Limerick go through to Munster final

Limerick 0-22 Tipperary 2-13

Limerick 0-22 Tipperary 2-13

Limerick have won an emotional and dramatic Munster hurling semi-final.

They beat Tipperary after extra time in the second replay.

The Shannonsiders now face Waterford in the Munster final.

Extra-time points from Ollie and Niall Moran finally put the nail in Tipperary's coffin and garnered a first Munster SHC win for Limerick since 2001.

It took over four hours of absorbing hurling to separate the sides and extra-time was again called for in today's second replay.

Limerick led early in front of 30,608 fans and it took three late points from Tipp's Pa Bourke, Eoin Kelly and Seamus Butler to ensure extra-time at 0-15 to 1-12.

A Willie Ryan goal sent Tipp back in front but Limerick roared into the Munster final with the Moran brothers providing the clinching points.

It was joy unconfined for Richie Bennis' Shannonsiders who have battled so bravely over the past three weeks, most notably in last weekend's first replay when they had to overhaul a ten-point half-time deficit.

So many of their players have enhanced their reputations countrywide during these engaging encounters with Tipp - the Morans, Mike O'Brien, Andrew O'Shaughnessy and Brian Geary to name but a few - while Tipp have also had their heroes, particularly Eoin Kelly and young goalkeeper Gerry Kennedy, and they will certainly provide a stern test for Offaly, Dublin and Cork in the All-Ireland qualifiers.

Limerick's prize for prevailing after this 250-minute duel is a crack at league champions Waterford in a mouth-watering Munster final on July 8.

After four draws and five defeats in the last six Munster championships, Limerick finally have a provincial win to cherish and it took five unanswered scores in extra-time to seal it.

Bennis' charges, willed on by the large home support, looked good in the opening half, leading in the early stages before Darragh Egan found the hosts' net on the stroke of half-time.

Egan's goal had Tipp 1-6 to 0-7 in front but two late scores from Niall Moran and O'Shaughnessy helped the Shannonsiders level the tie by the half-time whistle.

Limerick, who lost their captain Damien Reale to injury after only ten minutes, had stormed into a 0-7 to 0-1 lead with Geary (0-2), Kevin Tobin, Donal O'Grady, Ollie and Niall Moran and Mike Fitzgerald all on target.

That was certainly a purple patch for them and they had another one which begun midway through the second half as they went 0-15 to 1-9 in front.

Tired but still scrapping for possession as if their lives depended on it, Tipp somehow summoned the strength to hit back in the closing four minutes with a hat-trick of priceless points from Bourke, Kelly and Butler.

Before the end of normal time, Limerick wing forward Fitzgerald did have a chance to win it for his side but he planted his effort wide of the mark and Clare official Seanis McMahon blew for extra-time.

Ollie Moran did point to nudge Limerick ahead early on in extra-time but nine minutes in, Tipp followers were celebrating their second goal as substitute Willie Ryan struck first time past Brian Murray after Kelly had set him up.

Kelly tagged on a free for a 2-13 to 0-16 advantage for Tipp and it looked like Babs Keating's men would have the strength to see out the win.

A couple more frees from Kelly, who tallied up 0-9 by the finish, might have killed off the game but Tipp failed to score in the entire second period of extra-time.

The second period began with Limerick trailing by 2-13 to 0-17 after O'Shaughnessy had landed a late point in the first period.

Limerick seriously upped the tempo and Tipp were found wanting as Geary sent over a monster point, substitute Barry Foley almost squeezed home a goal - he was foiled by a brave point-blank save by Tipp stopper Kennedy - and then came those clinching scores.

O'Shaughnessy landed a free to level the sides for the fifth time today. He sent over a subsequent '65', rekindling memories of his heroics in Thurles last weekend, and then the Morans took centre stage with Ollie and Niall chipping in with two brilliant drives from distance to copperfasten a truly unforgettable win for the Treaty men.

LIMERICK: B Murray; D Reale (capt), S Lucey, S Hickey; M O'Riordan, B Geary (0-3, 0-1f, 1 '65'), M Foley; M O'Brien, D O'Grady (0-1); N Moran (0-5), O Moran (0-3), M Fitzgerald (0-2); A O'Shaughnessy (0-6, 0-3f, 1 '65'), B Begley, K Tobin (0-2).

Subs used: P Lawlor for Reale (10 mins), J O'Brien for Begley (48), P Tobin for K Tobin (70), B Foley for Fitzgerald (80), H Flavin for P Tobin (84).

TIPPERARY: G Kennedy; E Buckley, D Fanning, D Fitzgerald; E Corcoran, C O'Mahony, H Maloney; S McGrath (0-1), J Woodlock; J Carroll, D Egan (1-0), B Dunne (capt); S Butler (0-2), E Kelly (0-9, 0-7f), L Corbett.

Subs used: T Stapleton for McGrath (55 mins), P Bourke (0-1) for Carroll (64), W Ryan (1-0) for Dunne (68).

Referee: Seanie McMahon (Clare)

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