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Limerick's first win over the Cats in 45 years, Kilkenny show their heart and Cork up next

5 talking points after Limerick’s 0-27 to 1-22 All-Ireland hurling quarter-final victory over Kilkenny.

1. First Limerick win over Kilkenny since 1973

THE LAST TIME Limerick beat Kilkenny in the championship was way back in the 1973 All-Ireland final, when Brian Cody himself was a player.

John Kiely celebrates after the game with his mother Breda John Kiely celebrates after the game with his mother Breda Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

They’re still a long way from achieving a first Liam MacCarthy Cup in 45 years, but today’s victory over the Cats is a significant milestone in the evolution of John Kiely’s team.

They were the in-form team in Munster until a collapse against Clare in the final round robin game denied them a place in the provincial final, but successive wins over Carlow and Kilkenny leaves them 70 minutes away from a first All-Ireland final appearance since 2007.

2. Limerick response after Hogan’s goal

When substitute John Donnelly fed Richie Hogan for the Kilkenny goal in the 65th minute, it capped off a run of 1-2 without reply for the Cats.

Hogan’s three-pointer pushed Brian Cody’s side 1-21 to 0-22 in front, with the momentum seemingly behind them. Just as Limerick looked like they might fall victim to an incredible comeback they hit five points in the final eight minutes compared to a solitary Kilkenny score.

It was a fitting finish to an extraordinary game of hurling and one that will leave the Treaty brimming with confidence as they prepare for the Rebels in the All-Ireland semi-final.

Tom Morrissey celebrates scoring a late point Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

3. Cork up next

If the round robin clash between these sides this summer is anything to go by, we’re in for an enthralling encounter between Munster rivals Limerick and Cork on 29 July in Croke Park.

Kyle Hayes snatched a point deep into injury-time in that early June meeting to seal a share of the spoils for a Limerick side that played 50 minutes with 14 men. Aaron Gillane was red carded in the first-half for an off-the-ball strike on Sean O’Donoghue but Limerick fought hard without him and deserved a draw.

Cork went on to beat Clare in the Munster final and they’re in for another seismic battle against the Shannonsiders. John Meyler was in Semple Stadium today and will already be preparing for that showdown in two weeks.

Brian Cody reacts to a missed chance Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

4. Kilkenny display their heart

Brian Cody didn’t use it as an excuse afterwards, but playing for a third week in a row was no doubt physically and mentally draining for his players.

They went in three behind at half-time but dominated the early exchanges in the second-half. Only for seven wides in a wasteful third quarter, Kilkenny would have been in front but instead they found themselves 0-22 to 0-19 behind after 60 minutes.

The defiance Kilkenny have displayed so often under Cody showed up again when impressive subs Richie Leahy – who posted 0-4 after his 45th-minute introduction – and John Donnelly scored one apiece. Then Hogan’s goal after 64 minutes pushed them two clear.

From there it looked like they might make a burst for home, but perhaps they had exhausted themselves to get to that point. Limerick had just enough in the tank to seal the victory, but nobody left Semple Stadium doubting Kilkenny’s heart.

5. Limerick’s dominant half-forward line

If you’d been told before the game that Gillane and Seamus Flanagan would contribute just 0-6 (0-4 from play) between them, you might have worried for Limerick’s chances.

But link-man Graeme Mulcahy posted three points off Paul Murphy, while the majority of Limerick’s scores came from their dominant half-forward trio. Gearoid Hegarty (0-4), Kyle Hayes (0-3) and Tom Morrissey (0-4) hit 10 points between them.

The aerial ability of half-backs Declan Hannon and Dan Morrissey was of vital importance, particularly in the final 10 minutes with the game in the balance.

Kiely’s use of substitutes was also impressive and they helped their team over the line. Peter Casey scored two points from three shots and Shane Dowling clipped a point of his own. You won’t win an All-Ireland without a strong bench and Limerick certainly have that in their locker.

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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