Clare hurlers beat Limerick in All-Ireland Hurling Semi-Final

Clare's Colin Ryan challenges Limerick's Gavin O'Mahony

Clare progressed to their first All-Ireland Senior Hurling Final since 2002 as they beat Limerick 1-22 to 0-18 at Croke Park.

The Banner County controlled the contest throughout with Darach Honan hitting their goal and free-taker Colin Ryan contributing 11 points.

Honan's 13th-minute goal helped Clare lead 1-10 to 0-6 at half-time.

Favourites Limerick cut the gap to three after 48 minutes but Clare pulled clear again in the closing stages.

Clare's victory sets up an All-Ireland decider against Cork on 8 September which will be a repeat of the Munster semi-final won comfortably by the Rebels earlier this summer.

Ryan's accuracy from placed balls - as he converted nine frees - was a crucial factor in Clare's win.

In contrast, Limerick free-taker Declan Hannon had an off-day as he accounted five of their 10 first-half wides.

Substitute Shane Dowling hit 0-6 after assuming the free-taking duties but Limerick were always chasing the game in the second period.

Limerick never really recovered from a poor start as Honan's goal helped the Banner outfit take a 1-4 to 0-1 advantage.

The Treaty County could have notched an early goal as Clare keeper Patrick Kelly had to make a fine save to deny a Graeme Mulcahy goal chance.

The Munster champions then suffered a further blow when Seamus Hickey had to be stretchered off with a suspected knee injury although his replacement Conor Allis notched an immediate point.

Clare continued to look the sharper outfit and were in control as they led by seven points at the interval.

The tide did appear to be turning as substitute Dowling hit three unanswered frees after the restart but Clare then regained control to lead 1-16 to 0-11.

Limerick's final chance went three minutes from time when Dowling's 25-metre free was deflected wide as Clare remained six points ahead.

Dowling did point the 65 but two more Ryan points completed a comprehensive victory for Davy Fitzgerald's side.

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