Munster Minor Hurling
Limerick 1-17 Tipperary 0-17
Hotly fancied Munster and All-Ireland minor hurling champions, Tipperary crashed out of this year’s Munster campaign at Semple Stadium, on Wednesday last where they paid a heavy price for wasted first half chances, losing to a Limerick side which dominated the closing twenty minutes.
The game, an excellent contest, was very similar to the senior clash between the counties some weeks back. Once again tasty Tipperary forwards, with the notable exception of Colin O Riordan, were out-muscled by tenacious Limerick defenders, and yet again, Tipperary faltered in the closing stages. The new generation of Tipperary hurlers have exceptional ball-playing skills but have difficulty winning their own ball, it would appear.
This was certainly a game Tipperary could have won. They were much the superior side in the opening twenty minutes but spurned easy point chances in pursuit of a”killer” goal. Against a Limerick defence which crowded out attackers, and which grew in confidence as the hour progressed, Tipp had no joy.
At the break , having had the aid of the light breeze, and the greater share of the play, they led by only two points, 0-12 to 0-10, when, had they taken their points, the margin might have been five or six more, and given them a cushion against the Limerick surge in the second half.
However, Tipperary scored only five points in the second half, and crucially went eighteen minutes without raising a flag, from the 33rd to the 51st minutes, during which time Limerick shot six unanswered points to put themselves in a match-winning position. A penalty goal in the 53rd minute by Ronan Lynch was the last straw for Tipperary who never threatened the Limerick line in the second period.
The defeat was a big disappointment in a season which appears to be going “pear-shaped” for Tipperary hurling. Much was expected of this team with a liberal sprinkling of last year’s successful combination, and while they could not be said to have played badly, they still did not match the intensity that Limerick brought tot heir game once they got going.
With Colin O Riordan a commanding figure leading the attack, winning great ball in the air, Tipperary went 0-5 to 0-1 clear in eight minutes, the scores coming from Josh Keane(2), Tom Fox, Willie Connors and O Riordan. Brian Hogan, son of former Tipp goalie, Ken, had to be smart to prevent Limerick’s Patrick Ryan netting in the 10th minute and from the break, Sam Conlon pointed for Tipp.
Everything appeared to be going according to plan for Tipp but then Limerick began to find their feet, with Ronan Lynch very accurate from frees and David Dempsey a towering figure in attack. Tipp’s failure to capitalise on several point-chances when seeking goals, and their persistent fouling (Tipp conceded 9 frees to Limerick’s 2) were contributory factors as Limerick fought back to be only two points behind at the interval 0-10 to 0-12.
On the resumptions, Sam Conlon blazed wide with a goal chance after Colin O Riordan’s effort was parried by the Limerick goalie Colin Ryan, but points by Mark McCarthy and Josh Keane had the home side four clear by the 33rd minute.
Then the Tipperary bubble burst. Three Limerick points in three minutes got them moving and, with their confidence soaring, they drew level in the 43rd minute and pushed ahead with two further points by the 48th minute – six points without a Tipp reply.
Josh Keane raised Tipp hopes with their first score in eighteen minutes but the “ killer punch” came in the 53rd minute when Lynch blasted a penalty to the net after sub Thomas Morrissey was awarded a critical, if rather harsh, decision.
Four points clear, with seven minutes to play, it was hard to see Limerick being beaten. Tipperary did fight to the finish, points by Keane and sub Donncha Quinn keeping them in a position to strike, but Lynch had the final say, a Limerick point in injury time to round off a memorable night for him and for Limerick.
No complaint about the result. Tipperary had their chances, did not take them and paid the price.
Tipperary – B Hogan; R Mulcahy, J Ryan, D Peters; T Fox(0-1), R Maher, B Heffernan; W Connors(0-1), T Kirwan; S Ryan, C O Riordan(0-4), M McCarthy(0-1); S Conlon(0-1), J Keane(0-7,4fs), C Lanigan(0-1); Subs- T Nolan for Conlon; D Quinn(0-1) for Lanigan; A Tierney for Peters; F O Sullivan for Connors;
Limerick – C Ryan; J Porter, R English, S Finn; S Ryan, A LeTouche Cosgrave, S Flanagan; J Butler, D O Donovan; B Nash(0-1), D Dempsey(0-4), C Lynch(0-2); D Coleman(0-1), R Lynch(1-7, 1-6fs), P Ryan(0-1); Subs- G Whelan for Butler; T Morrissey(0-1) for P Ryan;
Referee- D Fox, Clare.