Limerick pressed von Tipp until the end, but secured a place in the Munster final with a late hit blitz
A late strike secured red-hot favorites Limerick their place in this year’s Munster final, but a defiant Tipperary at the TUS Gaelic Grounds dealt them the terror of their lives.
The All-Ireland champions breathed a sigh of relief after late goals from Conor Boylan (69th) and Aaron Gillane (71st) defeated a Premier County side that are now effectively out of the Championship with one game to go has to play.
But Limerick was very fortunate that Gillane was still on the field at the time, having only been booked on the hour for what appeared to be a wild move over tipster captain Ronan Maher.
Rarely did Tipp go into a Munster league game as such a strong outsider and it soon looked as if the gloomy mood prevailing around this team was not unjustified.
We were just in the eighth minute when Gillane caught a delivery from Diarmuid Byrnes over the head of Seamus Kennedy to deliver an almost haphazard goal from Limerick that put the All-Ireland champions 4-1, 3-0 brought.
But Tipp’s pace of work on the field was unrecognizable from what had been observed in their previous game against Clare, and faced with a roving role down the middle, Ger Browne presented big problems for a selection of markers in green.
The Cashel man had a quick 0-3 on the board, Limerick struggled to hold on to him as he constantly moved between midfield and the scrimmage
Tipp pushed for Limerick’s puck-outs and created a pressure zone for opponents who found it difficult to also get Kyle Hayes in play, Ronan Maher chasing him off the field after the Kildimo Pallaskenry man started on the edge of the court’.
At half-time, Limerick’s revered line-up of half-backs looked shattered, with Tipp coming into the break with an unexpected 0-14 to 1-9 lead.
Noel McGrath nailed his free spins while Cathal Barrett took on Gillane who oddly lost him for that early Limerick goal.
Most unusually, Limerick came into the break with nine wides, with the likes of Gearoid Hegarty and Tom Morrissey losing color, while Tipping overload in the middle third meant Will O’Donoghue and Darragh O’Donovan looked overworked in midfield.
Tipp might even have scored in the 26th minute when Michael Breen ended a move by Jake Morris against Barry Heffernan, only to shoot under pressure from Barry Nash, whose shot was easily saved by Limerick goalkeeper Nickie Quaid.
There was a definite buzz of fear in the huge Limerick crowd as the teams went to their dressing rooms, tip two points more and played at a level that few expected.
And Colm Bonnar’s men remained tenacious after the resumption, still two points clear after the hour (0-20 to 1-15) and their opponents struggling to contain the Premier’s frenzied pace of work.
But then, in true Champion style, an unanswered five-point scoring burst between the 61st and 66th minutes put Limerick on target.
Gearoid Hegarty then set up Barry Hogan’s puck-out from the last of those points and passed to substitute Seamus Flanagan, whose cross to Boylan was initially missed only for the Na Piarsaigh man to fire a one-handed shot at the tip-net.
Just seconds later, Gillane had his second goal after a long delivery, the huge Limerick crowd of 27,141 roaring their heroes home after a contest that proved to be far more contentious than most people expected.
Goalscorers: Limerick – A Gillane 2-5 (0-4 clear), T Morrissey 0-4, D Byrnes 0-3 (0-2 clear, 0-1 65), C Boyland 1-0, D O’Donovan and C O’Neill 0-2 each, B Nash, D Hannon, G Hegarty, G Mulcahy and D Reidy 0-1 each.
Tipperary – N McGrath 0-13 (0-10 frees, 0-1 65, 0-1 line cut), G Browne and J Morris 0-3 each, B Heffernan, R Byrnes, M Kehoe and P Flynn each 0-1.
LIMERICK: Quaid N, Finn S, Casey M, Nash B, Byrnes D, Hannon D, Morrissey D, O’Donoghue W, O’Donovan D, Hegarty G, O’Neill C, T Morrissey , A Gillane , K Hayes , G Mulcahy . subs – S Flanagan for O’Neill (40 mins), D Reidy for O’Donoghue (54 mins), C Boylan for Mulcahy (59 mins), R English for D Morrissey (69 mins), O O’Reilly for Hayes (69 mins).
TIPPERARY: Barry Hogan, Barrett C, Heffernan B, Morgan C, Quirke D, Maher R, Kennedy S, Cadell P, Breen M, Stakelum C, McGrath N, Browne G, Morris J , M. Kehoe, P. Flynn. subs – R. Byrnes for Cadell (35 mins), C. Bowe for Flynn (48 mins), D. McCormack for Browne (64 mins), A. Flynn for Stakelum (69 mins).
Referee – L. Gordon (Galway).
https://www.independent.ie/sport/gaelic-games/hurling/limerick-pushed-all-the-way-by-tipp-but-secure-place-in-munster-final-with-late-scoring-blitz-41628012.html Limerick pressed von Tipp until the end, but secured a place in the Munster final with a late hit blitz