performance against Waterford, we may have learned more from their Munster clash with Tipperary. Should Limerick play in that manner, it will be too much for Clare because the Banner do not have a bench replete with All Stars, never mind on the pitch in the first place.
A close one to call, but have Clare had enough of a chance to gather themselves since their breathless win over Dublin?
18.59 – Limerick will line out as selected but Clare have two changes with Colm Galvin and Aaron Cunningham in instead of Conor Cooney and Jonathan Clancy.
CLARE: Patrick Kelly; Domhnall O’Donovan, Cian Dillon, Colm Galvin; Brendan Bugler, Patrick Donnellan, Nickey O’Connell; Seadna Morey, Sean Collins; Fergal Lynch, Aaron Cunningham, Tony Kelly; John Conlon, Conor McGrath, Darach Honan
LIMERICK: Nicky Quaid; Stephen Walsh, Richie McCarthy, Tom Condon; Wayne McNamara; Donal O’Grady, Gaviun PO’Mahony; James Ryan, Paudie O’Brien; Shane Dowling, Brian Geary, David Breen; Graeme Mulcahy, Niall Moran, Sean Tobin
19.08 – Colm Galvin somehow gets a point under serious pressure but, again, Niall Moran replies right away; the Ahane man is in beast mode right now. Aaron Cunningham swings one over to pare the deficit before Darach Honan sends one awry. Honan atones by setting up Cunningham for a goal chance right after but Quaid denies him with a brilliant stop. O’Connell puts the ’65 over. Clare 0-5 Limerick 1-3 on 10 mins
19.21 – John Conlon, fresh from beast mode last week in Ennis, finds the spot off his left before Shane Dowling converts a free after Fergal Lynch handled the ball on the ground. Gavin O’Mahony does likewise for the Treaty with a free from inside his own ’65. Just for a change, Limerick win a free with Mulcahy tearing in on goal but Dowling’s goalbound effort from the ’21 is saved. David Breen came in after the follow-up with timber flying and all but eight players are around the goalmouth showing off their handbags. Yellows for Moran and Dillon. Limerick 1-6 Clare 0-6 on 22 mins
19.25 – Clare are on the move here. Colm Galvin adds another after a searing run into Limerick territory and Honan wins his side a free close in after Richie McCarthy puts a saddle up on his back. Cue ironic cheers from Clare folk and a Conor McGrath conversion. McGrath adds another after Lynch put him into space before naughty Brendan Bugler puts his side ahead. Clare 0-10 Limerick 1-6
19.29 – Four points for Clare’s half-back line as Patrick Donnellan puts Clare two ahead, before McGrath makes it three. Limerick are rocked and so Brian Geary comes off for Declan Hannon on 29 minutes. Great atmosphere and, after McGrath puts over a free won by Galvin, it’s now Clare 0-13 Limerick 1-6
19.35 – Dowling converts a free of his own making to give Limerick a little boost but they are reeling right now…. that is, until Sean Tobin doubles on a long-range O’Mahony free and it finds the net. Game on, and Dowling adds another two frees. There are 20,142 here, and I found that out before it was announced. No big deal! Clare 2-9 Limerick 0-13
19.39 – Darach Honan, who never looked like winning the high ball, is fouled needlessly outside the ’14 and it gives Tony Kelly a chance to score. He might have been shaping up for goal but he got a point. So half-time and it’s Clare 2-9 Limerick 0-14. A breathless encounter that could go either way. (PS contact the stewards if you are having trouble seeing here, two pairs of spectacles have been found — not a joke!)
20.04 – Oh they’re suiting him well alright, and now a fifth suits Moran more after he tapped a high ball down for himself. Mulcahy adds another from a very tight angle to push Limerick seven clear. Fergal Lynch wins a free on the ’65 which Nicky O’Connell puts over. Limerick 3-13 Clare 0-16 on 46 mins
20.10 – Conor McGrath puts a free over for Clare but that only precipitates Dowling twice doing so. Colm Galvin comes up with his third point to keep Clare ticking over. The Banner could do with a major. Limerick 3-15 Clare 0-18 on 51 mins
20.17 – All action here in Semple as the sides hit each other for a number of minutes without a break in play. Turnovers galore but it’s compulsive viewing. Conlon blasts one wide when he shouldn’t have to end that long phase of play. They need the Clonlara man on the ball to win this… oh, and then his club teammate Honan almost pulls one into the net but Quaid smothers it. Schemozzle ensues and a 21-yard free results. Four Clare shots without a score… Tony Kelly going Happy Gilmore on it at the tee box… and Quaid saves it. Danger cleared Limerick 3-15 Clare 0-18 on 59 mins
20.24 – Dowling makes and takes a free from 30 yards to push Limerick seven ahead and, with only a few minutes to go, you’d feel that might be that. Clare have not scored with their last seven attempts — make that eight after Conlon blasts a low-percentage goal chance wide. Limerick 3-16 Clare 0-18