Liam Sheedy marked his return as Tipperary manager with a three-point victory over All-Ireland champions Limerick in tonight's Munster SHL opener.
Played in front of a crowd of 3,224 at a bitterly cold Gaelic Grounds, goals at crucial stages proved decisive in the outcome as the visitors ran out 4-14 to 2-17 winners.
It took Seamus Callanan just 60 seconds to raise the game's first green flag after referee Rory McGann awarded Tipp a penalty which the Drom-Inch man neatly dispatched to Nickie Quaid's net.
Limerick responded well to the early set back to reel off four unanswered points from Barry O'Connell, David Reidy and Colin Ryan and the scores were tied at 0-7 to 1-4 on the 18 minute mark.
But the Liam MacCarthy Cup holders, who were afforded a 'guard of honour' by their opponents before throw-in, went the next 10 minutes without adding to their tally, racking up 11 first-half wides in the process.
Tipperary manager Liam Sheedy. ©INPHO/Oisin Keniry.
Although Tipp could only muster a point during that barren spell, they struck for two more goals courtesy of full-forward Callanan and Mark Kehoe on 32 and 34 minutes respectively to lead by 3-6 to 0-11 at the break.
The Premier men pushed seven points clear on the resumption when substitute Patrick 'Bonner' Maher netted their fourth major before Dromin-Athlacca star Reidy hit a badly needed goal for Limerick on 40 minutes, 4-9 to 1-12.
Limerick brought the margin down to four points (4-10 to 1-15) approaching the final quarter but Tipp kept the scoreboard ticking over and the hosts' late goal from Gillane was only a consolation.
Tipp won't be in action again until the New Year when they face Kerry at MacDonagh Park, Nenagh on January, 5 while Limerick are away to the same opposition at Austin Stack Park, Tralee next Thursday.
Tipperary - B Hogan; S O’Brien, J Barry, D Maher; B Heffernan, S Kenndy, T Fox; M Breen, W Connors; C English (0-1), R Maher (0-2), D McCormack (0-1); J Forde (0-2), S Callinan (2-8, 1-0pen, 0-7f), M Kehoe (1-0). Subs: Patrick Maher (1-0) for M Kehoe, Joe O’Dwyer for S O'Brien, J Morris for M Breen, J Cahill for W Connors, M McCarthy for J Forde.
Limerick - N Quaid; W O’Meara, S Finn, D Morrissey; P O’Loughlin, D Hannon, A La Touche Cosgrave (0-1); C Lynch, C Ryan (0-3); G Hegarty, B O’Connell (0-2), D Reidy (1-3); A Gillane (1-8, 0-6f), G Mulcahy, P Ryan. Subs: S Flanagan for G Mulcahy, C Boylan for B O’Connell, D Byrnes for D Hannon, O O’Reilly for P Ryan.
Referee - R McGann.