By Denis Hurley
Limerick 1-20, Cork 0-16
Limerick put themselves in with a very good chance of making the Electric Ireland Munster MHC final as Cathal O’Neill scored 11 points in a victory over Cork at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday evening.
The Shannonsiders – the first away team to win in the new round-robin format – never trailed in this tie, with O’Neill very impressive from dead balls as they moved 0-6 to 0-3 in front by the end of the first quarter.
Cork, who played with an extra defender in the first half, replied with scores from Ethan Twomey and Jack Cahalane (free) to leave just a point in it on 20 minutes, but the visitors had a strong riposte.
Limerick were to score six of the next seven as half-time neared, with Colin Coughlan and Eoin O’Mahony assisting O’Neill on the scoreboard and though Cahalane ended Cork’s drought with a fine free from the left in injury time, they trailed by 0-12 to 0-7 at the interval.
Cormac O’Brien had a long-range free in the first minute of the second half as they switched to a traditional formation, but Limerick always had enough scoring power to retain a cushion.
After points from Cahalane and Twomey, Cork were back to four, 0-14 to 0-10, but Limerick pushed clear emphatically. Cormac Ryan scored a fine goal, set up by Diarmuid Hegarty, and Hegarty had two points with O’Neill getting the other as they opened up a ten-point lead.
Scorers for Limerick: C O’Neill 0-11 (0-7 frees, 0-1 65), C Ryan 1-1, D Hegarty 0-3, E O’Mahony, P Kirby 0-2 each, C Coughlan 0-1.
Scorers for Cork: J Cahalane 0-6 (frees), C O’Brien 0-4 (0-3 frees), E Twomey, P Power (0-1 free) 0-2 each, O Broderick, D Hogan, F O’Leary 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: B Heavey (Garryspillane); P Harnett (Ahane), B Herlihy (Castletown/Ballyagran), M Keane (Adare); E O’Mahony (Garryspillane), E McEvoy (Na Piarsaigh), J Nicholas (Murroe-Boher); P Kirby (Patrickswell), B O’Connor (Ballybrown); D Hegarty (St Patrick’s), C Ryan (Doon), C Coughlan (Ballybrown); C O’Neill (Crecora-Manister), B Purcell (Doon), B Nix (Newcastlewest).
Subs: D Riordan (Castletown/Ballyagran) for Nix (37), D O’Leary (Bruff) for Coughlan (54), M Martin (Ballybricken-Bohermore) for Kirby (56), K O’Donnell (Pallasgreen) for Herlihy (57), D Hickey (Murroe-Boher) for Purcell (60).
CORK: C Long (Glen Rovers); C O’Brien (St Catherine’s), N O’Riordan (Mallow), C McCarthy (St Oliver Plunkett’s); C O’Brien (Newtownshandrum); L Horgan (Glen Rovers), Cian O’Donovan (Sarsfields), Cillian O’Donovan (Douglas); E Twomey (St Finbarr’s), O Broderick (Killeagh); P Power (Blarney), S Barrett (Blarney), D Hogan (Sarsfiels); P O’Flynn (Bride Rovers), J Cahalane (St Finbarr’s).
Subs: A Mulcahy (Midleton) for O’Flynn (34), C Hickey (Lisgoold) for Broderick (44), R McCarthy (Killeagh) for Cian McCarthy (47), F O’Leary (Inniscarra) for Hogan (48), P Cooney (Ballincollig) for Cahalane (56).
Referee: J Mullins (Clare).