Limerick end Tipp's good start
November 24, 2005
Limerick ended Tipperary's run of victories in recent weeks in Dr. Morris Park Thurles on Wednesday evening as both sides fielded experimental teams in this senior hurling challenge.
Report by Tipperary County PRO Ed Donnelly
Martin Maher and Colin Morrissey were the only players from either side who started the 2005 Munster championship games between the teams last May and were involved also in this game.
Tipperary got off to the better start and thanks to points from Seamus Butler (2) and Colin Morrissey led by 0-3 to 0-0 after six minutes. Corner-forward Neil Curtin opened the scoring for Limerick in the ninth minute. The Tipperary backs were playing well in the first quarter and with some good possession up front, Tipperary added on further points from Conor O'Mahoney (free) and Kevin Tucker (2) to lead by 0-6 to 0-2 after fifteen minutes.
Limerick were slowly getting in to the match around midfield and half-forward and despite further Tipperary points from Morrissey and O'Mahoney (free), the pressure was now coming on the Tipperary defence. The first goal of the match arrived in the 23rd minute and came courtesy of the Shannonsiders. Impressive half-forward Mike O'Brien set off on a long solo run before sending in a delivery to the edge of the square. The breaking ball fell to corner-forward Mike Fitzgerald who made no mistake with a ground shot past Tipperary goalkeeper Damian Young. The sides were now level and Neil Curtin gave Limerick their first lead soon afterwards with a good point from play.
Before half-time, Limerick struck for another goal. A long delivery found Mike Fitzgerald in space behind the Tipperary full-back line and he beat the advancing Young with ease to put Limerick four points in front at the interval, 2-6 to 0-8. Colin Morrissey and Martin Maher picked up knocks in the first half forcing Tipperary to introduce Ken Dunne and Paul Curran in their place for the second half.
Seamus Butler and Pat Kerwick added quick points for Tipperary from the restart but any signs of a second half comeback were soon averted. Limerick's defence was now well on top and with the Tipperary forwards playing with little shape or conviction, Tipperary would add only one further point in the next twenty minutes of play. Tipperary's defence were also playing well but Limerick were making more use of their opportunities and they led by 2-10 to 0-10 after 45 minutes. Tipperary did have a number of chances in the final quarter of the match but poor shooting ensured that Limerick were always at least four points in front. Kevin Tucker, Ken Dunne (free) and Donal Shelly (2) added further points for Tipperary but Limerick's victory looked secure long before the final whistle sounded.
Tipperary will be disappointed with this performance and the result proves that Limerick will be very difficult to beat when the championship comes around next May. Apart from a slow start, Limerick were the better team on the night and were superior to Tipperary in the areas of high fielding, first touch and team work. Limerick's defence played well in this game and they also had the edge at midfield for most of the match. Up front, Mike O'Brien was very impressive, especially in the first half though his shooting was errant at times. The Limerick full-forward line scored 2-7 from play and that statistic more than any other shows where this game was won and lost.
Tipperary will be disappointed to lose this match but the competitive nature of proceedings ensured that the new selectors will have learned a lot from this exercise. Damian McGrath and Conor O'Mahoney were the best of an overworked defence while Niall Curran won a lot of possession, especially in the second half. Up front, Colin Morrissey had some good moments in the first half scoring two good points. Kevin Tucker and Seamus Butler scored three points each from play while Donal Shelly added two late points.
Tipperary: Damien Young (Drom & Inch); Eamonn Buckley (Drom & Inch), Shane McDermott (Cappawhite), Martin Maher (Borris-Ileigh); Damien McGrath (Knockavilla Kickhams), Conor O'Mahoney (Newport, 0-2 frees), Michael Ryan (Moneygall); Shane McGrath (Ballinahinch), Niall Curran (Mullinahone); Kevin Tucker (Nenagh Eire Óg, 0-3), Colin Morrissey (Galtee Rovers, 0-2), Pat Kerwick (Killenaule, 0-1); Donal Shelly (Ballingarry, 0-2), Darragh Egan (Kildangan), Seamus Butler (Drom & Inch, 0-3). Subs: Paul Curran (Mullinahone) for Maher (half time), Ken Dunne (Toomevara, 0-1 free) for Morrissey (half time)
Limerick: Brian Murray; Mark O'Riordan, Kieran Breen, Brian Coffey; Denis Moloney, Eoin Benson, Willie Walsh; Andrew Brennan, Neil Collins (0-1); Mike O'Brien (0-1), Jonathan Deere, Brendan Hayes; Michael Fitzgerald (2-3, 0-2 frees), Sean O'Connor (0-3), Neil Curtin (0-3. Subs: Peter Cregan (0-1), Paudie McNamara (0-2), Timmy Houlihan
Referee: Seamus Roche (Kilsheelan-Kilcash)
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