Kelly inspires Tipp to victory

May 14, 2006
Eoin Kelly helped himself to 14 points as Tipperary beat Limerick by 0-22 to 2-12 in the 2006 Munster SHC opener at Thurles. The Mullinahone clubman was the difference between the teams and he scored as many times as the entire Limerick team put together. Limerick were disappointing today, while Tipp responded to recent criticism with a gritty display. Limerick got off to a dream start with two goals in the first ten minutes. Mark Keane opened the scoring from a free in the first minute and Brian Begley followed up with a major as the Shannonsiders moved into a 1-1 to no score lead. Eoin Kelly pointed a free from an acute in the eighth minute but Andrew O'Shaughnessy slammed home a second Limerick goal almost immediately and they led by 2-1 to 0-1 with less than ten minutes played. Kelly pointed from play and Limerick goalie Brian Murray did brilliantly to deny the Tipp dangerman a goal before John O'Brien rifled over the Premier County's third point. South Liberties clubman Keane knocked over a free to bag his second point of the match on the quarter hour but Michael Webster and Kelly (after Mark Foley slipped on the greasy surface) replied immediately with Tipp points - 2-2 to 0-5 at the end of the first quarter. Conor Fitzgerald extended the Limerick lead after eight scoreless minutes but Donie Ryan's effort flew wide of the target. Kelly and O'Shaughnessy traded points and Kelly then floated over another free as the Premier County closed within three points. Kelly had a goal controversially disallowed on the half hour when he was adjudged to have picked the sliothar directly off the ground and Tipp's lead remained intact, 2-4 to 0-7. Not to be knocked out of his stride, Kelly then registered an excellent free as Tipp closed to within two points. Babs' boys were in full flow and John Carroll knocked over their next score as the home support in the Semple Stadium crowd were whipped into a frenzy. Mark Keane steadied Limerick with a free in first-half injury time. Tipperary were having the better of it but a series of disappointing wides meant that they still trailed by two points. TJ Ryan got a yellow card for pulling Kelly back by the shirt and the deadly Premier County attacker exacted justice when he skilfully split the posts for his seventh point of the match. On course for clear Man of the Match honours, Kelly then executed the equalising point with the final act of the first half before the short whistle sounded with the scores level, 2-5 to 0-11. Bringing his tally to ten, Kelly hit two wonderpoints, one from a free, on the resumption and Stephen Lucey swapped points with O'Brien. Keane's free reduced the margin to a point, 2-7 to 0-14, as Limerick struggled to hit the form they'd demonstrated throughout the league. The next two points were shared before Ger O'Grady and Lucey both recorded wides. Ken Dunne popped over a point to put Tipp two ahead and Kelly's eleventh point of the game sent Tipp three clear. Lucey's point kept Limerick in touch and Barry Foley's free made it a one-point game. Redser finally got his first score of the match at a vital stage, with just twelve minutes remaining. Substitute Darragh Egan supplied the next Tipperary point as they moved three points into the ascendancy. Limerick narrowed the gap and Barry Foley pointed a free to leave a point in it with three minutes remaining. Murray diverted an Egan goal effort out for a 65 in the 69th minute and the magnificent Kelly fired the ball straight and true between the posts. The priceless Kelly pointed again from play from almost 70 metres to make it 0-21 to 2-12. Limerick had the ball in the net in injury time but the 'goal' was ruled out for an infringement. Kelly struck another astonishing point and it was Tipp who progressed to a June 4 semi-final clash with Waterford.

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