Limerick 1-21 Dublin 1-19
By Paul Keane
Na Piarsaigh duo Kevin Downes and Shane Dowling proved their worth to Limerick with 1-8 between them as the Shannonsiders secured a first Allianz hurling league semi-final place in a decade.
The duo were missing because of club commitments for Limerick's Division 1B campaign which ended in a disappointing defeat to neighbours Clare, meaning promotion would have to wait for another year at least.
But with an AIB All-Ireland club title success in the bag they returned to the county fold with gusto, Downes scoring the vital 55th minute goal that put Limerick into a lead they wouldn't relinquish.
As for Dowling, he chipped in with six important points at Parnell Park as Dublin, the 2011 champions, slumped to a disappointing defeat at a venue that had been their fortress.
Limerick's reward for victory is an April 17 league semi-final with Waterford, ironically the side they beat in their last semi-final appearance in 2006.
Aside from Dowling and Downes, Ryan also included Na Piarsaigh's Ronan Lynch in the line-up for his debut and he operated as a sweeper, scoring his first point for Limerick from a free late in the first-half.
That score put the Shannonsiders 0-13 to 0-09 up at half-time and it was a lead they deserved as they moved ahead in the 15th minute and remained there with a controlled display.
Dowling scored five first-half points, all but one from frees, though showed flashes of excellence in general play while Diarmuid Byrnes nailed two long-range points from play.
Former underage star Barry Nash was on the mark too along with Paul Browne, Tom Morrissey and Gavin O'Mahony.
Dublin had made Parnell Park their fortress, beating Galway twice there already this year, but played second fiddle to Limerick for long spells.
Forwards Eamon Dillon, Niall McMorrow and Fionntan MacGib buzzed with intent when on the ball for Dublin but opportunities were limited as Limerick won more possession in the middle third.
Dublin fought back to level terms in the third quarter with David O'Callaghan firing the point that left them level at 0-15 apiece.
Ger Cunningham's side had an opportunity to move ahead but Treacy hit a weak 53rd minute penalty straight at Nickie Quaid.
Downes sniped Limerick's goal 90 seconds later after good work by James Ryan who intercepted in the Dublin defence and the visitors didn't look back.
Subs John Fitzgibbon and Paudie O'Brien stretched their lead to five late on while Gavin O'Mahony was also on the mark before Treacy flicked in that consolation Dubs goal, taking his own personally to 1-8 for the evening.
Scorers for Limerick: Shane Dowling 0-6 (0-4f, 0-1 65), Kevin Downes 1-2, Diarmaid Byrnes 0-3, Tom Morrissey 0-2, Barry Nash 0-2, Gavin O'Mahony 0-2, Paul Browne 0-1, Ronan Lynch 0-1 (0-1f), John Fitzgibbon 0-1, Paudie O'Brien 0-1
Scorers for Dublin: David Treacy 1-8 (0-7f), Niall McMorrow 0-4, Eamon Dillon 0-3, Darragh O'Connell 0-2, Fionntan MacGib 0-1, David O'Callaghan 0-1
Limerick: Nickie Quaid; Seanie O'Brien, Richie McCarthy, Richie English; Diarmaid Byrnes, Wayne McNamara, Gavin O'Mahony; Paul Browne, James Ryan; Shane Dowling, Barry Nash, Tom Morrissey; Graeme Mulcahy, Kevin Downes, Ronan Lynch.
Subs: Paudie O'Brien for McNamara (50), Gearoid Hegarty for Mulcahy (54), John Fitzgibbon for Dowling (59), Cian Lynch for Morrissey (65).
Dublin: Conor Dooley; Eoghan O'Donnell, Cian O'Callaghan, Oisin Gough; James Madden, Liam Rushe, Chris Crummey; Darragh O'Connell, John McCaffrey; Sean McGrath, Niall McMorrow, David Treacy; David O'Callaghan, Fionntan MacGib, Eamon Dillon.
Subs: Daire Plunkett for McGrath (32), Mark Schutte for MacGib (48), Shane Barrett for Madden (59), Ben Quinn for McCaffrey (65), Oisin O'Rorke for O'Callaghan (68).
Referee: Brian Gavin (Offaly).