All-Ireland holders Limerick overrun Cork U21s

Cork 2-15 Limerick 3-19

Limerick progress to face Tipperary in the Munster U21 hurling semi-final after a facile win over in Pairc Ui Rinn in front of 3,238 spectators, writes Michael Moynihan.

Limerick looked like overrunning Cork early on, with Pat Ryan hitting three points for them in the opening five minutes. The visitors were 1-7 to 0-1 ahead before ten minutes had gone - Ronan Lynch the goalscorer.

The men in green and white took over early and as befitted a team laden with All-Ireland medallists in the grade, they kept Cork at bay with ease.

Cork forward Luke Meade being challenged by Limerick's Darragh O'Donovan in the Bord Gais Energy Munster Under 21 HC at Pairc Uí Rinn. Picture: Denis Minihane

The Leesiders were struggling to find their range, and at the end of the first quarter they were 1-8 to 0-3 in arrears. Limerick's physically powerful forwards were able to keep the ball in the opposition half, something the home side couldn't do.

Barry Nash - playing in the half-forward line, though named at full-forward - and David Dempsey were particularly effective in the middle third for Limerick, as was Ronan Lynch at centre-field.

However, six points by the home side - a snap shot by Pa O'Callaghan the pick of them - cut the deficit to 1-9 to 0-8; Peter Casey stopped the rot with a Limerick point on 26 minutes.

Cork still had time to hit four more points before the break, and Limerick needed Cian Lynch to range forward before the half-time whistle for a point to keep his side that goal ahead, 1-12 to 0-12.

Cork players Sean O'Donoghue and David Noonan going high for the ball with Limerick's Darragh O'Donovan in the Bord Gais Energy Munster Under 21 HC at Pairc Uí Rinn. Picture: Denis Minihane

Limerick restarted with four quick points to stretch their lead to seven again. Two of those were Ronan Lynch frees, and with that player back in defence, Cork struggled again to make inroads up front.

It took the Rebels 14 minutes to get on the scoreboard, and by then Limerick were well in control. Cork needed a goal to have any chance but Limerick weren't in a charitable mood at the back: sub. Oisin O'Reilly's goal with ten minutes to go killed the game as a contest.

However Kingston and Coleman got consolation goals for Cork with time almost up, before O'Reilly struck again with another goal in injury time.

Scorers for Cork: S. Kingston (1-6, 5 frees);f M. Coleman (1-2, 1 65, 1 free); P. O'Callaghan (0-3); N. Cashman, C. Twomey, D. Noonan, A. Spillane (0-1).

Scorers for Limerick: R. Lynch (1-8, 6 frees, 1 65, 1 sideline); O. O'Reilly (2-0); P. Ryan (0-3); C. Lynch, D. O'Donovan, B. Nash (0-2); P. Casey, T. Morrissey (0-1).

CORK: P. Collins (Ballinhassig)(c); D. Browne (Kanturk), S. O’Donoghue (Inniscarra), D. Griffin (Carrigaline); R. Cahalane (Ballymartle), M. Coleman (Blarney), C. Twomey (Newtownshandrum); N. Cashman (Blackrock), D. Noonan (Glen Rovers); D. Fitzgibbon (Charleville), S. Kingston (Douglas), P. O’Callaghan (Ballyhea); A. Spillane (Castlelyons), T. O’Mahony (Newtownshandrum), L. Meade (Newcestown).

Subs: D. Lee (Na Piarsaigh) for Cashman (28); C. O'Leary (Valley Rovers) for Noonan (40); M. O'Halloran (Blackrock) for O'Mahony (45); C. Cormack (Blackrock) for Meade (50); M. O'Connor (Douglas) for Lee (55).

LIMERICK: E. McNamara (Doon), M. Casey (Na Piarsaigh), R. English (Doon), S. Flanagan (Feoghanagh); C. Ryan (Pallagreen), R. Lynch (Na Piarsaigh), A. La Touche Cosgrave (Monaleen); D. O'Donovan (Doon), P. Ryan (Doon); C. Lynch (Patrickswell), T. Morrissey (Ahane), D. Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh); A. Gillane (Patrickswell), B. Nash (South Liberties), P. Casey (Na Piarsaigh).

Subs: B. Murphy (Doon) for Dillane (HT); L. Lyons (Monaleen) for O'Donovan (blood, 42-44); O. O'Reilly (Kilmallock) for T. Morrissey (50); L. Lyons for Nash (55); J. Quaid (Effin) for Dempsey, (59).

Referee: R. McGann (Clare).

A minute's silence was observed before the game in memory of the late Jim Forbes of the Cork County Board.

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