In a game that lacked bite, Limerick still impressed, made it two wins on the trot and showed signs that the revival of last year looks set to continue.
“We’re pleased,” said coach Ger Cunningham, “we’ve had a great start, with two out of two now and we played a bit of decent hurling as well. We had a bad start, the delivery to our inside line was poor, but we sorted that out. So we are very happy now.”
Tipperary manager Babs Keating, returning to the helm after a hiatus of over a decade, wasn’t sharing that joy.
“It was our first game of the year and to be honest, we didn’t expect a lot. We were here without three of the boys we had picked (Liam England, Kevin Tucker and Colin Morrissey withdrawn before the start) and that was an awful knock for us to get. We were without nine Fitzgibbon (Cup) hurlers while four were gone to Singapore (with the Allstars).”
Limerick trailed by 0-3 to 0-1 after 11 minutes of pretty turgid hurling, but by half-time they had established themselves, and never looked back.
They led 0-7 to 0-5 with free-taker Mark Keane hitting five while Mike O’Brien and Andrew O’Shaughnessy had a point a piece.
The last quarter, however, with stand-in team captain Donie Ryan on fire (four points from play), was when the difference in class told.
Stephen Lucey and Brian Geary controlled the middle, Damien Reale also continued where he left off in 2005 at corner-back, and Mark O’Riordan, Denis Moloney and Willie Walsh all showed promise.
: Limerick: M. Keane 0-8 (0-5 frees); D. Ryan 0-4; M. O’Brien 0-2; A. O’Shaughnessy, A. Brennan, M. Fitzgerald, D. O’Grady, 0-1 each. Tipperary: P. O’Brien 0-4 (0-4 frees); K. Dunne 0-3 (0-1 free, 0-1 65); N. Curran 0-2; S. Butler 0-2; P. Kerwick 0-1.
: B. Murray; D. Reale, S. Lucey, M. O’Riordan; D. Moloney, B. Geary, W. Walsh; D. O’Grady, N. Collins; D. Ryan (c), J. Deere, M. O’Brien; A. O’Shaughnessy, S. O’Connor, M. Keane.
: A. Brennan (Deere inj. 5); P. O’Grady (Collins 40); TJ Ryan (O’Connor 55); O. Benson (Walsh 47); M. Fitzgerald (Keane 50).
: D. Young; M. Maher, S. McDermott, P. Curran; D. McGrath, J. Devane, B. Dunne; J. Woodlock, K. Dunne; J. Enright, N. Curran, P. Morrissey; S. Butler, P. O’Brien, P. Kerwick.
: J. Carroll (B. Dunne inj. 17); J. O’Brien (Woodlock 50); E. Brislane (Maher 56).
: A. Heagney (Clare).