Limerick fail to impress

Limerick 1-8 Tipperary 1-5

Limerick 1-8 Tipperary 1-5

Limerick failed to impress in Fermoy this afternoon despite winning through to a Munster SFC semi-final against Cork.

The Shannonsiders struggled to hit form in a poor quality game that did little to dispel the notion that the Munster football championship remains a two-horse race between Cork and current kingpins Kerry.

Tipperary, who were without the injured Chris Aylward, Brian Mulvihill and Brian Coen, led by 1-4 to 1-0 at half-time but their over dependence on Barry Grogan cost them as they scored just once in the second half.

Aherlow ace Grogan was Tipp's scorer-in-chief, pointing well and slotting home a 29th-minute goal. His heroics had the visitors leading by 1-4 to 1-0 at half-time.

Seanie Buckley had scrambled home Limerick's goal just before the break and his side gradually pulled clear, mainly thanks to championship debutant Ian Ryan's run of scores.

Tipp had six championship debutants on show - including 19-year-old pair Sean Carey and Ciaran McDonald - and in the end, Limerick's greater experience had a hand in seeing them through to a June 15 encounter with Cork.

In sunny conditions, the game remained scoreless despite some early dominance at centre-field from Tipp's Kevin Mulryan and Eamon Hanrahan.

The Premier County could not transfer that onto the scoreboard as they hit four early wides, while Limerick were not faring much better with three shots wide of the posts.

Limerick also lost midfielder John Galvin to a blood injury and while they were unsettled, Tipp foraged into a 1-3 to 0-0 lead.

Grogan did all the damage, with the biggest blow coming just short of the half-hour mark when a long ball in exposed the Shannonsiders' defence and Grogan blasted home leaving Sean Kiely with no chance.

But Mickey Ned O'Sullivan's men got back into contention just six minutes later when Buckley scrambled home as the Tipp defence dithered.

Limerick seemed to grow in confidence and this was particularly evident at the start of the second half when newcomer Ian Ryan landed two frees from difficult angles.

Substitute Michael Crowley added another in the 42nd-minute to put just a point between the sides at 1-4 to 1-3.

As Limerick soon levelled and then nipped ahead, the quality of the football on show improved with Ryan clipping over another angled point and Stephen Kelly and Stephen Lavin both contributing scores.

Further points from Buckley and Ryan gave Limerick a four-point buffer and Tipp's woes were compounded when their corner back and captain Aidan Foley got his marching orders for his second bookable offence - striking Limerick substitute John Cooke.

LIMERICK: S Kiely; D Carroll, J McCarthy, S Walsh; P Brown, S Lavin, P Ranahan; J Galvin, T Cahill; S Kelly, J Ryan, S Buckley; K O'Callaghan (capt), D Phelan, I Ryan.

TIPPERARY: P Fitzgerald; A Foley (capt), M Peters, C McDonald; P Codd, R Costigan, N Curran; K Mulryan, E Hanrahan; P Johnson, B Jones, D O'Brien; S Carey, S Grogan, B Grogan.

Referee: Rory Hickey (Clare).

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