Remembering the 1995 Munster Final when Clare ended 63-year wait

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Offaly's Kevin Kinahan in action against Pat Heffernan of Limerick in the 1994 All-Ireland Final.

Thurles beckons this Sunday for Limerick and Clare as they face off in the Munster Senior Hurling Championship final for the first time since 1995.

On that day, Clare bridged a gap to their previous provincial crown in 1932 with Anthony Daly leading Ger Loughnane’s charges. The previous year, Limerick were too strong for the Banner in the Munster final, claiming a 0-25 to 2-10 win in Thurles.

Limerick fell at the final hurdle in that year’s All-Ireland final, but regrouped from the devastating loss to Offaly to reach a third final in four years.

Clare returned to the decider as both teams secured one point wins in their respective semi-finals.The defending champions kicked off the scoring through Mike Galligan as Clare replied with two in kind.

Four in a row followed from Limerick in a slow burning first half.

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The game kicked into life in the 27th minute as Davy Fitzgerald buried a penalty into the roof of the net for a 1-3 to 0-5 advantage which they maintained into the half.

Gary Kirby drew the sides level for the fifth time at 1-6 to 0-9 shortly into the second half but from here Clare drove on to victory, limiting Limerick to just two more points. Jamesie O’Connor got the lead score, his third of six as PJ O’Connell made it a two point game with Clare starting to believe the wait was over with Limerick lacklustre throughout the park.

With Clare leading by three, Damien Quigley made space for himself in the square with a brilliant step, but kicked wide with only the goalkeeper to beat.

O’Connor responded quickly before Galligan ended Limerick’s wait for a score.

Three quickfire points had Clare six to the good with just under fifteen to play. Gary Kirby had Limerick’s score just after the hour mark but the day belonged to Clare as they invaded the Thurles pitch to signal the end of a 63-year wait for Munster honours.

Fittingly they went on to beat Offaly, the team who broke Limerick’s hearts in 1994,  in the All-Ireland final later that year.

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However, Limerick would avenge the loss twelve months later in one of the greatest games the Gaelic Grounds has ever seen.

Clare, as defending All-Ireland champions held a three point lead approaching the final whistle but a late onslaught from Limerick, including that Ciaran Carey point, sealed a dramatic one point win.

Limerick play Clare in the Munster Senior Hurling Final this Sunday at 4pm in Thurles.

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