Munster SHC: terrific Treaty through to Munster final

June 09, 2013

Limerick's Wayne McNamara and Pa Bourke of Tipperary
©INPHO/James Crombie
Limerick 1-18
Tipperary 1-15

Tipperary's three-in-a-row ambitions lie in tatters after Limerick produced a storming finish at the Gaelic Grounds to reach the Munster final.

Thousands of green and white-clad supporters invaded the pitch as the Treaty County upset the odds in the searing heat to secure only their second Munster SHC victory in 18 attempts. John Allen's Division 1B outfit shot nine of the last 10 points to set up a provincial final showdown with either Cork or Clare on July 14. And what an occasion that promises to be.

After surrendering a seven-point lead to Tipp 12 months ago, motivation clearly wasn't an issue for the underdogs who set the pace from the off. A Seanie Tobin goal had them 1-7 to 0-7 in front at the break. And after Tipp super-sub John O'Dwyer scored 1-3 in the first 15 minutes of the second half to put the Premier in a winning position, Limerick showed buckets of character to come back and secure a famous victory.

While Declan Hannon top-scored for the winners with 0-9 (0-6 from frees), Tobin and team captain Donal O'Grady also made vital scoring contributions. In addition, Shane Dowling and Niall Moran - who many felt were unlucky not to start - also found the target after coming off the bench.

While Limerick lined out as selected, a late Tipperary change saw Pa Bourke replace the ill Jason Forde in attack. Back to full fitness after missing most of the Allianz League with a broken collarbone, Donal O'Grady fired the hosts into an early lead. Seamus Callanan levelled from a free before James Ryan restored Limerick's lead in the fourth minute after a Graeme Mulcahy hook on Conor O'Mahony.

Declan Hannon soloed through to make it 0-3 to 0-1 with eight minutes played. Callanan slotted over his second free, which was quickly cancelled out by a similar score from Hannon at the opposite end.

Tipp then passed up on the first of three guilt-edged goal-scoring opportunities in the first half. Patrick 'Bonnar' Maher centred for Callanan who had time to pick his spot, but Nicky Quaid got down smartly to pull off a great save at the expense of a '65 which Pa Bourke failed to convert.

Following that let-off, the Treaty men extended their lead to 0-5 to 0-2 when Hannon hit over his third free from the halfway line following a foul on Seamus Hickey. The experienced John O'Brien responded for the visitors who were rocked in the 19th minute by Seanie Tobin's goal.

The corner forward's first-time shot flew through a crowded goalmouth and past Brendan Cummins after the Tipp defence had failed to deal with Declan Hannon's sideline cut from the terrace side of the field.

That goal pushed out Limerick's lead to five points, 1-5 to 0-3, before Pa Bourke and David Breen traded scores in the space of 60 seconds. The Premier County came in search of a goal again, only to be frustrated by Quaid who saved from Pa Bourke. The home side had another lucky escape a short time later when Callanan was narrowly wide after a mazy run.

John O'Brien shortened the grip to fire over Tipp's fifth point from the middle of the field in the 25th minute. Bourke was fouled and Callanan did the needful to further reduce the arrears.

When Noel McGrath split the posts from an acute angle in the 28th minute, there was only two points between the sides. However, Hannon's fourth free - which was Limerick's first score in 11 minutes - left a goal in it at the break.

John O'Dwyer replaced Shane Bourke in the Tipp attack for the second half and what an impact the championship debutant was to have on the game. Limerick extended their advantage when Hannon converted another free after Seanie Tobin was unceremoniously taken down.

However, the Tipp half-time sub then took centre stage with three points in a four-minute spell to leave the minimum in it. Team captain O'Grady steadied the hosts with his second point from long range, but the momentum remained with Eamon O'Shea's charges as Callanan registered another free in the 42nd minute.

As Limerick introduced Conor Ellis for David Breen, Pa Bourke missed a glorious chance to bring Tipp level, and was immediately replaced by Eoin Kelly. Tipp eventually got back on terms in the 46th minute thanks to a spectacle point from John O'Brien after he collected Brendan Cummins' puckout.

Brendan Maher then gave them the lead for the first time before O'Dwyer continued his tour de force in the 49th minute by cracking an unstoppable shot to the right corner of the Limerick net after 'Bonnar' Maher had done the spadework.

The home side were unflappable, though, as Tobin and Hannon (free) replied with points. Eoin Kelly was on target for Tipp, but Limerick were building up a head of steam as two more Hannon frees and a Shane Dowling effort levelled up the game.

After Brendan Cummins was forced to make a brilliant double save to deny Graeme Mulcahy and James Ryan, Limerick regained the lead with scores from Dowling (a massive free from over 80 metres) and Niall Moran.

Tipp's grasp on the Munster cup was slipping and, with three minutes to go, they turned to Lar Corbett - who was a late addition to the substitutes' list - in a bid to rescue the situation. But Limerick weren't to be denied as superb late scores from O'Grady and Hannon sparked the biggest celebrations the Gaelic Grounds have seen in many a long day.

Scorers - Limerick: D Hannon 0-09 (5f, 1 65), S Tobin 1-01, D O'Grady 0-03, S Dowling 0-02 (1f), D Breen, J Ryan & N Moran 0-01 each. Tipperary: J O'Dwyer 1-03, S Callanan 0-04f, J O'Brien 0-03, E Kelly 0-02 (1f), B Maher, N McGrath & P Bourke 0-01 each.

Limerick: N Quaid; S Walsh, R McCarthy, T Condon; P O'Brien, W McNamara, G O'Mahony; P Browne, D O'Grady; S Hickey, D Breen, J Ryan; G Mulcahy, D Hannon, S Tobin. Subs: C Allis for Breen (42), S Dowling for Hickey (49), N Moran for Tobin (61), C King for Browne (66), K Downes for Ryan (69).

Tipperary: B Cummins; P Stapleton, P Curran, M Cahill; K Bergin, C O'Mahony, Pádraic Maher; B Maher, S McGrath; P Bourke, Patrick Maher, J O'Brien; S Bourke, S Callanan, N McGrath. Subs: J O'Dwyer for S Bourke (half-time), E Kelly for P Bourke (44), B O'Meara for Callanan (49), C O'Brien for S McGrath (64), L Corbett for B Maher (67).

Referee: Brian Gavin (Offaly).

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