Fitzgerald firepower crucial as cool Adare surge into final

AN exhibition of point scoring by Conor Fitzgerald powered Adare to a comfortable victory over Murroe Boher in the Limerick SHC semi-final at the Gaelic Grounds yesterday.

Fitzgerald has lost none of the accuracy from his days with Limerick’s all-conquering Under-21 side, as he landed nine points, five of them from placed balls.

While Fitzgerald dominated the scoring it was Mark Foley at centre back, Wayne McNamara at midfield and another of that three in a row winning U-21 side Donncha Sheehan, who ensured victory for Adare.

Both teams opted to play with a two-man full forward line and, as in the Cork final recently, it was a defender’s dream as the seven backs were always going to better five forwards.

Adare were quickly out of the blocks with a Liam Costello point after 35 seconds, and after Sean Tobin equalised 30 seconds later, Murroe Boher struck for a classy goal.

William Tobin came out of goal to take a free from his own 65-metre line dropped into the Adare square, where Kevin Tobin first timed the ball to the net after just three minutes.

Adare’s response was instant. They hit six points in a row, four from Fitzgerald to lead 0-7 to 1-1 at the end of the opening quarter.

Murroe Boher’s strategy was surprising: Pat Tobin lined out at centre back with Young Player of the Year, Seamus Hickey at midfield. The tactic completely backfired, though Hickey scored an excellent point to stop the rot, before going to centre back.

Adare found it far easier to make headway up front and with Fitzgerald continuing to find the target, they led 0-12 to 1-2 after 25 minutes. However Murroe Boher gave themselves a chance approaching half time with three unanswered points to trail 0-12 to 1-5 at the break.

Both sides reverted to playing six forwards on six defenders for the second half and it made for a better game.

Murroe continued where they left off with a point, their fourth in a row.

Sensing danger, Adare stepped up a couple of gears. Mark Foley was rock solid at centre back and with Wayne McNamara towering at midfield, pounded Murroe’s defence.

Andrew O’Connell should have goaled, but he opted to lift the ball in the small square instead of pulling first time and his effort came back off the upright to Brian Foley who pointed.

The points continued to flow for Adare and by the end of the third quarter victory was assured as they held a commanding 0-16 to 1-6 lead.

Murroe Boher points by Kevin Tobin and a second goal by Sean Tobin raised hopes of a recovery.

However it was as close as Adare allowed them get and they finished the game with five points in a row, three of them by McNamara, to run out comfortable winners.

Scorers: Adare: C. Fitzgerald 0-9 (0-5f); W. McNamara 0-4; B. Foley 0-3; A. Rahilly, L. Costello, M. Noonan 0-2 each; D. Sheehan, M. Lyons 0-1 each. Murroe Boher: K. Tobin 1-4 ; (0-4 frees); S. Tobin 1-1; P. Tobin 0-2; S. Hickey 0-1.

ADARE: S. O’Donoghue; S. O’Connell, JP Healy, P., Lavin; R. Kennedy, M. Foley, M. Clifford; C. Fitzgerald, W. McNamara; M. Noonan, B., Foley, D. Sexton; D., Sheehan, L. Costello, A. O’Connell.

Subs: A. Rahilly for B. Foley; M. Lyons for D. Sexton .

MURROE/BOHER: W. Tobin; M. Kett, B. Nolan, A. Hickey; J. O’Connor, S. Hickey, D. Kett; K. Tobin, A. Kirby; P. Laffan, P. McNamara, P. Tobin; S. Tobin, C. Brouder, J. Butler.

Sub: D. Brouder for Laffan.

Referee: M. Meade (Ballylanders).

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