Tipperary 1-22 Limerick 1-13: Tipperary will play Cork in next month’s Munster U21 final after dumping out 2017 All-Ireland champions Limerick.
The Limerick team which took to the field yesterday evening contained four players who started last year’s All-Ireland final win, but they were no match for a far sprightlier Tipp side - the sight of Limerick senior Seamus Flanagan, rendered scoreless by the excellent Brian McGrath, being hauled ashore on 42 minutes pretty much summed up their misery.
This Tipperary group, having seen off Limerick in the 2015 and 2016 Munster minor finals, as well as the 2016 All-Ireland final, continue to hold the upper hand on the Treaty County and their reward for this comfortable semi-final victory is a trip to Páirc Uí Chaoimh on July 4.
Tipperary were by far the dominant side in the opening half and were full value for their 0-13 to 0-5 interval lead. Mind you, Limerick could have taken a sizeable chunk out of that advantage on the stroke of half-time as Killian O’Dwyer fouled Barry Murphy for a Treaty penalty.
Murphy was handed responsibility, but his shot came back off the crossbar. It was a goal the visitors desperately needed. The reigning All-Ireland champions had looked so impressive when dismantling Clare - 3-18 to 0-13 the score that evening - in last month’s quarter-final, but were well off the pace here and struggled particularly in the middle third where Colin English and Ger Browne were rampant.
The Tipperary midfield pair contributed three first-half points, while Jake Morris and the lively Mark Kehoe notched seven. Limerick, on the other hand, were living off scraps, senior pair Peter Casey and Seamus Flanagan unable to raise a flag in the opening period.
There was no let up from Liam Cahill’s charges in the second period, with a string of points from Brian McGrath (free), Lyndon Fairbrother (free) and Colin English stretching them further clear.
It was game over on 39 minutes, David Gleeson latching onto a McGrath delivery and beating Limerick ‘keeper Jamie Power from close range. That green flag propelled the winners the 1-16 to 0-8 clear, with the gap soon extending to 13 points.
Kevin Howard pulled a late goal back for Limerick but their misfortune was further compounded when Kyle Hayes was sent off for a second yellow.
Scorers for Tipperary: M Kehoe (0-5); L Fairbrother (0-3 frees), B McGrath (0-3 frees), C English, J Morris (0-3 each); D Gleeson (1-0); G Browne (0-2); J Cahill, C Darcy, D Woods (0-1 each).
Scorers for Limerick: B Murphy (0-4, 0-3 frees); K Howard (1-0); M Houlihan (0-2, 0-2 frees), P O’Loughlin (0-2, 0-1 free); W O’Meara, B Ryan, C Boylan, P Casey (0-1 free), O O’Reilly (0-1 each).
Tipperary: C Barrett (Clonmel Óg); P Campion (Drom-Inch), B McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney), K O’Dwyer (Killenaule); C Flanagan (Newport), P Cadell (JK Brackens), D Quirke (Clonoulty-Rossmore), G Browne (Knockavilla-Donaskeigh Kickhams), C English (Fr Sheehy’s); J Cahill (Kilruane MacDonaghs), P Feehan (Killenaule), J Morris (Nenagh Éire Óg); D Gleeson (Ballinahinch), M Kehoe (Kilsheelan-Kilcash), L Fairbother (JK Brackens).
Subs: C Darcy (Kilruane MacDonaghs) for Fairbrother (50); C Morgan (Kilruane MacDonaghs) for Quirke (54, inj); D Woods (Holycross-Ballycahill) for Gleeson (56); C Stakelum (Thurles Sarsfields) for Cahill (59); M Purcell (Thurles Sarsfields) for Flanagan (60, inj).
Limerick: J Power (Monaleen); B Timmons (Murroe Boher), J Adams (Ballybrown), J Flynn (Patrickswell); W O’Meara (Askeaton), K Hayes (Kildimo Pallaskenry), T Grimes (Na Piarsaigh); P O’Loughlin (Kilmallock), M Mackey (Adare); B Ryan (South Liberties), M O’Dwyer (Monaleen), C Boylan (Na Piarsaigh); P Casey (Na Piarsaigh), S Flanagan (Feohanagh Castlemahon), B Murphy (Doon).
Subs: D O’Connell (Kildimo Pallaskenry) for O’Dwyer (HT); O O’Reilly (Kilmallock) for Flanagan (42); M Houlihan (Kilmallock) for Ryan (44); K Howard (Old Christians) for Mackey (49); B O’Grady (Kilteely Dromkeen) for Murphy (52).
Referee: R McGann (Clare).