Semi-final up for grabs in Limerick

The Galway senior hurlers travel to Limerick on Sunday to take on the home side at the Gaelic Grounds (3.30pm ) in the National Hurling league quarter-final.

The winners of this tie will face either Kilkenny or Wexford in the league semi-finals.

In Clare's Cusack Park last Sunday, Anthony Cunningham's side drew by 1-15 for Galway and 0-18 to the All-Ireland champions.

It took a last-gasp 60-metre free from Clare's Colin Ryan to secure that draw after a very debatable decision by Diarmuid Kirwan that incensed the Galway management team.

However, the result should not have come down to that, as Galway had some very good goal-scoring chances in the second half, but they only managed to take one through the impressive Cathal Mannion.

It looked as if Galway would go on and win the game in the last quarter following that goal,but Clare emptied the bench to good effect with All-Star Conor McGrath (0-3 ) and their top-class freetaker Colin Ryan (0-2 ), making impressive contributions.

Galway team manager Anthony Cunningham was also pleased with his own bench, both Damien Hayes and Andy Smith coming back into action following their All-Ireland success with Portumna.

Team captain Joe Canning was unavailable due to a slight hamstring injury, and he is doubtful for this weekend.

Next Sunday's opponents Limerick are under new management this season and they came from behind last weekend to defeat Laois by 1-17 to 1-13 in O'Moore Park.

Difficult to beat on home turf, they beat Cork last July at the same venue in the Munster final by 0-24 to 0-15. In Shane Dowling, Conor Allis, Wayne McNamara, Tom Condon, Graeme Mulcahy, James Ryan and current All-Star Richie McCarthy they have some talented and committed players.

Galway have been improving and, after an easy win over Tipperary and last Sunday's draw, they are slight favourites at 5/6 to advance to the semi-finals. Limerick are 11/10.

Galway v Clare: Colm Callanan, Fergal Moore, Ronan Moore, David Collins, Aidan Harte, Iarla Tannian, Daithi Burke, Johnny Coen 0-1, Padraig Brehony 0-1, Niall Burke 0-3, Conor Cooney 0-6 (5f ), David Burke (Cpt ), Niall Healy, Jonathan Glynn 0-1, Cathal Mannion 1-2. Subs: Damien Hayes 0-1 for Healy (43 ), Andy Smith for David Burke (49 ), Joseph Cooney for Mannion (60 ), Jason Flynn for N Burke (66 ), Paul Killeen for Harte (70 ).



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