HL semi-final: Limerick bridge 13-year gap

March 24, 2019

Dublin's John Hetherton with Sean Finn of Limerick. ©INPHO/Tommy Dickson.

Limerick 1-19

Dublin 1-16

A stunning Seamus Flanagan goal with nine minutes remaining helped All-Ireland champions Limerick to their first Allianz Hurling League final appearance since 2006 at Dublin's expense in Nowlan Park.

The victory means John Kiely's men will return to Croke Park next Sunday for the first time since they ended a 45-year wait for the Liam MacCarthy Cup last August, but they will need to improve on this performance if they're to get the better of either Galway or Waterford, and claim a first league title since 1997. 

Despite playing against the wind in the first half, the Treaty took a 0-10 to 0-9 lead into the break, but they weren't able to put any daylight between themselves and Dublin - who were surprise winners over Tipperary in the quarter-final - until the final quarter when they reeled off 1-5 without reply to put the result beyond doubt.

Limerick had opened up a 0-17 to 0-12 lead before sub Flanagan scored an early contender for goal of the season. Diarmaid Byrnes sent a long ball downfield which Cian Lynch caught before putting the inrushing substitute Flanagan through for a superb goal.

Byrnes then put the winners nine up, but they lost their concentration somewhat in the closing stages when a Ronan Hayes goal in the 65th minute was followed by four late points which left Mattie Kenny's charges - who were wearing their alternative dark blue strip for some strange reason - just three adrift at the final whistle.

Despite having wind advantage in the opening half, Dublin opted to play Sean Moran as a sweeper. Danny Sutcliffe (Dublin) and Graeme Mulcahy (Limerick) posted three points each, while Aaron Gillane registered two - the second of which he blazed over from close range after Kyle Hayes had set him up.

Limerick - N Quaid; T Condon, S Finn, R English; D Byrnes (0-5, 4f), D Morrissey, P O’Loughlin; C Lynch (0-1), D O’Donovan (0-2); G Hegarty (0-1), K Hayes, T Morrissey (0-1); A Gillane (0-5, 3f), P Casey (0-1), G Mulcahy (0-3). Subs: D Dempsey for T Morrissey, S Flanagan (1-0) for G Mulcahy, C Boylan for G Hegarty, M Casey for T Condon, B Murphy for K Hayes.

Dublin - A Nolan; P Smyth, E O’Donnell, D Gray; C Crummey (0-1), S Moran (0-1f), D O’Connell; R McBride, S Treacy; C Boland, J Hetherton, D Sutcliffe (0-3); S Barrett, O O’Rorke, E Dillon (0-3). Subs: P Ryan (0-6f) for O O'Rorke, T Connolly (0-1) for D Gray, F Whitely for S Treacy, J Malone for R McBride, R Hayes (1-0) for J Hetherton, D Treacy (0-1) for C Boland.

Referee - J Keenan.

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