Limerick back into the All-Ireland Final after win over Waterford

Limerick will contest their third All-Ireland Final in four years following a 1-25 to 0-17 victory over Waterford in the semi-final at Croke Park.

John Kiely’s men were too strong for Waterford throughout with Aaron Gillane’s second half goal proving crucial as Limerick marched into the decider.

Limerick made a blistering start with two points in the opening two minutes with Cian Lynch and Seamus Flanagan before Waterford opened their account through Kieran Bennett.

Aaron Gillane bagged Limerick’s third on four minutes before a sublime Austin Gleeson sideline brought one between the sides again.

Gillane the target again on 13 minutes from a placed ball before Stephen Bennett saw Waterford cut the margin to one at the water break. Waterford hitting six wides to Limerick’s three.

7 August 2021; Jack Fagan of Waterford in action against Kyle Hayes of Limerick during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-final match between Limerick and Waterford at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Gleeson’s second point levelled the game at 0-4 apiece but after that Limerick took firm control by hitting six points on the trot.

Gillane went for goal but had to settle for a point after a slick team move. Efforts from Flanagan and Hegarty to see Limerick 0-7 to 0-4 after 22 minutes.

Flanagan hit the target again a couple of minutes later with a Gillane free following soon after. A beautifully worked score, finished off by Diarmuid Byrnes then saw Limerick 0-10 to 0-4 clear with 28 minutes on the clock.

Dessie Hutchinson arrested the slide for Waterford but Peter Casey, Lynch and Tom Morrissey responded with excellent points that saw Limerick seven points to the good.

Stephen Bennett and Austin Gleeson frees kept Waterford in touch but efforts from Will O’Donoghue and Lynch saw Limerick 0-15 to 0-7 ahead at half time.

Tom Morrissey opened the second half scoring with a well taken point before Flanagan was at it again with a sumptuous effort from play. 

Waterford kept in touch throughout the second half with Stephen Bennett frees mainly but Limerick were too good all over the park. They held a 0-20 to 0-14 advantage heading into the second water break then came the devastating blow.

Casey intercepted a sideline cut with a superb catch before offloading to Hegarty. The St Patrick’s man carried the ball forward before offloading to Gillane and he supplied the hammer finish into the roof of the net.

That was the death nail for Waterford and it was Limerick that advanced to the decider for a second time running on an 11-point winning margin – the same as the margin in the 2020 final. The only black mark on Limerick’s performance was the red card handed out to Peter Casey in the second half and it remains to be seen if the Na Piarsaigh man will make the final as a result.

7 August 2021; Cian Lynch of Limerick scores a point after 53 seconds during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-final match between Limerick and Waterford at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile

Scorers – Limerick: Aaron Gillane 1-5 (4f), Tom Morrissey 0-5, Seamus Flanagan 0-4, Diarmaid Byrnes 0-3 (2f) and Cian Lynch 0-3 each, Peter Casey 0-2, Will O’Donoghue and Darragh O’Donovan (1f) 0-1 each.

Limerick: Nickie Quaid; Sean Finn, Dan Morrissey, Barry Nash; Diarmaid Byrnes, Declan Hannon, Kyle Hayes; Will O’Donoghue, Darragh O’Donovan; Gearoid Hegarty, Cian Lynch, Tom Morrissey; Aaron Gillane, Seamus Flanagan, Peter Casey; 

Subs: David Reidy for Hegarty (65), Graham Mulcahy for Flanagan (66), Richie English for Byrnes (68), Conor Boylan for Lynch (70), Colin Coughlan for Nash (73).

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