Home Features Forgotten Friday: Ciarán Carey’s Iconic Point Topples Champions Clare

Forgotten Friday: Ciarán Carey’s Iconic Point Topples Champions Clare

Limerick and Clare meet in a do-or-die clash in the Gaelic Grounds this weekend with both sides desperate for a place in the All Ireland qualifiers. 

The teams are level on points in the Munster table, however, Limerick are +13 on points difference with Clare on -12 following their heavy loss to Tipperary at the weekend.

Limerick and Clare have treated us to some epic encounters in recent times and the Banner county were the only team to beat the All Ireland champions in 2019.

However, nothing comes close to the clashes of old, especially those in the 90s when rivalries were ferocious, stadiums were heaving and the games were as intense as the summer sun.

One game, and one man, has become synonymous with this fixture and that is the 1996 Munster semi-final which will be remembered for Ciarán Carey’s iconic point.

Limerick’s narrow victory over the reigning champions is our focus on this week’s Forgotten Friday.

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This game was always going to be hotly contested given the earlier clashes between the sides in the province.

Limerick had comfortably overcome their neighbours in the 1994 Munster final on a scoreline of 0-25 to 2-10 but Clare fired back the very next year and six points from Jamesie O’Connor helped them to exact their revenge.

And so, while it might not have been a final, their meeting in 1996 had all the anticipation and fervour of a provincial decider.

Clare Limerick 1996

In front of a crowd of 43,000 on an intensely hot day at the Gaelic Grounds, it was the men from Patrickswell who were the heroes for Limerick. Gary Kirby registered 1-7 out of their 1-15 total, and helped them to a one-point lead at the break.

Clare clawed their way back into the game and much to the horror of the home crowd, Ger Loughnane’s men were three points ahead with 15 minutes to go.

Barry Foley was introduced and made an immediate impact, scoring the equalising point that looked like it was going to send the game to extra-time but his clubmate had other intentions.

With the game in injury time, Carey won the ball from Davy Fitzgerald’s puck-out and began his 60-yard solo up the pitch, closely tailed by Clare defender Fergal Hegarty. Just as he looked to be lining up a shot, Carey gloriously jinked to his side, leaving his marker for dead, and took a shot off his right, his weaker side.

With that point, Limerick extinguished the hurt from their championship exit the year previously at the hands of one of their biggest rivals. They made it back to Croke Park and the All Ireland final that year but they fell to a two-point defeat at the hands of Wexford.

Despite all their meetings throughout the decade, the 1996 Munster semi-final will go down as the most memorable encounter that forever wrote Ciarán Carey’s name into Limerick foclóir.

Sunday’s game marks the first time that the sides have met in the Gaelic Grounds since 1996 and Carey’s nephew Cian Lynch is sure to have a major say in the outcome.

About Marisa Kennedy

Marisa is a Digital Journalist with Pundit Arena. You can contact her at marisa@punditarena.com or on Twitter