Limerick haunted by Dan the man

July 08, 2007
A hat trick of goals by Dan Shanahan paved the way for Waterford to defeat Limerick by 3-17 to 1-14 in the Munster SHC final at Semple Stadium, Thurles on Sunday afternoon. Waterford 3-17 Limerick 1-14 The weather wasn't so kind in Thurles as the rain came pouring down before the match, which made the conditions less than favourable for hurling, while the supporters of both teams found shelter under umbrellas and whatever else they could mange to find. There was no sign of the rain easing off in the early stages of the match and credit must go to both sides for producing such a high level of skill in such adverse conditions. Limerick played against the breeze in the first half and it was interesting to see the Waterford players not playing in the positions they were named, which was not really surprising. Barely two minutes was on the clock when Brian Begley broke through only to be denied by a good save from Clinton Hennessy, but Andrew O'Shaughnessy converted the resultant '65 to open the scoring. A foul on John Mullane gave Eoin Kelly the opportunity to score and he duly put over the free from the right hand wing. The first goal of the game when Begley pulled on a high ball dropped into the square by Brian Geary and finished to the net. In reply Eoin Kelly scored a fine point while on the run to leave two points between the sides after seven minutes. Then Michael Walsh gave a good pass to Dan Shanahan and the Waterford forward hit over a fantastic point. The scores were coming thick and fast as Mike Fitzgerald sent over on his left from long range, before Stephen Molumphy replied for the Decies. A long puck out by Hennessy was gathered by Mullane who fired over the equalising point as the sun began to shine in Semple Stadium. O'Shaughnessy scored his second '65 to put Limerick back in front but it was short lived as Molumphy put over his second before Kelly converted a free to put Waterford in front. The game was being played at a frantic pace and Waterford should have had a goal but the Limerick defence snuffed out the threat before Begley scored a point as the giant forward was giving Declan Prendergast a torrid time. At the other end, Shanahan fired over from long range as both sides gave it their all. The sides were level for the third time in the match when Donal O'Grady sent over from a long way out. Kelly was afforded the chance to put Waterford ahead but put the free wide as the rain began to pour once again. Limerick 'keeper Brian Murray made an outstanding save from Mullane after the corner forward found himself unmarked, but he shot from an acute angle. There was excellent fielding throughout the match, but none more so than Geary's massive catch from a long range Ken McGrath free. As the half wore on, both sides missed chances, until Seamus Prendergast scored an incredible point from right out on the sideline. Limerick will have been the happier of the two sides going in at half time, even though they trailed by a point (0-9 to 1-5) as it was still all to play for in the second half. As the rain continued to fall, the conditions became even more greasier as players on both sides were slipping and sliding all over the place. A free by O'Shaughnessy was the first score of the second period and this was soon followed by another fine score by Fitzgerald. Following a foul on Seamus Prendergast in the middle of the field, Ken McGrath sent the resultant free narrowly wide as Limerick held a one-point lead, which was doubled when Fitzgerald scored his third of the afternoon. Waterford found scores hard to come by as Kelly hit a free wide as the Shannonsiders were on top during the early exchanges. Their defence was working tirelessly and in particular Stephen Lucey and Mark Foley. A bad foul by Mark O'Riordan on Mullane saw the Limerick defender receive a yellow card, and Paul Flynn put over the free to leave two between the sides once again. The Decies had the chance to take the lead when Flynn got on the end of a fine move involving Shanahan and Molumphy, but his shot went narrowly wide, much to the relief of the Limerick defence. The same player went on a mazy run and fired over a point, but the referee gave a free out as the Waterford was adjudged to have caught the ball three times before Shanahan and Mike O'Brien exchanged points. The action was flowing fast at this stage and once again Flynn was involved as his shot was well saved by Murray but Shanahan was on hand to drive the sliothar into the net to make it 1-11 to 1-9. Substitute Kevin Tobin who replaced Niall Moran gathered the ball in midfield and fired over a point, while Waterford responded immediately with a good score by Mullane. Tobin really found his form and another excellent score left the minimum between the sides. However, Mullane was not to be outdone and he scored his third of the match, as the rain got heavier. O'Shaughnessy dropped in a free that was gathered by Pat Tobin and he turned neatly and sent over to leave it 1-13 to 1-12 in the 55th minute as the match remained finely poised. A magnificent score by Kelly who had time and space as Eoin McGrath was introduced in place of Jack Kennedy who struggled at wing back. The driving rain did little to stop Waterford at this stage. And it was the big man himself, Dan Shanahan who scored his second goal when he fired past Murray. Limerick responded through Ollie Moran and Begley kept them in the match with another point. Time began to run out for Limerick and a long range free by McGrath sailed over the bar to leave four points between the sides. Then his brother Eoin stretched Waterford's lead as he sent the ball between the posts, which was followed by a huge effort by Flynn from all of 80 metres. The match was over when Shanahan got his hat trick as the Waterford forwards had acres of space in attack following Eoin Kelly's move out the field. To their credit Limerick battled to the very end, but it was not to be their day as Waterford claimed their third Munster title in six years. Waterford - C Hennessy; A Kearney, K Moran, E Murphy, T Browne, D Prendergast, K McGrath (0-1) , M Walsh, S Molumphy (0-2) , S Prendergast (0-1), D Shanahan (3-3), P Flynn (0-3) , J Mullane (0-2), E Kelly (0-4) , J Kennedy . Subs - E McGrath 0-1 for Kennedy, J Walsh for Moran. Limerick - B Murray; M O' Riordan, S Lucey, S Hickey, P Lawlor, B Geary, M Foley, D O'Grady (0-1), M O' Brien (0-1)); N Moran, O Moran (0-1), M Fitzgerald (0-3), A O 'Shaughnessy (0-3), B Begley (1-2), B Foley. Subs - P O'Dwyer for O'Brien, K Tobin (0-2) for N Moran, P Tobin (0-1) for Foley. Referee - Seamus Roche (Tipperary)

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