O’Neill stars in Limerick minors win over Tipperary

Limerick’s minor hurlers opened their 2018 Munster Hurling Championship season with a 1-17 to 2-12 win over Tipperary at the Gaelic Grounds.

Crecora-Manister’s Cathal O’Neill starred for Limerick with a superb performance that saw him finished the game with a haul of 11 points, seven of which came from play.

Limerick recovered from a nervous start with O’Neill leading the way to earn a two point win in a game where Tipperary hit 14 wides.

It was the Premier County that made the better start to the game with points from James Devanney and Ryan Renehan.

O’Neill single handedly kept Limerick in the contest in the opening quarter with their first four points and the game was all square at that stage.

Tipperary had a great chance to extend their lead further through a Ryan Renehen penalty but Bryan Heavey made a stunning save. Despite that stop, Tipperary went in at the break with a one point advantage – 0-8 to 0-7.

Limerick were a more confident side at the beginning of the second half with two O’Neill efforts and an excellent score from an acute angle by Colin Coughlan seeing them into a one point advantage after 44 minutes.

However, Tipperary soon regained the advantage with two quick fire goals from Sean Hayes. They now had a 2-9 to 0-10 lead.

Limerick responded almost immediately with a superb goal from Cormac Ryan. He broke onto a loose ball and fired low into the corner.

That only spurred on Antoin Power’s side further with O’Neill leading the charge. He and Coughlan fired late points to see Limerick to an opening point win.

Scorers: Limerick: Cathal O’Neill 0-11 (0-3f, 0-1’65), Cormac Ryan 1-1, Bob Purcell, Colin Coughlin 0-2 each, Bryan Nix 0-1.

Scorers: Tipperary: Sean Hayes 2-1, Ryan Renehan 0-3 (0-1pen, 0-1 s/l) James Devanney, Kian O’Kelly 0-2 each, Johnny Ryan, John Campion, Max Hackett, Mikey O’Shea 0-1.

Limerick: Bryan Heavey; Padraig Harnett, Ben Herlihy, Michael Keane; Eoin O’Mahony, Emmet McEvoy, Jack Nicholas; Dean Kennedy, Barry O’Connor, Cathal O’Neill, Cormac Ryan, Diarmuid Hegarty; Colin Coughlan, Bob Purcell, Bryan Nix.

Subs: Seamus Hurley for Kennedy (h-t), Patrick Kirby for Hegarty (43), Cian Casey for O’Connor (55), David Riordan for Hurley (63), Michael Martin for Coughlan (65).

Tipperary: Aaron Browne; Conor O’Dwyer, Conor Whelan, Kevin Hayes; Johnny Ryan, Fintan Purcell Frank Hanafin; Max Hackett, John Campion; Sean Hayes, Devon Ryan, Kian O’Kelly; Jack Lanigan, Ryan Renehan, James Devanney.

Subs: Mikey O’Shea for Lanigan (39), Kevin Maher for Renehan (48), Cian O’Farrell for Ryan (55), Eoin Purcell for O’Kelly (55).

Referee: Nathan Wall (Cork)