Limerick 0-14 Waterford 0-9
Limerick had a hard-earned victory over Waterford in tonight’s Munster derby at the Gaelic Grounds.
Maurice Horan’s men advance to meet Wexford at a neutral venue in next weekend’s fourth round qualifiers.
They had more scoring power than the visitors, whose experienced full-forward Gary Hurney received a straight red card in the 59th minute for an off-the-ball incident involving Tommy Lee.
Shannon rugby star Stephen Kelly top-scored for the Shannonsiders with 0-7, including four points from play and three frees.
Limerick went in front in the third minute when Kelly put over a free, but Waterford’s placed-ball expert Paul Whyte replied and then added a second from play.
Scores from Ger Collins and Kelly had the hosts back in front, only for another Whyte free to level the sides again in the 13th minute.
Déise goalkeeper Kieran Cotter made a superb save at the expense of a point from Seamus O'Carroll, who had raced clean through.
That white flag at least sparked some life into the home side who rattled off points from O’Carroll, Collins, Kelly and O'Carroll again to make it 0-8 to 0-3 after 26 minutes.
Limerick had a let-off in the 18th minute when referee Cormac Reilly reversed a penalty decision.
Whyte slipped in the area and although Reilly’s initial indication was for a penalty, a brief consolation with an umpire led to a throw ball and Limerick duly worked possession downfield.
Having wasted countless chances, Waterford were still only two points in arrears (0-9 to 0-7) at the interval thanks mainly to the efforts of Whyte from frees and from play.
John Owens’ charges enjoyed a good spell in front of the posts approaching half-time, with Patrick Hurney, Brian Wall and Whyte all on target.
Patrick Hurney should have put Waterford in front two minutes into the second half but his shot was too high and cleared the crossbar.
Still, his effort left only a point between them and when Whyte had a point on the turn from out on the right, he tied the game once more.
Both sides had chances of a goal with efforts being blocked on the line by overworked defenders as the pace stepped up considerably.
John Mullane swept past three defenders and a goal seemed certain but again the final effort struck a defender and was cleared.
A Kelly point from a free had Limerick back in front after 49 minutes. Four minutes later came one of the highlights of this lively contest.
Net minder Cotter pulled off another tremendous save when he dived to his left to deny Collins a goal at the expense of a '45'. Kelly tapped it short to Collins who returned the compliment to enable Kelly tag on another point to again leave two between them.
Right on the hour mark, the game took a controversial turn. As a Limerick player received medical treatment, a bout of jostling developed and just as play was about to resume, Gary Hurney was seen to knock Lee to the ground.
Reilly spoke with an umpire and raced back to give Hurney his marching orders. After that, Limerick were never going to be beaten.
Scorers: Limerick: S Kelly 0-7 (0-3f), J Mullane, S O’Carroll, G Collins (0-1f) 0-2 each, J Cooke 0-1
Waterford: P Whyte 0-4 (0-2f), P Hurney 0-2, B Wall, S Fleming, G Hurney 0-1 each
LIMERICK: B Scanlon; T Stack, S Gallagher, S Lavin; J Riordan, J McCarthy, P Ranahan; S Buckley, T Lee; S Kelly, J Mullane, M Sheehan; G Collins, S O'Carroll, I Ryan.
Subs used: B Fitzpatrick for Stack (24 mins), J Cooke for Sheehan (45), E O'Connor for Mullane (55), E Hogan for O'Carroll (65). P Kinnerk for Lee (69).
WATERFORD: K Cotter; M O'Gorman, T O'Gorman, K Connery; T Grey, C Phelan, W Hennessy; B Wall, M Ahearne; P Whyte, S Dempsey, C O'Keeffe; S Fleming, G Hurney, P Hurney.
Subs used: B Phelan for Dempsey (30 mins), C McGrath for Wall (half-time).
Referee: Cormac Reilly (Meath)