Limerick’s road to the Munster SHC final | RECAP

This set up a three-peat Munster final with Clare, in Thurles on June 9th, while Cork come through in second place.

All eyes will be on Thurles this Sunday, as Limerick and Clare lock horns in the 2024 edition of the Munster Senior Hurling Championship final.

The Shannonsiders are bidding to win their sixth consecutive Mick Mackey Cup, and have defeated the Banner in the showpiece game the last two years running.

Ahead of this weekend’s mammoth clash, take a look back at how John Kiely’s men made it to this year’s final!

11 June 2023; Limerick captain Declan Hannon lifts the cup after the Munster GAA Hurling Championship Final match between Clare and Limerick at TUS Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Clare 1-18 : 3-15 Limerick

April 21st 2024, in Cusack Park

Limerick began their Munster and All-Ireland defence with a 3-15 to 1-18 win over Clare at Cusack Park in Ennis.

Aidan McCarthy opened the scoring for Clare after just 16 seconds with an excellent score from play but Limerick were soon up at the other end with Aaron Gillane in on goal but he was denied by a smart Eibhear Quilligan save.

Gillane had advantage and sent the free over the bar and Limerick then went in front courtesy of the first three in the opening half from Gearoid Hegarty.

David Fitzgerald levelled the game for the second time but points from David Reidy and Gillane had Limerick 0-4 to 0-2 ahead after seven minutes. Nickie Quaid also denied Mark Rodgers a goal in that time as both sides created chances for three pointers.

Having gone behind, a fine Cathal O’Neill score brought Limerick back to one but Clare went four clear with three McCarthy frees. Quaid was in action again with a stop that denied McCarthy as Clare turned the screw.

Kyle Hayes made it a three-point game but Clare got the only goal of the half when a long delivery found O’Donnell. He pinpointed a pass to McCarthy and he fired to the net to put Clare six to the good.

21 April 2024; Donnacha Ó Dalaigh of Limerick celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal during the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 1 match between Clare and Limerick at Cusack Park in Ennis, Clare. Photo by John Sheridan/Sportsfile

Hegarty nailed his third in response to leave the score at 1-10 to 0-8 at the break in favour of the Banner. 

Fitzgerald got his second of the afternoon with the first score of the second half to put Clare six ahead once again. 

Limerick continued to struggle in front of goal with wides coming from O’Neill, Lynch and Byrnes with Gillane eventually getting them on the board in the second with his third free. Clare responded with Rodgers, McCarthy and half time sub Seadna Morey put them 1-15 to 0-9 clear.

However, Limerick fought back with Donnacha Ó Dálaigh, Gillane (2) and another from O’Neill to cut the gap to six heading into the final 10 minutes.

Gillane then flicked a Byrnes free to the net and then Reidy made it two with a smart move from a sideline cut.

Limerick hit the front through Ó Dalaigh’s goal after he linked up superbly with Hegarty to see Limerick 2-14 to 1-16 ahead in the 66th minute.

Gillane then hit the net for a second time when Hegarty was released once more. He ducked and dived past John Conlon. His shot hit the post and Gillane was on hand tap into the empty net that saw Limerick to victory.

Limerick 2-27 : 0-18 Tipperary

April 28th 2024, in TUS Gaelic Grounds

Limerick made it two wins from two in the Munster SHC following a 2-27 to 0-18 victory over Tipperary at the TUS Gaelic Grounds.

John Kiely’s men led by five at the break but goals from Aaron Gillane and Peter Casey turned the game fully in their favour. However, the win was dampened after Casey picked up a serious looking injury in the act of scoring his goal.

The game was a tight one in the opening 25 minutes with the teams level five times and squared up at six points apiece.

It was at that moment that Limerick finally hit a bit of form with four points in a row from Gillane seeing them to a bit of breathing space.

A long range Diarmaid Byrnes free stretched the lead to five and Casey made it six. A Jason Forde free then saw the game at 0-12 to 0-7 in Limerick’s favour at the short whistle.

Tipperary had reduced that lead to four by the eight minute mark in the second half but it was one way traffic from then on, starting with Gillane’s goal.

28 April 2024; Aaron Gillane of Limerick is tackled by Ronan Maher of Tipperary during the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 2 match between Limerick and Tipperary at TUS Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

Byrnes mishit a free that was seized upon by Gillane who then delivered a devastating shot to the net to put Limerick seven up.

Tom Morrissey then followed up immediately with a point as Tipperary struggled to deal with a now rampant Limerick side.

Casey and Gillane sent over further scores with Forde the only real response coming from the Premier. Cathal O’Neill and substitute Donnacha Ó Dálaigh landing points before Casey hit the second goal.

He picked up a Will O’Donoghue pass and ghosted beyond his marker and sent a powerful low shot past Barry Hogan in the Tipperary goal.

However, he picked up a very serious injury in the process and was immediately rushed to hospital as a result.

Limerick continued to pop over the scores with ease in the remaining part of the game with Adam English landing four off the bench that sealed a 15-point winning margin.

Cork 3-28 : 3-26 Limerick

May 11th 2024, in SuperValu Páirc Uí Chaoimh

A late, late Cork penalty from the stick of Patrick Horgan ended Limerick’s 12-month unbeaten run in the Championship, and threw further fuel fire on the wide-open Munster Senior Hurling Championship.

While Kyle Hayes received a black-card for his foul, Nickie Quaid was unable to deny the Glen Rovers man, and the hosts notched the final score to seal a much-celebrated win.

This, after Limerick had come from eight down at half-time to lead by as many as four, but John Kiely’s men couldn’t seal the deal in a sold out Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

An accurate and all-action Rebel start saw them lead 1-2 to 0-2 when Seamus Harnedy netted a fifth minute goal. There was points from Patrick Horgan (frees) while Aaron Gillane and Gearoid Hegarty tried to keep Limerick in touch in the early exchanges.

Cork won a lot of breaking ball and they were 1-8 to 0-3 ahead after just 13 minutes. The scoring showing no sign of relenting, despite the Treaty’s odd moment of quality.

Simply put, Cork looked the hungrier. Seamus Flanagan opened his account after a trademark Hayes surge. Moments later, Nickie Quaid saved from Brian Hayes, tipping the ball over for a point, when a goal looked likely.

11 May 2024; Séamus Flanagan of Limerick celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal during the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 3 match between Cork and Limerick at SuperValu Páirc Ui Chaoimh in Cork. Photo by Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Then, after a disputed David Reidy point there was four yellow cards. Paul Kinnerk and Pat Ryan on the sideline as well as Eoin Downey and Flangan on the field. This 17th minute exchange seemed to ramp the 41,670 in attendance up even further, as the sun continued to beam down on Leeside.

The Limerick goal, which they’d hoped would have been a catalyst, arrived after Aaron Gillane’s run opened the Cork defence. He cleverly handpassed across to Seamus Flanagan who touched on the hurley before firing low to the corner from 20 meters.

However, the Cork reply was to hit back a goal immediately, this through Shane Barrett as Seamus Harnedy won the dropping ball in found his half-forward colleague and he shot low beneath Nickie Quaid.

By half-time it was 2-15 to 1-10, with plenty to talk about, including an off the ball incident involving Kyle Hayes. Another blow in an untypical Limerick first-half display was the injury to Seán Finn, the Bruff man limped off with a hamstring complaint allowing Fergal O’Connor on for his Championship debut.

The champions came back with a huge second half effort. Cian Lynch, Cathal O’Neill and Gillane helping cut the lead. It took a Hegarty turnover for a second green flag for Limerick, again Flanagan finishing.

The same combination were working wonders again for Limerick’s third goal, a lead score, to make it 3-21 to 2-23 on 58 minutes.

Then as neither side looked like fully securing the result, the clock ticked into stoppage time. Sub Aidan O’Connor fired Limerick two clear but Hayes’ cynical dragdown saw the penalty awarded, something that looked a possibility all afternoon, given Limerick’s poor tackling in their own full-back line.

Limerick 0-30 : 2-14 Waterford

May 26th in TUS Gaelic Grounds

Limerick reached a sixth Munster final in a row after eventually shaking off Waterford to defeat their Munster rivals by ten points.

On a far from straightforward afternoon, Limerick made sure their hunt for more honors continues, despite a wasteful afternoon on home soil.

In the end, it was death by 1000 cuts for Waterford, as Limerick fired over the magic thirty-points, despite hitting 19-wides. Waterford clung on in the clash for a period, with two Shane Bennett goals keeping them in touch for long spells. 

In the end, there was points from subs Adam English, Conor Boylan and Shane O’Brien to push Waterford aside. John Kiely’s men led, wind-assisted, by 0-14 to 1-6 with Cathal O’Neill, Kyle Hayes and Gearoid Hegarty influential. 

26 May 2024; Barry Nash of Limerick in action against Neil Montgomery, centre, and Darragh Lyons of Waterford during the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 5 match between Limerick and Waterford at TUS Gaelic Grounds in Limerick Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

There was a couple of early Déise scores which would have encouraged them, but then arrived points from Hegarty, Aaron Gillane and Cathal O’Neill. Waterford’s second goal made it a one score game. 

After an initial save from Nickie Quaid Waterford scrambled the ball home, with Dessie Hutchinson’s pull finding Bennett for his second. But Davy Fitzgerald’s men were unable to sustain a scoring burst. 

Instead, Gillane, William O’Donnoghue and O’Brien fired over efforts. The latter of those the third from debutant O’Brien. He’d replaced the injured Flanagan after just 20 minutes.

In the end, Limerick won too much breaking ball, too many puck-outs and got away too many shots. 

This set up a three-peat Munster final with Clare, in Thurles on June 9th, while Cork come through in second place.

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