First summer sweat as Limerick dig out victory

For the first time this summer, Limerick’s U21 hurlers were made to sweat.

First summer sweat as Limerick dig out victory

Go back to the Munster final and while Cork asked questions of Limerick, that examination never extended to the scoreboard. Two points was as close as Cork came of their opponents that evening. With 13 minutes remaining on Saturday, Galway were two clear – having fought back from five down.

Five minutes into the second-half of this All-Ireland semi-final, Galway ‘keeper Darragh Gilligan got his stick to a Barry Nash shot.

But just as had been the case with Limerick’s opening goal, the sliotar skirted away from the Galway custodian and Barry Murphy finished the rebound. Limerick’s second goal propelled them 2-11 to 0-14 clear and most in the 6,524 crowd expected the Munster champions to pull clear from here. Subsequent points from Cian Lynch and Murphy strengthened that view.

When these counties had clashed in the All-Ireland minor semi-final three years ago, the westerners had been humbled on a scoreline of 1-27 to 2-9. Seven of that side figured here and they weren’t going to allow themselves be again trampled upon.

On 37 minutes, Jack Coyne whipped the sliotar to the Limerick net after Conor Whelan, twice, and Evan Niland had been denied. Whelan and a superb Jack Grealish point on the run levelled proceedings for the fifth time.

Points from Aaron Gillane and Cian Lynch sandwiched a Tom Monaghan effort. Then came a cracking Conor Whelan goal to move the underdogs 2-17 to 2-15 clear with 46 minutes gone on the watch.

Pat Donnelly’s charges hadn’t found themselves in this position all summer. There wasn’t a hint of panic, though. Instead of Galway stretching out their lead, Limerick subs Andrew La Touche Cosgrave, Conor Boylan and centre-back Kyle Hayes reeled off three points to seamlessly wipe out their opponents’ advantage.

Twice did Galway restore parity, but come the closing stages, this was a one-horse race. Aaron Gillane (0-3, two frees) and Robbie Hanley clipped four-in-a-row and had they not hit four successive wides during the six minutes of stoppages, their winning margin could have had a healthier look about it. Most telling was that the winners outscored Galway by 0-8 to 0-2 following Whelan’s goal on 46 minutes.

“When we got the second goal, I thought we were going to tack on another few points and pull away. But look, Galway got the goal and it put pressure on us again,” said Donnelly. “Lads popped up in different positions to get scores at the crucial time.

We were always there or thereabouts and we knew we had the firepower. The subs coming on made a huge difference. Andy La Touche [Cosgrave] went in there midfield, made a huge contribution, had a score straight away and his general play was fantastic. Conor Boylan was huge, he added something different to the whole thing and I think that was a crucial part of the game.”

The sides were deadlocked at half-time, 1-9 to 0-12. Galway started the brighter, with Brian Concannon and Tom Monaghan both hitting points. The Tribesmen, though, were by no means making the most of their early possession dominance, with four wides by the fifth minute. Peter Casey sniped a pair of points to bring Limerick back on level terms and it was he who delivered the opening goal, scrambling the sliotar across the line after Gilligan had stopped Tom Morrissey’s low drive.

Galway spent the remainder of the tie playing catch-up and when they did sneak their noses in front, they were unable to command the inside lane for very long. Said Tony Ward: “Not pointing the finger at the referee, but three decisions went against us in the second-half. Limerick got scores out of them. It was old style refereeing, but Jack Coyne and Ronan Elwood were both pushed. They were even frees in the old days.”

Scorers for Limerick: A Gillane (0-8, 0-4 frees, 0-2 ‘65’s); P Casey, B Murphy (1-2 each); B Nash (0-4); T Grimes (0-2); K Hayes, C Lynch, A La Touche Cosgrave, C Boylan, R Hanley (0-1 each).

Scorers for Galway: C Whelan (1-3, 0-1 free); B Concannon, T Monaghan (0-4 each); J Coyne (1-1); D Nevin (0-2, 0-1 free); S Linnane, E Niland (0-1 free), S Loftus, J Grealish, K McHugo (0-1 each).

LIMERICK: E McNamara (Doon); S Finn (Bruff), D Fanning (Pallasgreen), D Joy (Kilmallock); R Lynch (Na Piarsaigh), K Hayes (Kildimo/Pallaskenry), T Grimes (Na Piarsaigh); C Ryan (Pallasgreen), R Hanley (Kilmallock); A Gillane (Patrickswell), B Nash (South Liberties), C Lynch (Patrickswell); P Casey (Na Piarsaigh), T Morrissey (Ahane), B Murphy (Doon).

Subs: A La Touche Cosgrave (Monaleen) for Ryan, C Boylan (Na Piarsaigh) for Morrissey (both 44); J O’Grady (Knockainey) for Finn (52); S Flanagan (Feohanagh) for Murphy (59); M Mackey (Adare) for Nash (64).

GALWAY: D Gilligan (Cruaghwell); D Cronin (Cappataggle), C Cosgrove (Ardrahan), I Fox (Sarsfields); J Grealish (Gort), J Mooney (Loughrea), S Loftus (Turloughmore); K McHugho (Tommy Larkin’s), D Nevin (Cappataggle); B Concannon (Killimordaly), S Linnane (Turloughmore), T Monaghan (Craughwell); C Whelan (Kinvara), C Burke (Athenry), J Coyne (Castlegar).

Subs: C O’Connor (Leitrim-Kilnadeema) for Fox (20 mins); E Niland (Clarenbridge) for Burke (36); F Burke (St Thomas’) for Mooney (52); G Loughnane (Loughrea) for Coyne (56); R Elwood (Liam Mellows) for McHugo (57).

Referee: J Keenan (Wicklow).

First summer sweat asLimerick dig out victoryLimerick 2-23 Galway 2-19 Eoghan Cormican Semple StadiumFor the first time this summer, Limerick’s U21 hurlers were made to sweat.Go back to the Munster final and while Cork asked questions of Limerick, that examination never extended to the scoreboard. Two points was as close as Cork came of their opponents that evening. With 13 minutes remaining on Saturday, Galway were two clear – having fought back from five down.Five minutes into the second-half of this All-Ireland semi-final, Galway ‘keeper Darragh Gilligan got his stick to a Barry Nash shot.But just as had been the case with Limerick’s opening goal, the sliotar skirted away from the Galway custodian and Barry Murphy finished the rebound. Limerick’s second goal propelled them 2-11 to 0-14 clear and most in the 6,524 crowd expected the Munster champions to pull clear from here. Subsequent points from Cian Lynch and Murphy strengthened that view.When these counties had clashed in the All-Ireland minor semi-final three years ago, the westerners had been humbled on a scoreline of 1-27 to 2-9. Seven of that side figured here and they weren’t going to allow themselves be again trampled upon.On 37 minutes, Jack Coyne whipped the sliotar to the Limerick net after Conor Whelan, twice, and Evan Niland had been denied. Whelan and a superb Jack Grealish point on the run levelled proceedings for the fifth time.Points from Aaron Gillane and Cian Lynch sandwiched a Tom Monaghan effort. Then came a cracking Conor Whelan goal to move the underdogs 2-17 to 2-15 clear with 46 minutes gone on the watch.Pat Donnelly’s charges hadn’t found themselves in this position all summer. There wasn’t a hint of panic, though. Instead of Galway stretching out their lead, Limerick subs Andrew La Touche Cosgrave, Conor Boylan and centre-back Kyle Hayes reeled off three points to seamlessly wipe out their opponents’ advantage.Twice did Galway restore parity, but come the closing stages, this was a one-horse race. Aaron Gillane (0-3, two frees) and Robbie Hanley clipped four-in-a-row and had they not hit four successive wides during the six minutes of stoppages, their winning margin could have had a healthier look about it. Most telling was that the winners outscored Galway by 0-8 to 0-2 following Whelan’s goal on 46 minutes.“When we got the second goal, I thought we were going to tack on another few points and pull away. But look, Galway got the goal and it put pressure on us again,” said Donnelly. “Lads popped up in different positions to get scores at the crucial time. We were always there or thereabouts and we knew we had the firepower. The subs coming on made a huge difference. Andy La Touche [Cosgrave] went in there midfield, made a huge contribution, had a score straight away and his general play was fantastic. Conor Boylan was huge, he added something different to the whole thing and I think that was a crucial part of the game.”The sides were deadlocked at half-time, 1-9 to 0-12. Galway started the brighter, with Brian Concannon and Tom Monaghan both hitting points. The Tribesmen, though, were by no means making the most of their early possession dominance, with four wides by the fifth minute. Peter Casey sniped a pair of points to bring Limerick back on level terms and it was he who delivered the opening goal, scrambling the sliotar across the line after Gilligan had stopped Tom Morrissey’s low drive.Galway spent the remainder of the tie playing catch-up and when they did sneak their noses in front, they were unable to command the inside lane for very long. Said Tony Ward: “Not pointing the finger at the referee, but three decisions went against us in the second-half. Limerick got scores out of them. It was old style refereeing, but Jack Coyne and Ronan Elwood were both pushed. They were even frees in the old days.”Scorers for Limerick: A Gillane (0-8, 0-4 frees, 0-2 ‘65’s); P Casey, B Murphy (1-2 each); B Nash (0-4); T Grimes (0-2); K Hayes, C Lynch, A La Touche Cosgrave, C Boylan, R Hanley (0-1 each).Scorers for Galway: C Whelan (1-3, 0-1 free); B Concannon, T Monaghan (0-4 each); J Coyne (1-1); D Nevin (0-2, 0-1 free); S Linnane, E Niland (0-1 free), S Loftus, J Grealish, K McHugo (0-1 each).LIMERICK: E McNamara (Doon); S Finn (Bruff), D Fanning (Pallasgreen), D Joy (Kilmallock); R Lynch (Na Piarsaigh), K Hayes (Kildimo/Pallaskenry), T Grimes (Na Piarsaigh); C Ryan (Pallasgreen), R Hanley (Kilmallock); A Gillane (Patrickswell), B Nash (South Liberties), C Lynch (Patrickswell); P Casey (Na Piarsaigh), T Morrissey (Ahane), B Murphy (Doon).Subs: A La Touche Cosgrave (Monaleen) for Ryan, C Boylan (Na Piarsaigh) for Morrissey (both 44); J O’Grady (Knockainey) for Finn (52); S Flanagan (Feohanagh) for Murphy (59); M Mackey (Adare) for Nash (64).GALWAY: D Gilligan (Cruaghwell); D Cronin (Cappataggle), C Cosgrove (Ardrahan), I Fox (Sarsfields); J Grealish (Gort), J Mooney (Loughrea), S Loftus (Turloughmore); K McHugho (Tommy Larkin’s), D Nevin (Cappataggle); B Concannon (Killimordaly), S Linnane (Turloughmore), T Monaghan (Craughwell); C Whelan (Kinvara), C Burke (Athenry), J Coyne (Castlegar).Subs: C O’Connor (Leitrim-Kilnadeema) for Fox (20 mins); E Niland (Clarenbridge) for Burke (36); F Burke (St Thomas’) for Mooney (52); G Loughnane (Loughrea) for Coyne (56); R Elwood (Liam Mellows) for McHugo (57).Referee: J Keenan (Wicklow).

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