Munster Senior Hurling Semi Final – Limerick 1-18 Tipperary 1-15

Munster Senior Hurling Semi Final – Limerick 1-18 Tipperary 1-15

 

Superb Limerick unseat champions Tipperary

Report from the GAA.ie web site

Munster GAA Hurling Championship Semi-Final: Limerick 1-18 Tipperary 1-15

Limerick staged a memorable final quarter comeback to upset the odds and unseat Munster champions Tipperary in a superb contest at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick on Sunday afternoon. It was Limerick’s first Munster Championship success in six years and they now go on to contest a Munster final for the first time since 2007 after a brilliant performance in the intense heat on Shannonside. Limerick looked in real trouble when John O’Dwyer’s goal put Tipperary 1-13 to 1-9 ahead after 50 minutes, but John Allen’s side showed tremendous battling qualities and admirable heart to kill off their opponents – and with it a few questions that had been raised about their character – in the final quarter.

When the sides met at the quarter-final stage last year, Limerick threw away a seven-point lead in the final 14 minutes, but they well and truly buried that ghost today, hitting five points without reply in a match-winning spell at the start of the fourth quarter before finishing with another purple patch at the end to deservedly seal their place in the Munster final. Declan Hannon was the hero with nine points, but Shane Dowling showed nerves of steel in the closing stages to hit two crucial scores while captain Donal O’Grady sealed the win at the death with his third point from play. Full-back Richie McCarthy was a rock throughout at the back.

For all the character they showed, doubts about Limerick persisted when they missed two glaring goal chances on the hour mark when the game was level, Tipp keeper Brendan Cummins saving superbly from Graeme Mulcahy and then blocking a shot from James Ryan. Hannon then drove a free wide and it looked like Limerick were about to fluff their lines again. However, Dowling put his side ahead when he landed a monster free and then sub Niall Moran settled their nerves with another score before O’Grady sealed the win in injury time, sparking chaotic celebrations from the home supporters.

Limerick made the better start in a frantic opening to the game and were 0-3 to 0-1 ahead after seven minutes, with O’Grady, James Ryan and Hannon all hitting the target for the home side. Tipperary had three excellent goal chances in the first half, but Limerick goalkeeper Nickie Quaid made smart saves to deny Séamus Callanan and Pa Bourke, while Callanan, after a super run and some stylish stickwork, was denied a picture book goal when he pulled his shot wide in the 24th minute. Limerick were more clinical, as Seán Tobin buried their first goal chance in the 19th minute, slamming home a ground stroke from a rebound after Tipperary goalkeeper Cummins, making his 72nd championship appearance, had blocked the initial shot.

Tipperary really struggled in the opening 20 minutes, but Pa Bourke pulled a score back immediately after the goal and Eamon O’Shea’s side gradually began to settle in the second quarter. They hit three points in a row – John O’Brien, Callanan and Noel McGrath all on target – in a three-minute spell to peg Limerick’s lead back to two points in the 28th minute. However, the Limerick defence coped very well in the first half, and Hannon clipped over his fourth score in the 31st minute to leave the Shannonsiders a goal up at the break, 1-7 to 0-7 clear after a very tight opening half played in intense heat at the Gaelic Grounds.

Tipp brought John O’Dwyer on at the break and he made a difference immediately, firing over three points from play to draw Tipperary level the at 1-9 to 0-12 by the 47th minute. Brendan Maher then put Tipperary ahead for the first time before O’Dwyer found the back of the net after a clever Patrick Maher pass. Tipp led by four points and it looked like there could be only one winner. However, Limerick refused to give up and their performance in the final 20 minutes, when manager Allen cleverly emptied his bench to revive his flagging charges, will live long in the memory. They will now play Cork or Clare in the Munster final on July 14.

Tipperary Scorers: S Callanan 0-4 (0-4f), P Bourke 0-1, J O’Brien 0-3, N McGrath 0-1, J O’Dwyer 1-3, Brendan Maher 0-1, E Kelly 0-2 (0-1f).

Limerick Scorers: D O’Grady 0-3, J Ryan 0-1, D Hannon 0-9 (0-7f), S Tobin 1-1, D Breen 0-1, S Dowling 0-2 (0-1f), N Moran 0-1.

Tipperary: B Cummins; P Stapleton, P Curran, M Cahill; K Bergin, C O’Mahony, Pádraic Maher; Brendan Maher, Shane McGrath; P Bourke, Patrick Maher, J O’Brien; S Bourke, S Callanan, N McGrath. Subs: J O’Dwyer for S Bourke (HT), E Kelly for Pa Bourke (45), B O’Meara for Patrick Maher (blood, 48-49), S McGrath for C O’Brien (64), Lar Corbett for B Maher (67).

Limerick: N Quaid; S Walsh, R McCarthy, T Condon; P O’Brien, W McNamara, G O’Mahony; P Browne, D O’Grady; D Breen, J Ryan, S Hickey; G Mulcahy, D Hannon, S Tobin. Subs: C Allis for D Breen (43), S Dowling for S Hickey (49), N Moran for S Tobin (61), C King for P Brown (66), K Downes for J Ryan (69).

Referee: Brian Gavin

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