The 2018 hurling season began with goose-flesh, and bobble hats in chilly Mallow, a seasoned Limerick side enjoying a good win over an experimental Cork fifteen in the Co-op Superstores Munster senior hurling league, writes Michael Moynihan.
Both sides struggled with heavy underfoot conditions and the 1,364 in attendance saw a light Cork forward line struggle to make the ball stick up front.
Limerick had a neat goal from Aaron Gillane on ten minutes to give them a cushion they deserved early on - they led 1-10 to 0-6 on 22 minutes and held the upper hand to the break, when the margin was 1-13 to 0-12.
Limerick maintained that four-point advantage through the early part of the second half, though approaching the three-quarter stage Cork made it a two-point game with a neat Jack O’Connor point.
Limerick responded through Barry Nash and Seamus Flanagan and restored their lead, but Jack O’Connor struck for a fine Cork goal on 58 minutes to equalise - 1-18 apiece.
Gillane restored Limerick’s lead with two points soon after and a Seamus Flanagan goal with five minutes left made the game safe for the visitors.
Scorers for Cork: J. O’Connor (1-2), R. O’Shea (0-1 free) (0-5); E. Finn (0-4 each); D. Brosnan (0-3); C. Joyce (0-2); D. Kearney, R. O’Flynn, B. Lawton, B. Murray, P. Collins (free) (0-1 each).
Scorers for Limerick: A. Gillane (1-9, 0-5 frees); S. Flanagan (1-3); T. Morrisey (0-4); B. Nash, D. Byrnes (0-2 each); P. Browne, P. Ryan, C. Lynch (0-1 each).
CORK: P. Collins, S. O’Donoghue, D. Griffin, E. Murphy, C. O’Leary, D. Browne, S. Murphy, B. Lawton (c), D. Kearney, R. O’Flynn, D. Brosnan, R. O’Shea, E. Finn, J. O’Connor.
SUBS: B. Murray for O’Flynn (inj., 27); R. Cahalane for Kearney (inj, 33); W. Kearney for E. Murphy (HT); C. Joyce for O’Donoghue (blood 42-50); C. Joyce for S. Murphy (60).
LIMERICK: N. Quaid, S. Finn, S. Hickey, R. English, D. Byrnes, D. Hannon (c), D. Morrissey, P. Browne, P. Ryan, D. O’Donovan, C. Lynch, T. Morrissey, A. Gillane, S. Flanagan, B. Nash.
SUBS: T. Condon for Hickey (HT); C. Ryan for P. Ryan (46); D. Reidy for O’Donovan (50); B. Murphy for Nash (58); O. Kiely for T. Morrissey (66).
Referee: P. Kelly (Tipperary).