By Therese O’Callaghan
Limerick 1-14 Cork 0-14
Limerick minors overcame a serious Cork challenge in the Gaelic Grounds this evening to book their place in the Electric Ireland Munster Minor Hurling Championship final against Tipperary on Sunday week in Thurles.
A goal from their top-scorer Peter Casey two minutes from time getting them over the line.
While Cork held the upper hand when the sides met earlier in the season in the provincial first round, Limerick had to fight hard for the victory.
Picture: Press 22
However this Cork side, minus their inspirational and prolific captain Shane Kingston will regret their unbelievable number of wides – 15 against four for Limerick who are now still intact for three-in-row Munster titles.
In front of a crowd of 4,184, it was a nervous start from both teams with the wides building over the half – nine for Cork while Limerick had three – and the two goalkeepers contributing five between them.
Sweepers operated at both ends – Darragh Fitzgibbon for Cork while Conor Byrnes was the free man for Limerick.
Cork were in the better scoring form early on with wing-back Mark Coleman in particular prominent hitting a brace of points as they opened up a 0-5 to 0-2 lead after 12 minutes. Eoghan McNamara then brought off a fine save from Sean Powter and gradually the Shannonsiders worked their way back.
When corner forward Peter Casey struck his third point on the stroke of half-time – following a slip up by Declan Dalton in the Cork goal - the Green and White had drawn level 0-7 apiece.
The teams were still deadlocked 10 minutes after the restart but when McNamara hit over a lengthy free, the Shannonsiders took the lead for the first time 0-11 to 0-10. However, Cork lifted it a gear or two to edge it once more with Coleman knocking over his sixth point.
There was also a big let off then for Cork when Dalton saved a penalty from his opposite number McNamara.
However, the all-important score came in the dying moment when Casey grabbed the crucial goal after fetching a huge delivery from Conor Houlihan. And Limerick held on in a hectic finish.
Scorers for Limerick: P Casey (1-6, four frees), D Carroll, T Grimes and K Hayes (0-2 each), E McNamara (free) and B Ryan (0-1 each).
Scorers for Cork: M Coleman (0-6, four frees), L Healy and D Fitzgibbon (0-2 each), T O’Mahony, C Cormack, D Dalton (65m), S Powter and (0-1 each).
Limerick: E McNamara (Capt); T Hayes, C McSweeney, J O’Grady; C Byrnes, P O’Loughlin, C Houlihan; D Carroll, T Grimes; K Hayes, S Flanagan, B Ryan; P Casey, M Mackey, B Murphy.
Subs: W O’Meara for M Mackey (51), C Boylan for D Carroll (54), O O’Reilly for B Ryan (59), P Ahern for K Hayes (60).
Cork: D Dalton; S Smyth, D Griffin, C McCarthy; M Coleman, E Murphy (Capt), D Lowney; C O’Leary, D Fitzgibbon; L Healy, M O’Halloran, T O’Mahony; S Powter, C Cormack, J Looney.
Subs: J Cashman for C O’Leary (half-time), R O’Flynn for M O’Halloran (42), B Dunne for S Powter (47), B Hennessy for J Looney (53).
Referee: Paul Foley (Waterford).