Tipperary win Munster Minor title in eight-point victory over Limerick

Max Hackett of Tipperary in action against Jack Nicholas of Limerick. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Limerick 1-12 - 1-20 Tipperary

By Stephen Barry

Tipperary won their third Munster Minor Hurling title in four years in a comprehensive eight-point win at Semple Stadium.

Once again Limerick lost out in a final, as Mikey O’Shea’s 53rd-minute goal made victory absolutely safe for the hosts.

James Devanney hit nine points and Sean Hayes added three from play, but an impressive defensive showing was the bedrock for Tipp's victory.

Emmet McEvoy of Limerick in action against Seán Hayes and Diarmuid Hegarty of Tipperary. Photo: Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Limerick got the first two scores of the game, Cathal O’Neill smartly setting up one for Bob Purcell and winning his own free for the other.

Tipp took over thereafter.

They scored nine of the next ten points, the first two coming from high catches by full-forward Hayes. The first led to a Devanney free, before Hayes bounced a looping shot off the crossbar with the goal at his mercy. Hayes traded points with O’Neill, after Aaron Browne’s fine save from Cormac Ryan, but Limerick had no answer as Tipp reeled off the next six points.

Tipperary’s Devon Ryan was pulled back to sweep around his own ’65 to good effect while Devanney led the way from frees and play at the other end. Sean Phelan and Ryan Renehan, from a sideline, chipped in the rest.

Bryan Heavey had two unsure moments under high balls, but it was all points in the first-half. Ryan, Patrick Kirby and O’Neill’s frees, most of which he was fouled for, kept Limerick in it, but Hayes, Devanney and Cian O’Farrell ensured Tipp led 0-12 to 0-7 at the break.

Limerick could’ve significantly closed the gap upon the resumption but Kirby, O’Neill and early sub Bryan Nix hit cheap wides. That trend continued after O’Farrell and Ryan traded points, as Purcell had a shot at goal blocked by Fintan Purcell and Colin Coughlan added another wide.

Kian O’Kelly, Devanney (with a second free in off the post) and Max Hackett extended the lead to double scores, 0-16 to 0-8.

Barry O’Connor had the best chance to pull Limerick back into it, but Browne stretched to touch it over. Further scores from Ryan and O’Neill (two) gave the brief appearance of a comeback.

Tipp snuffed that out, however, through Phelan and Devanney points followed by a O’Shea goal, well set-up by Devanney.

A sublime solo run and point by full-back Conor Whelan was the cherry on top, and even Bryan Nix's late goal couldn't take the gloss of the victory.

Scorers for Limerick: C O’Neill (0-6, 5 frees); B Nix (1-0); C Ryan (0-3); B Purcell, P Kirby, B O'Connor (0-1 each).

Scorers for Tipperary: J Devanney (0-8, 4 frees, 1 ’65); M O'Shea (1-1); S Hayes (0-3); S Phelan, C O’Farrell (0-2 each); R Renehan (s/l), M Hackett, C Whelan, K O’Kelly (0-1 each).

LIMERICK: B Heavey; P Harnett, B Herlihy, M Keane; E O’Mahony, E McEvoy, J Nicholas; P Kirby, B O’Connor; D O’Leary, C Ryan, C O’Neill; C Coughlan, B Purcell, D Hegarty.

Subs: B Nix for O’Leary (26), D Hicey for Hegarty (49), M Martin for Coughlan (55), A Shanahan for Nicholas (60+2), C Casey for Kirby (60+2).

TIPPERARY: A Browne; C O’Dwyer, C Whelan, K Hayes; J Ryan, F Purcell, S Phelan; M Hackett, J Campion; S Hayes, C O’Farrell, K O’Kelly; D Ryan, R Renehan, J Devanney.

Subs: M O’Shea for Renehan (46), J Morrissey for Campion (49), K Maher for Hackett (57), B O’Connor for D Ryan (60+1), F Hanafin for Phelan (60+3).

Referee: T Walsh (Waterford).

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