Limerick surprise Tipp

Tipperary 1-09 Limerick 1-11

Tipperary 1-09 Limerick 1-11

Limerick are just 70 minutes away from a place in the Munster SFC final after turning in a gritty performance against recently-crowned NFL Division 3 champions Tipperary this afternoon.

There has been much made of a new dawn in Tipperary football this season, with the minors and Under-21s also impressing, and 4,673 spectators turned up at Semple Stadium to see how John Evans' men would fare against an under-fire Limerick side.

On the line was a place in the June 7 semi-final against Clare and Limerick, managed by Kerryman Mickey Ned O'Sullivan, made much the better start.

Helped by the inclusion of dual players Mark O'Riordan and Stephen Lucey, the Shannonsiders grabbed a goal inside two minutes and were 1-06 to 0-00 to the good by the half-hour mark.

Elusive attacker Ian Ryan, who scored a brilliant 3-07 against Meath in last year's Championship, capitalised on Tipp's dithering defence to find the net despite the best efforts of Paul Fitzgerald.

Jim O'Donovan and John Galvin were able to boss the midfield sector for much of the opening half, giving the Limerick attack a consistent supply of ball.

Tipp, who were gunning for their first Championship win since 2003, were struggling at the other end.

James Tierney hit an early wide and the fit-again Philip Austin miscued when a goal looked on.

Limerick were seven points clear when Ryan kicked a 35-metre free and Ger Collins landed a hat-trick of points - two from play.

Although Barry Grogan finally opened Tipp's account with a free, just before half-time, pointed efforts from Ryan, Pa Ranahan and newcomer Cormac Joyce-Power saw Limerick canter into a 10-point lead (1-08 to 0-01) and the game was almost over as a contest.

But Tipp gained a crucial goal in first half injury-time, igniting their challenge.

A ball over the top caught the Limerick rearguard out and Grogan passed for Brian Coen to knock home a well-worked goal.

Evans' charges, roared on by the home faithful, launched themselves into the second half and it was suddenly Limerick who were off the boil.

Successive points from Coen, Grogan, Coen again and then centre-back Hugh Coghlan made a real game of it at 1-08 to 1-05.

The gap was down to just two points when home substitute Aidan Fitzgerald raised a white flag.

In a tense and action-packed final quarter, the sides swapped the next four points as Lucey and Joyce-Power had efforts cancelled out by Tipp free-taker Grogan.

The game looked to be going the way of the Premier County when Brian Mulvihill pointed to put just one between them at 1-10 to 1-09 but substitute Kieran O'Callaghan rescued the win for Limerick with a coolly-struck '45' in the closing minutes.

There were more drama in injury-time when Tipp won a close range free, but Grogan's goal-bound shot was blocked away and O'Sullivan's side held on to make the next round.

Speaking afterwards, Limerick captain Seanie Buckley said: "It's a great result for us, a much-needed one. A lot hinged on this game, we dug deep and we just got there in the end.

"I thought we played really well in the first half and then were poor for 20 minutes of the second half, allowing Tipperary back into the game.

"But we got through and that's all that matters. There's a Munster final place up for grabs now and we're determined to take it.

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