Waterford 1-5 Limerick 1-13: Midfield combination Diarmaid Kelly and Josh Ryan powered Limerick into the Munster semi finals at a breezy Leamybrien last night as they reeled in early pace setters Waterford.
The hosts enjoyed a 1-3 to 0-0 lead with seven minutes elapsed of this play-off clash but could only add two more points for the remainder of the contest. Limerick drew level in the third quarter and when captain Kelly crashed to the roof of the net on 40 minutes, Jerry O’Sullivan’s side completely took over.
The towering Ryan kicked three second-half points to see them advance to a last four date with Cork on May 11 at Páirc Uí Rinn.
The newly furbished Kilrossanty venue hosted its first inter-county fixture for seven years with 261 spectators in attendance.
Waterford faced the breeze initially but rustled the net in the second minute. Ciarán Kirwan prised open the Limerick defence before offloading to corner-back Jake Mulcahy on the support run. He passed across to Paddy Prendergast who slid the ball home.
Dylan Guiry added a point followed by two Sean Martin frees. Limerick adapted and Diarmaid Kelly raised their first white flag after nine minutes. Kelly and Eoin O’Mahony both landed frees for the visitors. The Treaty men started to pressurise the kickouts and towering number eight Josh Ryan drove them on. Anthony Barrett curled over off his right and another Kelly free left one between them.
Waterford enjoyed a period of dominance before the break but finished the half with six wides. They held a slender 1-3 to 0-5 advantage.
Kelly equalised two minutes into the second period. Ryan launched a boomer from 40 metres to send them in front. Billy Power replied with Waterford’s first single in all of 33 minutes (0-7 to 1-4).
O’Mahony and Barrett teed up Kelly’s decisive green flag on 44 minutes. Ryan and Barrett sealed it with points shortly after.
Aaron Beresford saved twice from Colm McSweeney and Noel Callinan as Limerick piled forward in the closing minutes. Déise centre forward Sean Martin got his marching orders in the sixth minute of injury time.
Scorers for Waterford:
P Prendergast 1-0; S Martin 0-3 (3fs); D Guiry, B Power 0-1 each.
Scorers for Limerick:
D Kelly 1-4 (2fs); Josh Ryan 0-3; A Barrett 0-2; E O’Mahony (f), N Callinan, James Ryan, D Ranahan 0-1 each.
A Beresford; A O’Sullivan, J Skehan, J Mulcahy; C Ó Cuirrin, M Daly, TJ Veale; J Beresford, C Curran; B Power, S Martin, T Barron; C Kirwan, D Guiry, P Prendergast.
S O’Meara for Barron (31); T Barron for O Cuirrin (38); T Looby for J Beresford (55); D Fitzgerald for Veale (58).
A Murray; G Brennan, F Murphy, D Enright; O Collins, A Kearns, S Hurley; Josh Ryan, D Kelly; A Storan, E O’Mahony, C McSweeney; C O’Grady, A Barrett, James Ryan.
N Callinan for Storan (27); D Ranahan for O’Mahony (53); J Kiely for O’Grady (58); S Ryan for James Ryan (64); P Sheehy for Barrett (64).
S Joy (Kerry).
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