Munster SHC final: Rebels reclaim crown at Limerick's expense

July 13, 2014

Cork's Alan Cadogan and Tom Condon of Limerick
Cork are Munster hurling champions for the first time in eight years after a brilliant 2-24 to 0-24 victory over Limerick at Pairc Ui Chaoimh.

In the last intercounty match to be played at the old stadium before it is demolished for redevelopment, the Rebels took the long-overdue silverware thanks to second-half goals from Seamus Harnedy and substitute Paudie O'Sullivan.

In this repeat of the 2013 decider (which Limerick, of course, won), the sides shared 24 points during the course of a pulsating opening period. They would also share 24 points in the second half, but those goals from Harnedy and O'Sullivan would prove decisive...

An engrossed attendance of 36,075 was kept guessing as eight different Limerick players registered during the first half, while Cork had five scorers: 0-12 apiece at the break.

The holders roared into a 0-5 to 0-2 lead after 13 minutes, with Shane Dowling (free), James Ryan and Graeme Mulcahy notching the first three points of the match before dual star Aidan Walsh opened the Rebels' account in the ninth minute.

Conor Lehane and Declan Hannon swapped points and Kevin Downes supplied the Treaty County's fifth point of the day.

Lehane fired his second before a Donal O'Grady brace and another Dowling free left the visitors ahead by double scores after 21 minutes, 0-8 to 0-4.

The Leesiders caught fire and registered a run of seven successive points to assume a 0-11 to 0-8 advantage after 35 minutes.

Goalkeeper Anthony Nash began the fightback with a long-range free and Patrick Horgan also converted a free before brilliant defending by Shane O'Neill denied Dowling a certain-looking Limerick goal.

Horgan (two frees), Alan Cadogan (2) and Lehane and supplied the next five Cork scores but Limerick replied via Paudie O'Brien. In a blistering end to the first half, Lehane made it a three-point match before Mulcahy, Paul Browne and Dowling (free) all pointed in injury time to ensure parity at the break.

The first ten points of the second half were also shared: 0-17 apiece after 48 minutes.

Half-time substitute Paudie O'Sullivan struck first and two Dowling frees edged the defending champions back in front. Harnedy replied and Dowling had a sight of goal as he smacked a scorching shot over the bar. David Breen could also have gone for goal but his 45th-minute point made it 0-16 to 0-14.

Points from Cadogan and Lehane tied the scores up and they were level again following an exchange between Dowling and Bill Cooper. And when Dowling and Horgan (free) exchanged points either side of the midway stage in the second half, the sides were level for the seventh time, 0-17 each.

The decisive moment arrived in the 54th minute: All Star Seamus Harnedy powered past four Limerick defenders to plant a shot past Nickie Quaid to the back of the net. Wayne McNamara and Horgan pointed at either end as the Rebel County led by 1-19 to 0-19 with 15 minutes to play.

Midfielder Browne was brilliantly dispossessed by Mark Ellis as he tried to steam through for a Limerick goal and Cork moved the ball straight up to the other end for Cooper to bag his second point. For the second time in the space of a couple of minutes, TJ Ryan's team eschewed a point in their desire to get a goal but ended up with nothing.

Dowling's beautifully-struck free and sharply-taken point from play on the turn brought his tally to ten points and reduced the arrears to just two with little over eight minutes remaining. Horgan steadied Jimmy Barry-Murphy's men with a straightforward free but Mulcahy responded with his third point - 1-21 to 0-22 after 63 minutes.

Harnedy hit the next Cork point and the Rebels moved six points clear when O'Sullivan executed a fantastic catch and finish to the net in the 65th minute following great work out the field from Daniel Kearney, who picked Seamus Hickey's pocket in the middle of the pitch and delivered a lovely pass.

Walsh pointed for the Rebels after the holders had bounced back with a brace of Dowling frees and Horgan won and converted a free following another fabulous Kearney pass. Fittingly, there was a mass pitch invasion as the final whistle.

Cork advance to the All-Ireland semi-finals on August 16th, while Limerick are still alive and have a quarter-final to look forward to against either Waterford or Wexford in a fortnight.

Cork - A Nash (0-1f); S O'Neill, D Cahalane, S McDonnell; C Joyce, M Ellis, L McLoughlin; D Kearney, A Walsh (0-2); C Lehane (0-5), B Cooper (0-2), S Harnedy (1-2); A Cadogan (0-3), P Cronin, P Horgan (0-8, 6f). Subs: P O'Sullivan (1-1) for P Cronin, W Egan for D Cahalane, S Moylan for A Cadogan.

Limerick - N Quaid; T Condon, R McCarthy, S Hickey; P O'Brien (0-1), W McNamara (0-1), G O'Mahony; J Ryan (0-1), P Browne (0-1); D Hannon (0-1), D O'Grady (0-2), S Dowling (0-12, 8f); G Mulcahy (0-3), K Downes (0-1), D Breen (0-1). Subs: S Walsh for P O'Brien, S Tobin for D Hannon, C King for G O'Mahony, T Ryan for K Downes.

Referee - B Gavin.

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