Promoted from Division 4 last year, Limerick got off to a winning start in the Allianz NFL Division 3 South at a showery LIT Gaelic Grounds this evening. They began the second-half brilliantly, overturning a two-point deficit, and they held out for victory with attackers Hugh Bourke and Danny Neville sharing 1-9 between them.
To be fair to Tipperary, they were depleted with David Power only fielding seven of their victorious Munster final team.
They opened with two pointed frees from their captain and All-Star Conor Sweeney and when midfielder Steven O’Brien linked up with Sean O’Connor and Liam Boland, the advantage was three points. O’Connor pushed the lead to four when he won a mark and scored from the resultant close-in free.
It took Limerick 16 minutes to register, but when they did, it was an excellent effort from midfielder Darragh Treacy.
O’Connor won a second mark in the 20th minute, a tap over a point, to leave the score 0-5 to 0-1 immediately after the first water break. Limerick were able to respond, and they angled over the next three scores. Wing-back Tony McCarthy roamed upfield to lead the way and this was followed by a brace of well-taken points from corner-forward Bourke. The gap was now reduced to one.
And then, in the fourth minute of added time, Tipperary goalkeeper Michael O’Reilly slotted over a 45 to leave his team leading at half-time, 0-6 to 0-4.
The hosts brought on their joint-captain Iain Corbett and Brian Donovan for the second-half, and both made an instant impact. Limerick restarted with a flourish, they kicked 1-4 without reply in a devastating seven minute spell. Neville shot 1-2, his goal out of the top drawer gave O’Reilly no chance. Bourke added one from play and one from a free.
Limerick in the ascendancy 1-8 to 0-6.
That five point margin remained until the second water break, 1-10 to 0-8.
Tipperary staged a fightback. The next three points courtesy of Conal Kennedy, O’Connor and O’Brien made it a two-point game on 56 minutes. The Premier brought in a trio of substitutions. However, Limerick kept their noses in front with points from Bourke and Neville and 10 minutes remaining.
It was a battle from there to the final whistle. Tipperary brought it back two points but that was as good as it got for them.