Cork retained the Munster intermediate hurling crown with a 0-20 to 0-18 victory over Limerick tonight at Pairc Ui Rinn.
Kilworth's Noel McNamara lofted over eight points for the winners, seven of them from frees, with 1,774 looking on in admiration. After playing with the advantage of the wind, the hosts led by 0-11 to 0-8 at half time.
The Rebels had points from Tony Murphy and McNamara inside the opening six minutes. Willie Leahy provided the third Cork point and the Treaty County belatedly got off the mark with a Willie Griffin free in the ninth minute before McNamara and Murphy made it 0-5 to 0-1. Tom Morrissey and the on-form Murphy traded scores as the hosts led by 0-6 to 0-2 after twelve.
Griffin knocked over another Limerick free at the midway stage in the first half and Morrissey's second had the gap back to two a minute later. The winners then came with a run of points from Carrigaline clubman Murphy, Donncha O'Donovan and Shane McCathy - a McNamara free in response to one from Griffin meant it was double scores again after 22 minutes (0-10 to 0-5).
Points from Griffin (free) and Morrissey (2) had the visitors back within two by the 29th minute and a Cork man by the rather splendid name of Michael Collins from Ballinhassig closed the first-half scoring. It was all to play for in the second half as Limerick would now be backed by the elements.
Leahy and McNamara were on target as the Rebels retained their three-point cushion after 35 minutes and it was still a three-point game with 41 minutes played, 0-15 to 0-12. Kevin O'Neill's second score gave Cork some breathing space and another McNamara free left five in it with the three-quarters juncture approaching.
Robert O'Donnell was on target as Limerick moved back within three but O'Donovan thumped over a free from inside his own half and McNamara (free) claimed his seventh score to make it 0-19 to 0-14 with ten minutes remaining.
McNamara pointed again to leave six between the teams but we had a tense finish after Diarmuid Byrnes supplied three successive points in an many minutes between the 55th and 57th to leave things in the melting pot. But the wily Rebels held on to claim the silverware again.
Cork - P Buckley; B O Tuama, E Finn, G Murphy; K Kavanagh, D O'Donovan (0-2f), T Lawrence; M Brennan, S McCarthy (0-1); W Leahy (0-2), M Collins (0-1), L Meade; N McNamara (0-8, 7f), F O'Leary, T Murphy (0-4). Subs: K O'Neill (0-2) for M Brennan, C O'Brien for E Finn, A Cagney for F O'Leary, A Sheehan for N McNamara.
Limerick - B Murray; S Finn, B O'Connell, M Reidy; D Moloney, D Byrnes (0-5, 2f), B Lynch; R O'Donnell (0-1), A Brennan; D O'Donovan (0-1), K O'Brien, M Carmody; W Griffin (0-5, 4f), T Morrissey (0-4), M Fitzgibbon (0-1). Subs: R Lynch for K O'Brien, R English (0-1) for D Moloney, M Fitzgerald for W Griffin, C Ryan for D O'Donovan.
Referee - D Fox.