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Irish Mirror
Irish Mirror
Pat Nolan

Limerick produce roaring finish to down Tipperary in Munster Championship

Limerick 3-21 Tipperary 0-23

Limerick produced a roaring finish to hold off a game Tipperary side and all but book their place in the Munster final.

Trailing by two points in the 60th minute, John Kiely’s side outscored the pre-match outsiders by 2-6 to 0-3 coming down the stretch, sub Conor Boylan and Aaron Gillane netting the goals, to score a victory that wasn’t nearly as emphatic as the final score might suggest.

Injury-hit Tipperary, having taken the game to Limerick for much of the afternoon, ultimately ran out of puff in the closing stages and a third defeat on the spin effectively ends their chances of progressing in the Championship ahead of their final round robin game against Cork on May 22.

Limerick lacked the fluidity of their wins over Cork and Waterford but ultimately discovered their mojo just in time to record a fourth successive Championship win over Tipp for the first time ever in front of 27,141 at the TUS Gaelic Grounds.

The game appeared to be going to script as Limerick established a four-point lead by the 14th minute at 1-6 to 0-5, Gillane netting the goal after eight minutes as he stole in behind Seamus Kennedy to collect Diarmaid Byrnes’s point effort that had dropped short.

But Tipperary, who had already started the game with intent, didn’t lose heart and reeled off the next six points to take a two-point lead.

Ger Browne and Noel McGrath were particularly influential with the latter slotting his frees and linking the play nicely for his side, while adding an inspirational point from play in the 22nd minute that drew Tipp level.

Cathal O’Neill ended Limerick’s 15-minute scoring drought with a pair of points to restore parity but Tipperay finished the half stronger with a Berry Heffernan point and a pair of McGrath frees in reply to Graeme Mulcahy’s first score, leaving it at 0-14 to 1-9 at half-time.

Both sides were wasteful in the opening 35-plus minutes, however, with Limerick shooting nine wides, one fewer than their opponents.

The quality of the fare was better on the restart and Tipp showed no sign of going away as three times they moved three points clear.

But Limerick slowly found their groove and two Byrnes placed balls drew them level before sub David Reidy put them in front for the first time since the 22nd minute.

Tipperary’s Noel McGrath and Mike Casey of Limerick (©INPHO/James Crombie)

The momentum was only going one way at this stage and Declan Hannon and Gillane (free) stretched the advantage before Boylan prodded home to seal it in the 67th minute.

There was still time for another goal as Gillane outfoxed Cathal Barrett from Darragh O’Donovan’s delivery in the final minute of normal time, a strike that mirrored his first half effort to give the scoreboard a rather cruel complexion from a Tipperary point of view.

LIMERICK: Nickie Quaid; Sean Finn, Mike Casey, Barry Nash (0-1); Diarmaid Byrnes (0-3, 0-2f, 0-1 ‘65’), Declan Hannon (0-1), Dan Morrissey; Darragh O’Donovan (0-2), William O’Donoghue; Gearoid Hegarty (0-1), Cathal O’Neill (0-2), Tom Morrissey (0-4); Aaron Gillane (2-5, 0-4f), Kyle Hayes, Graeme Mulcahy (0-1).

Subs: Seamus Flanagan for O’Neill (40), David Reidy (0-1) for William O’Donoghue (55), Conor Boylan (1-0) for Mulcahy (59), Richie English for Dan Morrissey (68), Oisin O’Reilly for Hayes (69).

TIPPERARY: Barry Hogan; Cathal Barrett, Ronan Maher, Craig Morgan; Paddy Cadell, Seamus Kennedy, Barry Heffernan (0-1); Dillon Quirke, Conor Stakelum; Jake Morris (0-3), Noel McGrath (0-13, 0-9f, 0-2 ‘65’, 0-1 sideline), Michael Breen; Ger Browne (0-3), Mark Kehoe (0-1), Paul Flynn (0-1).

Subs: Robert Byrne (0-1) for Cadell (35), Conor Bowe for Flynn (48), Dan McCormack for Browne (64).

REFEREE: Liam Gordon (Galway).

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