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Limerick exact sweet revenge on Cats to lift U21 crown 3 years after minor defeat

Pat Donnelly’s side ran out six-point winners over Eddie Brennan’s men at Semple Stadium.

Limerick 0-17

Kilkenny 0-11

Kevin O’Brien reports from Semple Stadium

LIMERICK ARE a hurling force on the rise.

The Shannonsiders picked up their second All-Ireland U21 title in three years with a six-point win over Kilkenny at Semple Stadium.

Michael Cody tackles Aaron Gillane Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

In what was the first ever championship meeting between these sides at this grade, Kilkenny trailed by seven at half-time but made a game of it in the second period.

Alan Murphy’s accurate free-taking brought them back to within four points by the 54th minute, but late scores from Aaron Gillane and substitute Oisin O’Reilly rounded off the win in some style.

In front of 15,485, Limerick dominated the physical exchanges and their front six looked dangerous every time they had possession. Man-of-the-match Gillane fired over seven points this afternoon, bringing his tally for Limerick’s five-game campaign to an impressive 0-44.

To indicate the sort of talent Pat Donnelly had at his disposal, eight members of his starting team have already featured for the county’s seniors. Only Richie Leahy and Liam Blanchfield have done so for Kilkenny.

John Walsh, scorer of two goals for Kilkenny in that minor final three years ago, was withdrawn at half-time, while Billy Ryan, who had 2-7 to his name up to this stage, was whipped off in the 41st minute.

Three minutes later, Leahy’s name was put up by the fourth official. Three key Cats forwards, all gone by the third quarter.

Michael Cody and Peter Casey Source: Cathal Noonan/INPHO

Such was Limerick’s dominance, they could afford to take off talisman Cian Lynch in the 38th minute after he picked up a heavy knock.

Kilkenny were without Darragh Joyce, the All-Ireland winning minor captain of 2014 who is pursuing an AFL career in Melbourne, but even he would have struggled to make up the gap between the sides.

Eddie Brennan’s team could ill afford to be as wasteful as they were in the opening 30 minutes. They shot five wides and after the opening quarter had just one point on the board.

By that stage Limerick were 0-7 to 0-1 ahead with the pick of the bunch Gillane’s wonderful score on the turn. Brennan whipped off Sean Morrissey in favour of Alan Murphy in the 24th minute, but there was little he could do to stem the tide.

Cian Lynch split the posts with deadly accuracy and Ronan Lynch launched a massive free over from his own 45 to leave the Shannonsiders 0-11 to 0-4 ahead at the interval.

Substitute Alan Murphy put some respectability on the Kilkenny scoreline with five excellent frees after the interval. John Donnelly’s well-taken score left them trailing by 0-15 to 0-11 with six minutes left, but efforts from Gillane and O’Reilly saw them over the line.

Scorers for Limerick: Aaron Gillane 0-7 (0-2f), Ronan Lynch (0-3f) and Peter Casey 0-3 each, Cian Lynch, Barry Nash, Paudie Ahern and Conor Boylan 0-1 each.

Scores for Kilkenny: Alan Murphy 0-5 (0-5f), Shane Walsh 0-3 (0-2f), John Donnelly, Billy Ryan and Liam Blanchfield 0-1 each.

Limerick

1 Eoghan McNamara (Doon)

2 Sean Finn (Bruff)
3 Darragh Fanning (Pallasgreen)
4 Dan Joy (Kilmallock)

5 Ronan Lynch (Na Piarsaigh)
6 Kyle Hayes (Kildimo/Pallaskenry)
7 Thomas Grimes (Na Piarsaigh)

8 Colin Ryan (Pallasgreen)
9 Robbie Hanley (Kilmallock)

14 Tom Morrissey (Ahane – captain)
15 Barry Nash (South Liberties)
12 Cian Lynch (Patrickswell)

10 Aaron Gillane (Patrickswell)
11 Barry Murphy (Doon)
13 Peter Casey (Na Piarsaigh)

Subs

18. Conor Boylan (Na Pirasaigh) for Cian Lynch (38)
19. Andrew La Touche Cosgrave (Monaleen) for Morrissey (47)
17. Oisin O’Reilly (Killmallock) for Murphy (53)
21. Lorcan Lyons (Monaleen) for Nash (62)

Kilkenny

1. Darren Brennan (St Lachtains)

2. Michael Cody (Dunnamaggin)
3. Conor Delaney (Erins Own)
4. Niall McMahon (Erins Own)

5. Huw Lawlor (O’Loughlin Gaels)
6. Jason Cleere (Bennettsbridge)
7. Tommy Walsh (Tullaroan)

15. Billy Ryan (Graigue Ballycallan)
8. Luke Scanlon (James Stephens

14. Liam Blanchfield (Bennettsbridge)
12. Sean Morrissey (Bennettsbridge)
9. Richie Leahy (Rower Inistioge)

13. Shane Walsh (Tullaroan)
11. John Donnelly (Thomastown)
10. John Walsh (Mullinavat)

Subs

16. Alan Murphy (Glenmore) for Morrissey (24)
20. Pat Lyng (Rower Inistioge) for John Walsh (ht)
22. Eoin Kenny (Slieverue) for Shane Walsh (40)
21. Martin Keoghan (Tullaroan) for Ryan (41)
18. Darren Mullen (Ballyhale Shamrocks) for Leahy (44)

Referee: Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow)

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