Brian Lohan hailed the ability of his men to regularly find the net as neighbours Mary Immaculate were stunned in front of a large crowd on their own ground in this Limerick derby.
Éire Óg Nenagh’s Tommy Heffernan struck for two goals in the opening five minutes despite UL playing against the breeze.
“The early goals were a great help, we started well. It’s very difficult in this competition to get goals but the pitch was in superb condition and there were always going to be goals in the game. They were well drilled and didn’t lie down and it was a really good, competitive game,” said Lohan, whose side have now won both their pool games.
Eamon Cregan’s Mary I never gave up and twice shredded big leads only for UL to regain the initiative and pull away.
“We were left with a lot to do after conceding those early goals. The lads tried very hard, you couldn’t fault the effort but the goals were a killer,” said Cregan.
Those goals from Heffernan saw UL open up a 2-6 to 0-3 lead after 19 minutes before Limerick’s Declan Hannon blasted home the first of his two goals.
That cut the gap to 2-8 to 1-9 at the interval but the introduction of Clare’s Cathal McInerney added further firepower for UL and the All-Ireland winner hit three excellent points in the opening five minutes of the second- half. UL seemed destined for a facile win when a long free from Jason Forde ended up in the net and Pat Ryan scored another goal to make it 4-14 to 1-12 with 11 minutes remaining.
But Mary I, who now need to beat DIT by a big margin and hope results elsewhere go their way, rallied and a goal from Sean Linnane was followed by Hannon’s second strike.
Colm Galvin got his second point of the game to reduce the gap to four but Limerick’s Kevin O’Brien fired home UL’s fifth goal in the closing stages to seal the victory.
T Heffernan 2-2, J McGrath 0-5 (2f, 1 ’65), J Forde 1-1 (1-1f), C McInerney 0-3, P Ryan 1-0, K O’Brien 1-0, D Fitzgerald 0-1, T Morrissey 0-1, C Martin 0-1, K Hehir 0-1.
D Hannon 2-1, D O’Donovan 0-6 (4f), S Linnane 1-0, C Galvin 0-2, C Twomey 0-1, D Reidy 0-1, M O’Neill 0-1, T Stapleton 0-1, S Cahill 0-1.
P Maher (Tipperary); S Finn (Limerick), J Browne (Clare), S Roche (Galway); A McGuane (Clare), G Hegarty (Limerick), B Stapleton (Tipperary); K Hehir (Clare), T Heffernan (Tipperary);J Forde(Tipperary), T Morrissey (Limerick), C Martin (Kilkenny); J McGrath (Tipperary), K O’Brien (Limerick), D Fitzgerald (Clare)
B Heffernan (Tipperary) for Finn (28), C McInerney (Clare) for Hegarty (30), P Ryan (Limerick) for Fitzgerald (47), L O’Sullivan (Limerick) for Morrissey (57).
M O Conghaile (Galway); E Quirke (Clare), R English (Limerick), A Flynn (Tipperary); C Twomey (Cork), J Meagher (Tipperary), R Maher (Tipperary); T Stapleton (Tipperary), C Galvin (Clare); D Reidy (Limerick), D O’Donovan (Limerick), M O’Neill (Clare); D Corry (Clare), D Hannon (Limerick), S Cahill (Tipperary)
S Linnane (Galway) for Reidy (29), C Barry (Cork) for O’Neill (45), S Taylor (Clare) for Stapleton (50), M O’Loughlin (Clare) for Cahill (51).
Fergal Horgan (Tipperary)