LIMERICK are into the 2023 Munster Final following a 3-25 to 1-30 stunning victory over Cork at the TUS Gaelic Grounds this afternoon.
The sides were level at the break but a second half penalty from Diarmuid Byrnes (Limerick’s third goal) proved crucial. Waterford’s win over Tipperary sees Limerick into the final against Clare on June 11.
It was Cork that made the faster start aided by a breeze blowing into the Clare end. Points from Declan Dalton and Tim O’Mahony seeing them two up.
Limerick responded through Gillane but a Patrick Horgan free saw Cork lead by two once again. However, it was short lived as efforts from Gearóid Hegarty and Tom Morrissey levelling the game for the first time, before scores from Darragh O’Donovan and William O’Donoghue saw Limerick 0-5 to 0-3 in front.
Seamus Harnedy replied for Cork before Limerick spurned a goal chance. A Kyle Hayes run opened up the Cork defence but Gillane was denied by a smart Patrick Collins save after Hayes’ pass. A long range Barry Nash score then saw Limerick back to a two-point advantage.
However, Cork were soon back on top when they scored six in a row between the 15th and 18th minutes to lead by 0-11 to 0-7 but a Peter Casey score stopped the rot for Limerick.
Limerick were soon level though with a Hayes long delivery brilliantly caught by Gillane. The Patrickswell man then flicked to ball to Flanagan and he hit the net with a low finish.
Horgan and Robert Downey soon had Cork back into a two-point lead but Limerick were causing problems in the Rebel defence and a second goal arrived on 31 minutes.
Some excellent O’Donoghue work created a chance for Cathal O’Neill and he sent his shot beyond the reach of Patrick Collins to put Limerick 2-10 to 0-15 ahead.
Gillane then fired over two frees to increase the advantage to three but it was Cork that finished the half stronger. Harnedy and two Horgan frees saw the game level for a fourth time at the break with the score at 2-12 to 0-18.
The second half started with Diarmaid Byrnes and Horgan trading scores, before Hannon and Byrnes again saw Limerick into a two-point advantage.
Darragh Fitzgibbon responded for Cork but Limerick were awarded a penalty after Gillane was fouled by Sean O’Donoghue. Byrnes stepped up and buried his shot into the top corner to see Limerick 3-15 to 0-20 ahead after 44 minutes.
Cork nearly responded with a goal of their own after Brian Roche did brilliantly to set up O’Mahony but his first time shot went wide of Nickie Quaid’s goal
Horgan kept things ticking over for Cork but Limerick, through Hegarty, Byrnes, Hayes and Gillane got the next four scores to lead by 3-20 to 0-24.
O’Donovan and Flanagan then hit another apiece to see Limerick’s lead to seven heading into the final 10 minutes. However, a lucky Horgan goal and then a point from the Glen Rovers man brought Limerick’s lead back to three.
Cork brought it back to just a point towards the end but Limerick finished strongly with Byrnes and Flanagan sealing a two-point win.
SCORERS – LIMERICK: Diarmaid Byrnes 1-4 (1-0 pen, ’65), Seamus Flanagan 1-3, Aaron Gillane 0-4 (2 frees), Cathal O’Neill 1-0, Gearóid Hegarty and Darragh O’Donovan 0-3 each,Tom Morrissey and Peter Casey 0-2 each, William O’Donoghue, Barry Nash, Declan Hannon and Kyle Hayes 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: Nickie Quaid; Mike Casey, Dan Morrissey, Barry Nash; Diarmaid Byrnes, Declan Hannon, Kyle Hayes; Darragh O’Donovan, William O’Donoghue; Gearóid Hegarty, Cathal O’Neill, Tom Morrissey; Aaron Gillane, Seamus Flanagan, Peter Casey.
SUBS: Richie English for Hannon (53 mins), David Reidy for O’Neill (57 mins), Colin Coughlan for M Casey (65 mins), Graeme Mulcahy for P Casey (65 mins), Cian Lynch for O’Donovan (67 mins).
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