Limerick opened their Co-Op Superstores Munster Hurling League campaign with an eight point victory over Tipperary at the LIT Gaelic Grounds.
Played before an attendance of 1,628, Limerick eventually saw off their Munster rivals thanks to a strong final quarter to the game. The result means that Tipperary exit the competition with two defeats, while Limerick travel to Sixmilebridge, to face Clare, on January 5th knowing a victory will book a final spot.
Limerick were able to call upon the experience of Tom Condon, Richie English and Darragh O’Donovan in their starting lineup. English and Dan Morrissey were the only two players to start who also started in the All-Ireland semi-final defeat last July.
Kildimo-Pallaskenry sharpshooter Darren O’Connell made his senior debut, while those in attendance rare appearances for Aaron Costello, Ronan Connolly and Robbie Hanley. David Reidy, who was a regular sub in 2019, was on free-taking duty.
O’Connell contributed two points early on but it was Adrian Breen who caught the eye with an outstanding display. His 14thminute goal was well taken, after O’Donovan found him with a wonderful 50 meter pass. This opened up a 1-3 to 0-2 point margin.
Reidy, with a brace of frees, and Flanagan stretched the lead. Breen landed a wonderful effort from the touchline on 24 minutes, with Reidy adding a free. These proved the final points of the half for the Treaty.
Tipperary finished the half strongly, hitting the last four points Michael Breen and Jason Forde (three frees), cut the deficit to four. The Premier County will curse 11 first half wides, compared to just five from John Kiely’s men. The half time score read 1-10 to 0-9.
Tipperary levelled when John McGrath found himself in enough space to round Barry Hennessy and find the net. But Limerick came roaring back into the game, with four unanswered points. Eventually, as Limerick’s shooting looked like it may cost them, they found the scores to pull clear.
There was efforts from Paddy O’Loughlin, and two more from Flanagan and a fine team score from Tom Morrissey. A 64th minute goal from David Dempsey, after wonderful work from Flanagan put Limerick six clear.
Debutant Bryan Ryan found a point in the dying embers, he was also joined on the pitch by new faces Brian O’Grady (Kilteely/Dromkeen) and Mark Quinlan (Garryspillane).
It was a positive evening for the men in green as Kiely was able to do without the core of his regulars in favour of experimentation. You can watch all the action back on the link below.
Limerick: David Reidy 0-6 (0-6 frees), Adrian Breen 1-5; David Dempsey 1-0; Seamus Flanagan 0-3; Darren O’Connell, Tom Morrissey 0-2 each; Darragh O’Donovan, Paddy O’Loughlin, Dan Morrissey, Bryan Ryan 0-1 each.
Tipperary: Jason Forde 0-8 (0-6 frees, 0-1 sideline); John McGrath 1-2; Paul Flynn 0-2; Jerome Cahill, Cian Darcy, Mark Kehoe, Michael Breen, Willie Connors 0-1 each.
Limerick: Barry Hennessy; Tom Condon, Richie English, Aaron Costello; Dan Morrissey, Barry Nash, Paddy O’Loughlin, Ronan Connolly, Robbie Hanley; Darragh O’Donovan, David Reidy, Conor Boylan; Adrian Breen, Seamus Flanagan, Darren O’Connell
Subs used: Tom Morrissey for Connolly (half-time), David Dempsey for C. Boylan (half-time), Bryan Ryan for O’Connell (47), Brian O’Grady for Condon (56), Mark Quinlan for O’Loughlin
Tipperary: Paul Maher; Joe O’Dwyer, Brian McGrath, Craig Morgan; Alan Flynn, Barry Heffernan, Robert Byrne, Michael Breen, Paddy Cadell; Mark Kehoe, John McGrath, Willie Connors; Jerome Cahill, Jason Forde, Paul Flynn
Subs used: Killian O’Dwyer for J. O’Dwyer (injured, 13), Cian Darcy for Cahill (52), Jason Ryan for Byrne (57), Paul Maher for Craig Morgan (58)
Referee: Thomas Walsh (Waterford)