IN four previous replays between Limerick and Tipperary in the Munster SHC over a period of 30 years, victory went to the Shannonsiders on all but one occasion.
And that happened at the Gaelic Grounds in 2005 when Thomas Dunne celebrated his 32nd birthday with a major contribution.
As Limerick manager Richie Bennis has pointed out, their last (non replay) win over Tipp was in the 1973 Munster final in Thurles. It was also the year that they won their last All-Ireland title. From a Tipperary perspective, it was noteworthy that after beating Cork in the semi-final that year, they didn’t win another championship game for ten years.
Back in 1975, both Richie Bennis (1-6) and Babs Keating (2-3) played key roles in a semi-final game which produced a draw (Tipperary 3-13, Limerick 2-16) after late points from Liam O’Donoghue and Eamonn Grimes.
Limerick won the replay at the Gaelic Grounds 0-17 to 1-10, with Bennis contributing nine points, while Keating’s role was restricted. They were seven points clear nearing the finish before the Tipp captain Frank Murphy put the ball in the net.
They next drew in 1981, again in Thurles (Tipperary 3-13, Limerick 4-10). The game was memorable as Limerick were 13 points in arrears at half-time, but fought back with three goals from Joe McKenna. The replay, at the Gaelic Grounds saw Limerick triumph on a 3-17 to 2-12 scoreline, with the recalled Mike Grimes playing a starring role at midfield.
Their drawn game at the Gaelic Grounds in 1996 (Limerick 0-19, Tipperary 1-16) was another dramatic affair, with Tipp in front at the break by 1-11 to 0-4. Limerick had ten points without reply in a glorious 17-minute spell before Gary Kirby and Jimmy Carroll earned them a second chance.
Once more, it was Limerick who came out on top a replay played in Pairc Ui Chaoimh (4-7 to 0-16), largely as a result of a dominant defence. Tipperary wasted a succession of chances while Limerick’s flair for goals (two for Owen O’Neill, one each from TJ Ryan and Frankie Carroll) proved crucial.
Two years ago, they scored 2-14 each in Semple Stadium, with a second-half goal bringing Tipp back into contention after Limerick looked the more likely winners. In the end, however, it was a goal from John Devane which earned them a replay.
That was in the Gaelic Grounds and for a change it was Tipperary who were successful (2-13 to 0-18). A late Donie Ryan forced extra time and a goal from Evan Sweeney in the first period proved decisive.
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