Superb Neville leads Limerick to McGrath Cup success over Cork

A sensational display from Danny Neville helped Limerick to their first McGrath Cup in 15 years with a shock win over Cork.

Superb Neville leads Limerick to McGrath Cup success over Cork


A sensational display from Danny Neville helped Limerick to their first McGrath Cup in 15 years with a shock win over Cork.

A big home crowd saw Neville kick seven points, including two attacking marks, while also mucking in as part of a superb defensive performance from Limerick during a sin-bin period which saw them down to 14 men.

Limerick were on the board after 15 seconds through Seamus O'Carroll but Cork had the better of those early stages with some quick kicks into their forwards. Damien Gore slotted good points off left and right, while another U20 All-Ireland-winner, Cathail O'Mahony, made it 0-3 to 0-2 after five minutes.

There were a couple of half-chances for goal, Anthony Casey pushing away Neville's pass across goal, while Brian Fanning (twice) and Michael Donovan made timely blocks for Limerick.

Once Limerick were able to slow Cork's supply of ball, those chances began to dwindle while Neville showed what he can bring to Limerick having taken a year out last year. Himself and Patrick Begley posed a dual-threat on the edge of the square, both forwards could've had goal chances under the dropping ball but for unlucky breaks, while Neville broke wide and outpaced his marker for three points. His third, flicked up and swung over on his weaker left foot, was best of the lot.

Limerick had nine scorers in the first half, with Donovan even dragging his marker Gore deep into his own territory as he kicked a point.

He was one of three defenders to score, alongside Iain Corbett and Robert Childs, while both midfielders registered points too. Indeed, they only had two wides in the half, the first after 32 minutes, and neither from an attempted shot. It took 57 minutes before their first wide from a kick at goal.

Limerick's lead peaked at five before Cork kicked two of the final three scores, through Tadhg Corkery and an O'Mahony free, to make it 0-12 to 0-8 at the half.

Corner-back Paul Maher was sin-binned for that free before the break and with the pacy Neville converted into Limerick's extra defender, Cork failed to make use of their man advantage in the first 10 minutes of the second half; Sheehan and Gore's points cancelled out by a scorching Corbett point and a Lee free.

That free was won by Neville and he took two attacking marks in the space of a minute to stretch the gap to six, 0-16 to 0-10.

The loud cheers from the Limerick public were somewhat silenced over the subsequent ten minutes as Cork ran the changes and profited with four points, including three from subs Brian Hurley (0-2) and Killian O'Hanlon.

A superb Casey save kept Cork within reach, stopping Gerard Stack's palmed effort, but play was called back for Lee to end Limerick's scoring drought.

Casey was called on again to parry O'Carroll's stinging drive minutes later as Limerick reasserted themselves. O'Carroll pointed soon after to return the lead to three.

Another Cork sub, Sean White, lofted one over for Cork but even with their captain Corbett sin-binned for injury time, Neville clinched it with two fine closing points, one off either foot, to the delight of the home crowd.

Scorers for Limerick: Danny Neville (0-7, 2 marks); Jamie Lee (frees), Seamus O’Carroll (0-3 each); Iain Corbett (0-2); Michael Donovan, Robert Childs, Tommy Griffin, Adrian Enright, Cillian Fahy (0-1 each).

Scorers for Cork: Cathail O'Mahony (2 frees), Damien Gore (0-3 each); Brian Hurley (1 free), Ciaran Sheehan, Thomas Clancy (0-2 each); Cian Kiely, Tadhg Corkery, Sean White, Killian O'Hanlon (0-1 each).

LIMERICK: Donal O’Sullivan (Monaleen); Paul Maher (Adare), Brian Fanning (Pallasgreen), Michael Donovan (Galbally); Tony McCarthy (Kildimo/Pallaskenry), Iain Corbett (Newcastle West - capt), Robert Childs (Galtee Gaels); Tommy Griffin (Gerald Griffins), Adrian Enright (Fr Caseys); Pádraig de Brún (Firies, Kerry), Cillian Fahy (Dromcollogher/Broadford), Seamus O’Carroll (Castleknock, Dublin); Jamie Lee (Newcastle West), Danny Neville (Ballysteen), Patrick Begley (Mungret/St Pauls).

Subs: Gerard Stack (Gerald Griffins) for Begley (50), Tommie Childs (Galtee Gaels) for Griffin (53), James Naughton (St Senans) for De Brún (56), Padraig Scanlon (Glin) for Lee (66), Davy Lyons (Adare) for Enright (68).

Sin bin: Paul Maher (35+2 - 45), Iain Corbett (69 - ft).

CORK: Anthony Casey (Kiskeam); Sam Ryan (St Finbarrs), Aidan Browne (Newmarket), Paul Ring (Aghabullogue); Kevin Crowley (Millstreet), Sean Meehan (Kiskeam), Cian Kiely (Ballincollig); Ian Maguire (St Finbarrs - capt), Thomas Clancy (Clonakilty); Tadhg Corkery (Cill na Martra), Ciaran Sheehan (Éire Óg), Mattie Taylor (Mallow); Damien Gore (Kilmacabea), Cathail O’Mahony (Mitchelstown), Michael Hurley (Castlehaven).

Subs: Sean White (Clonakilty) for Hurley (ht), Brian Hurley (Castlehaven) for Sheehan (49), Killian O’Hanlon (Kilshannig) for Clancy (51), Shane Forde (Na Piarsaigh) for Corkery (55), John O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers) for Gore (55).

Referee: Brendan Griffin (Kerry).

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