Limerick 1-18 Tipperary 1-15
Rampant Limerick wrecked Tipperary’s dreams of a third successive Munster senior hurling title at the Gaelic Grounds this afternoon.
The hosts ran out deserved three-point winners in front of 19,507 spellbound spectators, as the rank outsiders ripped up the formbook.
Tipperary were expected to win, and win comfortably, but John Allen’s Limerick had other ideas on a sweltering afternoon.
Limerick had not beaten Tipp in the Munster championship since 2007 – the last year they contested a Munster final.
But the Shannonsiders roared through to a provincial final meeting with Cork or Clare on July 14 with a scintillating display.
Declan Hannon led the way with 0-9 in attack, as Tipp’s six starting forwards mustered just 0-5 from play between them.
But Tipp, who trailed by 0-7 to 1-7 at half-time, rallied to lead by 1-13 to 1-9 when John O’Dwyer, a championship debutant, scored a brilliant goal in the 49th minute.
O’Dwyer scored 1-3 after coming off the bench but in the final twenty minutes, Limerick outscored Tipp by 0-9 to 0-2 with a devastating display of power.
Manager John Allen had subs to come off the bench to finish the job too, in direct contrast to last year’s quarter-final meeting between the counties, when Tipp came from five points down to win by four.
Sub Shane Dowling drew Limerick level at 1-14 apiece in the 52nd minute and although Declan Hannon missed a free with eight minutes remaining from an inviting position, the Treaty men held their nerve to get the job done.
At half-time, Limerick led by 1-7 to 0-7 and they had goalkeeper Nickie Quaid to thank for two brilliant saves to deny Seamus Callanan and Pa Bourke what looked like certain goals.
With both full-back lines looking suspect, Seanie Tobin profited for Limerick’s 19th minute goal, whipped home off the base of an upright after Brendan Cummins had scooped the ball clear in a goalmouth scramble.
Limerick’s aerial bombardment has Tipperary on the backfoot and the visitors were troubled by the sheer ferocity of the home challenge.
Tipp were 0-1 to 0-3 behind early on and they were five down when Tobin netted.
But Tipp were still in contention at half-time and when O’Dwyer buried that second half goal, it appeared that the Premier County would go on to claim a comfortable win.
But Limerick had other ideas as they stormed through to the provincial final – with Tipperary now facing the prospect of the back door for the first time since 2010.
Limerick had a man of the match performance from full-back Richie McCarthy, with Wayne McNamara and Donal O’Grady also excelling for the winners.
Scorers for 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.
Scorers for 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).