Munster SHC: Tipp trounce Treaty

June 21, 2015

Limerick's Seanie O'Brien and Shane McGrath of Tipperary during the Munster SHC semi-final at the Gaelic Grounds.
©INPHO/Cathal Noonan.

Tipperary advanced to the Munster senior hurling final with a thumping 4-23 to 1-16 victory over Limerick in the Gaelic Grounds.

This was manager Eamon O'Shea's first provincial championship victory at the Premier County helm and, on the evidence of their display today, they will fancy their chances of getting another one when they meet Waterford in the decider next month.

A brace of Seamus Callanan goals gave the winners a 2-12 to 0-12 half-time advantage and they would have the elements behind them when the action resumed. All but one point of Tipp's first-half tally came from open play.

Both sides started as selected. Tipp won the toss and opted to play into the strong wind in the first half - a strategic decision which would pay rich dividends.

Declan Hannon opened the scoring with a point for the hosts in the third minute and the centre forward followed up with his second in the seventh minute. Full forward Shane Dowling had set up that point and he was on hand to slot his side's third score on eight minutes. A tidy start from the home team.

But all Limerick's good early work was undone in the ninth minute when Callanan collected a John O'Dwyer pass to turn and drill a low shot to the net: 1-0 to 0-3 and level scores! Callanan then pointed a '65' after Barry Hennessy had saved Jason Forde's shot from an acute angle and O'Dwyer rocketed over a shot from the right sideline to give the Premier County a 1-2 to 0-3 lead after twelve minutes.

Patrick 'Bonnar' Maher and Shane McGrath made it 1-4 without reply for Eamon O'Shea's charges. A Dowling free brought an end to the visitors' scoring streak; at the other end, the umpires eventually concurred that Maher had found the target for his second point. McGrath's second followed instantly and the away side led by five. Niall O'Meara slotted over another Tipp score in the 21st minute - 1-7 to 0-4. But David Breen replied immediately.

On 22 minutes, Callanan arrowed his second goal low to the net after a rare error of judgement from Richie McCarthy, who mistimed his attempted intervention and ran past the ball to leave the Tipp attacker in a one-on-one with his goalkeeper, who was powerless to prevent the sliothar from flying between his legs.

Gavin O'Mahony and Dowling (free) hit back before Callanan drove his latest goal chance a foot to the left of the posts and wide. Still, his two majors separated the teams with ten minutes left in the first half… Forde became the fifth Tipp forward to register

O'Dwyer recorded his second point in the 27th minute and the Treaty responded through Graeme Mulcahy. Tipp goalie Darren Gleeson saved a goalbound close-range free from Dowling, who easily stroked over the resultant '65' to bring it back to a two-goal game after half an hour, 2-9 to 0-9.

Seanie O'Brien raided forward from wing back to claim the tenth Limerick point but Tipp hit back with sublime points from Callanan, 'Bonnar' Maher and O'Dwyer, bringing their personal tallies to 2-2, 0-3 and 0-3 respectively.

Hannon and Donal O'Grady floated over the last two scores of the first half as Tipp turned around with a healthy six-point lead and wind advantage to come.

An amazing passage of play in the fourth minute of the second half saw Gleeson execute an unbelievable triple save from Hannon, Cian Lynch and Dowling before the Treaty won a penalty which Gleeson smashed to the 'keeper's right to halve the deficit, 2-12 to 1-12.

Dowling's brace from a '65' and a long-range free brought the rallying hosts back within a point within twelve minutes of the restart; Mulcahy thought he had equalised but the umpires felt that his effort had drifted inches wide. Contentious.

Forde finally mustered Tipp's first point of the second half 14 minutes in to double the difference and Callanan followed up with a quickfire brace to extend the Premier lead to four. O'Dwyer belted over the next Tipp point after Callanan was forced out of the action with a facial wound. In the 55th minute, Forde exploited some hot-potato defending to register his first-ever championship major: 3-16 to 1-14. The Limerick revival had been repelled.

Dowling's free was cancelled out by points from James Woodlock and O'Dwyer ('65') as the gap went out to nine points with an hour played.  Mulcahy and O'Dwyer - with his sixth - swapped points and the returned Callanan got back in on the scoring act six minutes from the time as Tipp eased ten points clear.

Sub Shane Bourke, Forde and O'Dwyer all added points before substitute Michael Breen slotted the fourth goal deep into added time to complete a dream day for the impressive Premier County, who outscored their opponents by 2-11 to 0-2 from the 49th minute onwards.

Tipperary - D Gleeson; P Stapleton, J Barry, C O'Brien; K Bergin, Padraic Maher, R Maher; J Woodlock (0-1), S McGrath (0-2); J Forde (1-3), B Maher, Patrick Maher (0-3); J O'Dwyer (0-7, 1f), S Callanan (2-5, 0-3f, 0-1'65), N O'Meara (0-1). Subs: M Cahill for P Stapleton, B Maher for S McGrath, S Bourke (0-1) for N O'Meara, M Breen (1-0) for S Callanan.

Limerick - B Hennessy; S Walsh; R McCarthy, S Hickey; S O'Brien (0-1), G O'Mahony (0-1), T Condon; J Ryan, P O'Brien; D O'Grady (0-1), D Hannon (0-3), D Breen (0-1); G Mulcahy (0-2), S Dowling (1-7, 1-0pen, 0-4f, 0-2'65), C Lynch. Subs: P Browne for D Breen, K Downes for D O'Grady, J Fitzgibbon for P O'Brien, W McNamara for R McCarthy, D Reidy for J Ryan.

Referee - B Gavin.

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