Limerick 2-23 Galway 2-19
Limerick will meet Kilkenny in the All-Ireland U21 hurling final on September 9 after seeing off a determined Galway in this evening’s semi-final, writes Eoghan Cormican.
Galway were without a competitive fixture coming in but made life extremely difficult for Pat Donnelly’s charges and, indeed, moved two in front entering the final quarter when Galway senior Conor Whelan struck for a superb goal to leave the scoreboard reading 2-17 to 2-15 in favour of the underdogs.
Limerick, though, would outscore their opponents by 0-8 to 0-2 from there to the finish to seal a second All-Ireland final appearance in three years.
The sides returned back down the tunnel at half-time deadlocked at 1-9 to 0-12. Galway started the brighter, with Brian Concannon and Tom Monaghan both hitting points. The Tribesmen, however, were by no means making the most of their early possession dominance, what with four wides clocked by the fifth minute.
Peter Casey sniped a pair of points to bring Limerick back on level terms and it was he who delivered the opening major of this All-Ireland semi-final, scrambling the sliotar across the line after Galway ‘keeper Darragh Gilligan had stopped Tom Morrissey’s low drive.
Dan Nevin, Tom Monaghan and Séan Linnane all clipped points to reduce the deficit, but Limerick countered each time and it wasn’t until the 29th minute that the young Tribesmen restored parity.
The sides were level twice more at the beginning of the second-half before Barry Murphy stroked to the net following a fine Gilligan save to deny Barry Nash. Cian Lynch and Murphy subsequently added points to move the Munster champions 2-13 to 0-14 in front.
Galway’s response was 1-2 without reply, Jack Coyne supplying the goal after excellent work by Conor Whelan. Whelan was provider turned goalscorer on 46 minutes, unleashing a powerful effort past Eoghan McNamara which had Galway 2-17 to 2-15 in front.
Andrew La Touche Cosgrave, Kyle Hayes and Conor Boylan struck three on the bounce to return the Munster champions in front. Galway twice got back on level terms, but there followed four unanswered white flags from Limerick to propel them into the final.
Meanwhile, Kilkenny are through to the final of the Bord Gais Energy All-Ireland Under 21 Hurling Championship.
They had a facile 52 point win over Ulster champions Derry, winning out by 8-35 to 7 points.
Scorers for Limerick: A Gillane (0-8, 0-4 frees, 0-2 ‘65’s); P Casey, B Murphy (1-2 each); B Nash (0-4); T Grimes (0-2); K Hayes, C Lynch, A La Touche Cosgrave, C Boylan, R Hanley (0-1 each).
Scorers for Galway: C Whelan (1-3, 0-1 free); B Concannon, T Monaghan (0-4 each); J Coyne (1-1); D Nevin (0-2, 0-1 free); S Linnane, E Niland (0-1 free), S Loftus, J Grealish, K McHugo (0-1 each).
Limerick: E McNamara (Doon); S Finn (Bruff), D Fanning (Pallasgreen), D Joy (Kilmallock); R Lynch (Na Piarsaigh), K Hayes (Kildimo/Pallaskenry), T Grimes (Na Piarsaigh); C Ryan (Pallasgreen), R Hanley (Kilmallock); A Gillane (Patrickswell), B Nash (South Liberties), C Lynch (Patrickswell); P Casey (Na Piarsaigh), T Morrissey (Ahane), B Murphy (Doon).
Galway: D Gilligan (Cruaghwell); D Cronin (Cappataggle), C Cosgrove (Ardrahan), I Fox (Sarsfields); J Grealish (Gort), J Mooney (Loughrea), S Loftus (Turloughmore); K McHugho (Tommy Larkin’s), D Nevin (Cappataggle); B Concannon (Killimordaly), S Linnane (Turloughmore), T Monaghan (Craughwell); C Whelan (Kinvara), C Burke (Athenry), J Coyne (Castlegar).
Subs: C O’Connor (Leitrim-Kilnadeema) for Fox (20 mins); E Niland (Clarenbridge) for Burke (36); F Burke (St Thomas) for Mooney (52); G Loughnane (Loughrea) for Coyne (56); R Elwood (Liam Mellows) for McHugo (57
Referee: J Keenan (Wicklow).