The Shannonsiders were full value for a six-point win to set up a clash against Waterford next week, with the winners to play Cork in the Munster semi-final. It was Cork who defeated Tipp last week at Páirc Uí Rinn and a second defeat in a week for Mick O’Sullivan’s Premier County ends their 2016 campaign prematurely.
O’Sullivan was also sent to the stands in the second-half following a verbal altercation with an official on a forgettable evening for Tipp. But credit Limerick with an impressive display as the Treaty boys bounced back from their one-point defeat to Clare in Miltown-Malbay last week. And maybe this win shouldn’t have come as too much of a surprise when you consider Limerick had 12 wides in the second-half of the Clare game.
They can create chances and while they missed a few last night, particularly inviting goal opportunities, they took enough to advance. Wind-assisted from the start, Limerick took on the challenge with gusto and were 1-4 to 0-0 clear within 11 minutes. Captain Diarmaid Kelly, who scored 1-1 in each half, waltzed through the Tipp defence for a fifth-minute goal and by half-time, Limerick were 1-7 to 0-5 clear.
This was a night when Tipp finished with just two points from play, one in each half, and Limerick added their second goal in the 34th minute when Kelly netted a penalty Jack Dolan got a hand to but couldn’t keep out.
Tipp’s best goal opportunity saw Dolan’s opposite number Aaron Murphy deny John Lyons but Limerick wasted some great chances before Eoin O’Mahony, scorer of 1-4, rammed home a clinching goal in the final minute.
It allowed Limerick boss Jerry O’Sullivan breathe a little easier as Tipp had got to within two points, 0-11 to 2-7, with six minutes left.
But Tipperary could never conjure enough attacking consistency to really compete, as a campaign dogged by talk of dual players that were unavailable petered out.
Tipp boss Mick O’Sullivan admitted: “I think the better team won to be honest, the more clinical team that took their chances in front of goals.
“I’d say if you looked back at the stats, we probably both created the same amount of opportunities, it was just on the night they took theirs and we probably didn’t take ours.
“They came out of the traps, they had the aid of a strong breeze. Fair play to Limerick they’re a good team, we were putting out fires all over the field but our lads showed great character to come back.”
Delighted Limerick boss O’Sullivan smiled: “It’s tough enough to come come up to Thurles any day of the week but to come up here and win is brilliant, great for the lads.
“It wasn’t so much the wides against Clare that bothered me, more the way we distributed the ball,” he added.
“I think I was more upset over that. I don’t mind kicking a wide if you’re in a scoring position, and it’s on but what killed me that day was that we brought it to the final third and we just didn’t execute it properly.”
J Lyons 0-6f, M Barlow 0-2f, C English, B Hyland (45) & A English 0-1.
D Kelly 2-2 (1-0 pen, 0-1f), E O’Mahony 1-4 (2f, 1 45), S Hurley & A Barrett 0-1 each.
J Dolan; J Harney, D Brennan, J Flannery; C English, P Feehan, S Nolan; C Cashman, B Hyland; R Lambe, C Boland, D Egan; J Lyons, M Barlow, A English.
E Ryan for Feehan (b/c 18), S Ryan for Boland (25), J Delahunty for Cashman (h.t.), A Vance for Lambe (54), Boland for A English (57).
A Murphy; G Brennan, F Murphy, D Enright; S Hurley, A Kearns, O Collins; J Ryan, D Kelly; E O’Mahony, C McSweeney, A Storan; A Barrett, N Callinan, J Ryan.
D Ranahan for Callinan (37), J Kelly for Barrett (49), L Cardy for J Ryan (52), S Ryan for Storan (60), J Kelly for Hurley (60+2).
E Walsh (Kerry).