Munster SHC: Treaty men trip up Tipp

June 01, 2014

Paul Browne of Limerick.
©INPHO
There was high drama in Semple Stadium today as Limerick finished like a steam train to derail Tipperary by 2-18 to 2-16.

Eamon O'Shea's men looked on course for the provincial final when leading by a goal with two minutes left but the defending Munster champions sealed their place in the decider with a second goal of the game from Man of the Match Shane Dowling followed by late points from Thomas Ryan and Seamus Hickey.

On the evidence of this performance, delivered in front of 24,962 mesmerised spectators, it would be fair to say that the Treaty County have put their alleged off-the-field troubles behind them!

The victory represents Limerick's first championship win over Tipp in Thurles in 41 years and their first at this venue against any opposition since 1997.

At the end of a thrilling first half, the sides were deadlocked on 1-8 apiece.

Shane Dowling (free) and Gearoid Ryan swapped the first two points of the match and Seamus Callanan won and converted a Tipp free after Dowling had doubled his tally, again from a placed ball.

Dowling cancelled out Niall O'Meara's point and the Limerick No.10 brought his own tally to 1-3 when he rifled a 20-metre free to the net on 16 minutes: 1-3 to 0-3. John O'Dwyer posted a point for the Premier County either side of frees from Kevin Downes and Dowling as the visitors led by 1-5 to 0-4 after 20 minutes.

In the 21st minute, Patrick 'Bonner' Maher burst through the Limerick defence to drill a superb shot underneath Nicky Quaid to the back of the net but Dowling followed up with a brace of quickfire frees to ensure that the gap went back to three points.

Nine minutes from the break, Declan Hannon supplied the holders' first point from play to leave it 1-8 to 1-4 but it was Tipp who finished the first half strongest with a run of four consecutive points from O'Dwyer and Callanan (three frees).

In between, Downes blasted a Limerick goal chance wide.

The sides were still level with 14 minutes left to play: Tipperary 2-12 Limerick 1-15.

Ryan opened the second-half scoring with a Tipp goal, finishing emphatically after taking a pass from Shane McGrath, but Limerick had reclaimed the lead by the 44th minute courtesy of a run of points from Paul Browne, Dowling (free) and captain Donal O'Grady (2).

As the game continued to ebb and flow, John O'Dwyer equalised in the 45th minute - 2-9 to 1-12 - and Dowling's free had the winners back in front before Tipp replied with three in a row from Noel McGrath, Ryan and O'Dwyer.

Dowling (free) and Downes ensured that there was nothing between them after 56 minutes but Callanan and O'Dwyer edged the Premier County two points clear again. When Mulcahy halved the gap, Tipp substitute Lar Corbett announced his arrival with a key point: 2-15 to 1-16 with eight minutes left.

Mulcahy had a Limerick goal disallowed seven minutes from time for a foul in the build-up and Denis Maher made it a three-point game in the 67th minute.

But, amazingly, Dowling fired the equalising goal to the back of the Tipp net in the 68th minute after a wonderful Downes run. A replay looked likely but the Treaty men won the day with sensational injury-time points from Thomas Ryan and Seamus Hickey.

A wonderful victory for the defending champions, while Tipperary preserve their unhappy knack of losing big games.

Limerick - N Quaid; S Hickey (0-1), R McCarthy, T Condon; P O'Brien, W McNamara, G O'Mahony; J Ryan, P Browne (0-1); S Dowling (2-9, 1-9f), D O'Grady (0-2), D Hannon (0-1); G Mulcahy (0-1), K Downes (0-2), S Tobin. Subs: T Ryan (0-1) for S Tobin, M Ryan for G Mulcahy.

Tipperary - D Gleeson; C Barrett, Padraic Maher, M Cahill; J Barry, B Maher, C O'Mahony; K Bergin, S McGrath; G Ryan (1-2), Patrick Maher (1-0); J O'Dwyer (0-5, 1f); N McGrath (0-1), S Callanan (0-5, 3f), N O'Meara (0-1). Subs: L Corbett (0-1) for J Barry, D Maher (0-1) for N O'Meara, C O'Brien for M Cahill, S Bourke for J O'Dwyer, T Stapleton for S McGrath.

Referee - B Kelly.


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