HL1 final: Brilliant Gillane goal helps end Limerick's 22-year wait for league title

March 31, 2019

Limerick's Seamus Flanagan with Shane McNulty and Noel Connors of Waterford. ©INPHO/James Crombie.

An Aaron Gillane inspired Limerick were crowned Allianz HL champions for 2019 at Croke Park today following an impressive 1-24 to 0-19 final victory over Waterford.

The corner-forward contributed 1-9 (1-5 from play) to his side’s winning tally and could even afford the luxury of accumulating nine wides.

The highlight of Limerick's 12th league final victory was the goal which arrived in the 27th minute.

Earlier on, Gillane had been denied a three pointer by Waterford netminder Stephen O’Keeffe but made no mistake with his second goal attempt.

In what can only be described as a touch of genius, the corner-forward got on the end of Tom Morrissey’s long delivery to flash the ball past O’Keeffe with a brilliant first-time flick of the hurl

He followed that up with a point shortly before captain Morrissey and Graeme Mulcahy brought the first-half scoring to an end.

John Kiely’s side subsequently enjoyed a 1-13 to 0-10 cushion at the halfway stage.

Limerick captain Declan Hannon lifts the trophy. ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne.

Gillane had 1-5 on the board when referee James Owens sounded his half-time whistle while Stephen Bennett registered 0-7 (0-2 from play) for the Deise in the opening period.

Gillane extended the team in green and white’s advantage with the first point of the second half via a free and Limerick’s advantage was out to eight points (1-16 to 0-11) by the 44th minute after Declan Hannon landed a long range effort.

There was an air of inevitably about the outcome at that stage.

Full-forward Bennett flashed a goal chance over the Limerick bar in the 54th minute with his team trailing by six points while Nickie Quaid pulled off a point blank save in the 67th minute as Paraic Fanning’s Waterford side refused to throw in the towel.

Gillane made way for Barry Murphy in the 64th minute while Shane Dowling came in for Tom Morrissey.

Dowling (2) and fellow substitute Seamus Flanagan kept the scoreboard ticking over as Limerick finished with eight points to spare and a first league title win since 1997.

Limerick - N Quaid; T Condon, S Finn, R English; D Byrnes, D Hannon (0-1), D Morrissey; C Lynch (0-2), D O’Donovan (0-1sl); G Hegarty (0-3), K Hayes, T Morrissey (0-1); A Gillane (1-9, 0-4f), P Casey (0-3), G Mulcahy (0-1). Subs: M Casey for T Condon, S Flanagan (0-1) for G Mulcahy, S Dowling (0-2, 1f) for T Morrissey, B Murphy for A Gillane, P O’Loughlin for D Hannon.

Waterford - S O’Keeffe; S McNulty, C Lyons, N Connors; Philip Mahony (0-1), T De Burca, K Moran (0-1); J Barron, A Gleeson (0-2, 1sl); M Kearney, M Walsh (0-1), Pauric Mahony (0-5, 4f); P Hogan, Stephen Bennett (0-9, 6f), Shane Bennett. Subs: J Prendergast for M Walsh, T Ryan for Shane Bennett, C Prunty for C Lyons, P Curran for P Hogan, S Roche for M Kearney.

Referee - J Owens.

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