GAA

Limerick secure stunning victory over Kilkenny to book semi final spot

Two late scores from Tom Morrissey and Aaron Gillane secured a precious 0-27 to 1-22 for Limerick over Kilkenny in the All Ireland Quarter Final in Thurles today. It was Limerick’s first win over the Cats since their last All Ireland success in 1973.

It marked an absolute breathtaking game of hurling with Limerick’s response to the concession of a late Richie Hogan goal being a deciding factor. Limerick rallied and score the next three points to retake the lead which they would not relinquish.

Richie hogan landed the first score of the game in the 4th minute as both teams had an edgy start. Flanagan levelled a minute later with a fine score from 40 metres on the right hand side.

James Maher put the cats back in front as the rainy conditions reminiscent of their 2014 encounter caused havoc with underfoot conditions and made the first touch crucial.

Two TJ Reid frees extended the lead to four as Brian Cody’s side settled the better. Limerick needed a spark and when Aaron Gillane grabbed possession without his hurley on edge of the square, his booted attempt was touched over the bar by Murphy.

Two more points from Richie Hogan keep the momentum up for the Cats while a Kyle Hayes point kept Limerick in touch. Colin Fennelly pointed from play to make it Kilkenny 0-7 Limerick 0-3 on 18 minutes.

Mulcahy and Byrnes responded for Limerick with much needed points but James Maher then struck to restore the 3 point cushion.

Aaron Gillane reduced the arrears from a free and when Declan Hannon followed that up with a long range score it was back to a one point game. Gillane levelled proceedings in the 24th minute as Limerick finally looked to have settled into their rhythm.

TJ Reid edged Kilkenny back into the lead but that was again cancelled out by Kyle Hayes as the game had finally blossomed into a rip roaring contest. A superb cross field ball from Flanagan to Hegarty saw the St Patricks man point from a tight angle and give Limerick the lead for the first time in the 29th minute.

James Maher levelled but Gearoid Hegarty then forced another fantastic save from Eoin Murphy who deflected his goal bound effort over the bar to make it Limerick 0-11 Kilkenny 0-10.

Graeme Mulcahy then showed a clean pair of heels to Paddy Deegan and was pulled down. Advantage was played, Mulcahy pointed and Deegan was given a yellow card for his troubles.

Tom Morrissey and Darragh O’Donvan added points to extend the gap to 4 before Conor Fogarty made it a one score game. Darragh O’Donovan and Colin Fennelly exchanged scores as Limerick took a 0-15 to 0-12 lead into the break.

TJ Reid got the first score of the second half from a free as Kilkenny looked to atone for a lack lustre ending to the opening period. Gearoid Hegarty responded quickest to a breaking ball and with space limited, fired Limerick’s opening point of the second half over the bar.

Cian Lynch followed quickly with another after a cross field pass from Mulcahy to make it Limerick 0-17 Kilkenny 0-13. Aaron Gillane should have found the back of the net with a glorious goal chance but another save from Murphy meant it was just a point but it gave Limerick a five point lead.

Liam Blanchfield on for Pat Lyng then pulled one back for the Cats and reduce the arrears to 4 points and when TJ Reid landed a 65 it was down to just 3 with 5o minutes on the clock.

Tom Morrissey took a lay off from Flanagan to extend Limerick’s lead back to four but points from Leahy (2) and TJ Reid made it a one point game. Graeme Mulcahy steadied the ship with a point when a goal looked on to make it Limerick 0-20 Kilkenny 0-18.

It was nail biting fare and when the sliotar got caught under Seamus Flanagan’s feet, a sixth goal chance went a begging for Limerick. Meanwhile, TJ Reid made it a one point game with a free from the 21.

Peter Casey marked his introduction with a point from play and a Darragh O’Donovan sideline cut from all of 50 metres made it a three point game with 9 minutes remaining.

Leahy replied for the Cats and when hawkeye adjudged a John Donnelly point as Tá it was a one point game once more. Kilkenny then stuck for the game’s first goal when Richie Hogan raised the green flag after the Limerick defence was opened up.

But Limerick responded with points Tom Morrissey, Peter Casey and Shane Dowling edging Limerick back into a tenuous one point lead. It was breathtaking end to end hurling and when Leahy pointed for Kilkenny it was level again with two minutes remaining.

Tom Morrisey found the space, the legs and the bravery to point from all in front of the Ryan stand as Limerick took a one point lead with two minutes of injury time remaining and when Peter Casey won a free on the 21 it would give Aaron Gillane a chance to make it a 2 point game.

Gillane converted and Limerick edged closer to an All Ireland semi final spot. Eoin Murphy would launch one more attack but it was in vain as Limerick repelled Kilkenny’s last ditch goal efforts.

Limerick now face into a first All Ireland semi final since 2014 where they will face the Munster champions Cork on July 29. It will be the sides second meeting this year after they played out an epic draw in Pairc Ui Chaoimh earlier this year.

 

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