SHANE DOWLING’S 72ND minute free meant that it was honours even for Cork and Limerick in the opening round of the Allianz Hurling League Division 1B at Páirc Uí Rinn.
In the opening quarter, Cork had been absolutely dominant, opening up an 0-8 to 0-2 lead in the game’s nascent stages.
Patrick Horgan, Conor Lehane and Cian McCarthy all shone in attack for the Rebels as Limerick foundered, with midfielder Paul Browne and Shane Dowling doing their best to ensure that the visitors were not being overrun.
Stephen Moylan wasted a goal chance in the 23rd minute, however, pointing when a green flag would have put the hosts seven points ahead, and though Limerick’s Graeme Mulcahy was sent off straight after that, it was the Treatymen who responded better.
Dowling and Paudie O’Brien pointed to leave them trailing by 0-9 to 0-6 at half-time and they began the second half well, reducing the gap to two points on more than one occasion.
Cork kept responding, though, but when a pair of Dowling frees and another from O’Brien tied the game with less than 10 minutes, it was all to play for.
Horgan and sub Alan Cadogan looked to have given Cork all the points as they made it 0-16 to 0-14, but still Limerick would not go away. Yet another Dowling free and then a 65 tied it once more before another Cork sub, Michael O’Sullivan, scored an excellent point from the left.
Dowling had the final say, though.
Scorers for Cork: Patrick Horgan 0-8 (0-2f), Conor Lehane, Cian McCarthy, Stephen Moylan, Alan Cadogan 0-2 each, Michael O’Sullivan 0-1
Scorers for Limerick: Shane Dowling 0-11 (0-8f, 0-2 65), Paul Browne 0-3, Paudie O’Brien 0-2, Conor Allis 0-1
CORK: Anthony Nash; Stephen White, Shane O’Neill, Killian Murphy; Mark Ellis, Christopher Joyce, William Egan; Daniel Kearney, Lorcán McLoughlin; Robert O’Shea, Cian McCarthy, Aidan Walsh; Stephen Moylan, Conor Lehane, Patrick Horgan
Subs: Alan Cadogan for Lehane (39, injured), Michael Cahalane for Walsh (46, injured), Luke O’Farrell for McCarthy (54), Michael O’Sullivan for O’Farrell (58, injured), Paul Haughney for Kearney (64)
LIMERICK: Nickie Quaid; Stephen Walsh, Richie McCarthy, Tom Condon; Paudie O’Brien, Wayne McNamara, Gavin O’Mahony; Paul Browne, Donal O’Grady; Tom Ryan, James Ryan, Conor Allis; Graeme Mulcahy, Shane Dowling, Seán Tobin
Sub: Kevin Downes for Tom Ryan (54)
Referee: James Owens (Wexford)