Sublime Limerick power past Galway and into the All-Ireland final

Aaron Gillane was the goalscoring star for the Treaty with a green flag in either half for the Hurler of the Year front-runner.

After a below par first half, Limerick thundered into the 2023 All-Ireland senior hurling final with a dominant win over Galway.

The Shannonsiders were full value for a 2-24 to 1-18 victory against the Tribesmen as they return to a fourth successive final, seeking to make it as many titles in as many years.

Aaron Gillane was the goalscoring star for the Treaty with a green flag in either half for the Hurler of the Year front-runner.

8 July 2023; Aaron Gillane of Limerick celebrates after scoring his side’s second goal during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-final match between Limerick and Galway at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by John Sheridan/Sportsfile

The lead was just one at the break with Limerick finishing strong to reel in the Tribesmen who were in control for large portions of the opening period.

The positional switches weren’t long to be shown in Croke Park as Will O’Donoghue moved to centre back, Cian Lynch filled in at midfield, David Reidy went to #11 and Gearoid Hegarty slotted in at wing forward.

However, it was Aaron Gillane and Tom Morrissey that combined for the games first major inside five minutes, the Patrickswell man expertly fetching behind Gearoid McInerney before slotting to the net.

But Galway’s response was a trio of Evan Niland frees with Conor Whelan then giving them a 0-6 to 1-1 lead after win minutes.

Points from Gillane and Peter Casey levelled proceedings three minutes later. Immediately that was wiped out as Cathal Mannion found the net from an acute angle with a spectacular shot, 1-6 to 1-3 to the Tribesmen.

Gearoid Hegarty and Brian Concannon traded points as Niland’s fifth free gave Galway a two score cushion.

Tom Morrissey and Kyle Hayes chipped in with points for Limerick but they were being beaten in most areas by Galway who made it 1-12 to 1-6 with ten minutes of the half to be played.

8 July 2023; Conor Whelan of Galway is tackled by Dan Morrissey of Limerick during the GAA Hurling All-Ireland Senior Championship semi-final match between Limerick and Galway at Croke Park in Dublin. Photo by Brendan Moran/Sportsfile

However, Limerick dominated the remainder of the first half, hitting six of the final seven scores to draw within one at the break.

Diarmaid Byrnes bagged a brace of frees while Gillane, Lynch, Seamus Flanagan and Darragh O’Donovan also fired over.

Brian Colcannon had Galway’s sole response to leave it 1-13 to 1-12 in the Tribesmen’s favour at half time.

Seamus Flanagan levelled immediately at the restart with Whelan and Byrnes then exchanging scores. Gillane then had Limerick in front for the first time in 35 minutes with his third free. Morrissey made it a two point game briefly but Kevin Cooney halved the deficit with a super score over the shoulder.

The next score was a crucial one and it was Gillane again finding the net to make it 2-16 to 1-15. Cian Lynch set David Reidy through who then feed Gillane whose first time effort hit the crossbar, but a kind drop gave the Patrickswell man a second bite at the cherry as he roofed the sliotar into the net.

Niand hit his eighth but Hayes replied after a rampaging run down the wing. Hegarty, Casey and Reidy pushed that lead out to seven heading into the final ten.

From here Limerick were able to roll out the substitutes with equal effect as Cathal O’Neill and Graeme Mulcahy both scored on their introductions.

In the end, Galway couldn’t find any sort of response as it ended 2-24 to 1-18, with Limerick back in the All-Ireland final.

Scorers for Limerick: Aaron Gillane (2-6, 5f), Diarmaid Byrnes (0-3f), Kyle Hayes, Peter Casey, Seamus Flanagan, Tom Morrissey and Gearoid Hegarty (0-2), David Reidy, Graeme Mulcahy, Cathal O’Neill, Cian Lynch and Darragh O’Donovan (0-1)

Scorers for Galway: Evan Niland (0-9frees), Cathal Mannion (1-1), Brian Concannon and Conor Whelan (0-3), Tom Monaghan and Kevin Cooney (0-1

LIMERICK: Nickie Quaid; Mike Casey, Dan Morrissey, Barry Nash; Diarmaid Byrnes, William O’Donoghue, Kyle Hayes; Cian Lynch, Darragh O’Donovan; Tom Morrissey, David Reidy, Gearoid Hegarty; Aaron Gillane, Seamus Flanagan, Peter Casey.

Subs: Cathal O’Neill for Tom Morrissey (55), Graeme Mulcahy for Peter Casey (67), Conor Boylan for Hegarty (68), Adam English for O’Donovan (71), Oisin O’Reilly for Flanagan (71)

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