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Dublin: 14 °C Friday 20 July, 2018
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We’re only just over 20 minutes away from the start of this clash now and supporters are starting to file into Semple Stadium.

Limerick team: Nicky Quaid; David Moloney, Seamus Hickey, Tom Condon; Wayne McNamara, Brian Geary, Gavin O’Mahoney; Donal O’Grady, Paul Browne; Niall Moran, James Ryan, Declan Hannon; Graeme Mulcahy, Kevin Downes, Sean Tobin.

Couple of changes for Dublin following Conal Keaney’s accident earlier this week…

Dublin team: Gary Maguire; Niall Corcoran, Peter Kelly, Paul Schutte; John McCaffrey, Joey Boland, Shane Durkin; Liam Rushe, Maurice O’Brien; Conor McCormack, Ryan O’Dwyer, Michael Carton, Alan McCrabbe, David O’Callaghan, Paul Ryan.

There’s a mass of positional switches for Dublin once play gets underway

But it’s Brian Geary who gets the first score – a fine free from the defender puts Limerick 0-1 to 0-0 ahead

A frantic start to the action and it’s Geary with another free that puts Limerick two ahead: 0-2 0-0

A lovely hook from Donal O’Grady breaks Dublin’s first attack down.

GOAL for Dublin! Ryan O’Dwyer picks up a loose ball to side step by the attention of Tom Condon and fire the ball to the back of the net beyond the reach of Nicky Quaid. Dublin ahead 1-0 0-2

Declan Hannon, already booked, levels matters with a fine point 1-0 0-3

Paul Ryan puts the Dub back in front though – he splits the posts with a nicely taken free. Dublin ahead 1-1 0-3

Niall Moran notches up Limerick’s first wide but a charge forward from midfielder Donal O’Grady sees him fire a shot between the posts. 1-1 0-4

Wayne McNamara is booked as Paul Ryan edges Dublin back in front. Declan Hannon breaks straight down the field however and the teams are level once again. 1-2 0-5

Limerick might be picking up the best of the loose ball at the moment but a second goal from Ryan O’Dwyer – he fires home unmarked from 13 metres out – puts the Leinster side ahead once again. Anthony Daly will be happy to see his team scoring goals at this stage of the contest. Dublin ahead: 2-2 0-5

More quick play from Dublin sees Paul Ryan nick his first point from play. After a strong start from Limerick, it’s all Dublin right now. Dublin ahead: 2-3 0-5

David O’Callaghan is fouled and Ryan collects his fourth point to make it double scores at Semple Stadium. Dublin ahead: 2-4 0-5

Good points from Hannon and Rushe – the latter’s first of the day – sees the action continue from end to end.

Half chance for O’Dwyer to get a hat trick of goals. Quaid collects the ball on this occasion.

Despite Limerick’s attempts to wave it wide, a fine attempt from O’Dwyer goes over the bar. Alan McCrabbe is causing lots of problems for Dublin right now. Dublin ahead: 2-6 0-6

Gary Maguire saves an effort from Sean Tobin.

GOAL for O’Dwyer! The forward gets his third after a shot from O’Callaghan is saved. Unfortunately for Limerick, Geary wasn’t able to clear the danger allowing the men in blue move further ahead. 3-6 0-6

Donal O’Grady has seen enough. Off comes Brian Geary, on comes Stephen Walsh with Condon moving to mark O’Dwyer. If Limerick are to have any chance, they need to tighten up at the back.

Hannon knocks another free over the bar. Of Limerick’s seven points, Declan Hannon has now scored four…

With Liam Rushe getting medical attention, Kevin Downes gets another score for Limerick – making and finishing the opportunity all by himself. 3-6 0-8

Moran is fouled so Hannon makes it three points in a row for Limerick with another free. O’Grady’s men will need lots more of the same, however.

Graeme Mulcahy flashes an effort wide for Limerick as Conor McCormack is hauled off by Daly and replaced by David Treacy.

The loudest tannoy in the world tells us we’re nearly at half-time already at Semple Stadium, and with Geary off the field, it’s Hannon who nails a 65 and brings Limerick back to within five points. 3-6 0-10

There will be two minutes of injury time.

Limerick really fought for every ball in the final minutes of the half, so there’s plenty to play for after the break. HALF TIME: Dublin 3-6 0-10 Limerick.

Limerick ended that half as they started it but it’s been Dublin to get the vital goals. Hopefully, another good half of hurling to come.

Gavin O’Mahony lands a massive free to get Limerick underway in the second half. Dublin ahead by four: 3-6 0-11

Hannon adds another almost immediately with a fine score from almost right out on the left-hand sideline. The youngster then adds a free to leave Dublin ahead by just two. 3-6 0-13

Paul Ryan restore a three-point cushion with their first score in almost 20 minutes. It’s a superbly-taken free from just inside the half way line. Dublin ahead: 3-7 0-13

Limerick are having a good spell at the moment in terms of possession but they’ve just missed a couple of chances to narrow the gap and you’d have to wonder if they will be costly by the full-time whistle.

O’Mahony fouls Rushe and allows Ryan collect another easy free. Dublin ahead: 3-8 0-13

Anthony Daly looks concerned on the sidelines. A couple of Ryan frees has given them a little bit of breathing space but Limerick are well in this and are looking to battle for every ball.

The Limerick crowd gets on Ryan’s back as he takes his time with a free. It drifts wide, giving the supporters in green and white a little further hope.

David Breen replaces Sean Tobin for Limerick. Both teams are struggling to get a grip of the game at the moment.

Hannon finally breaks the deadlock with a great score from play. He has nine points already today – what a talent.

Gavin O’Mahony charges forward and although he appears to be held by the Dublin defence, he’s penalised for taking too many steps.

Ryan is fouled by a dogged Limerick defence and he picks himself up to score another point. The forward has kept the score board ticking over almost by himself and is the crucial difference between the teams at the moment. 3-9 0-14.

Hannon and O’Callaghan trade points, leaving four between the teams with a quarter of an hour to go. 3-10 0-15

Kevin Downes adds another for Limerick and when James Ryan is fouled by Shane Durkin within seconds, Hannon reduces the gap to two points. Dublin ahead: 3-10 0-17

A fine point from play for Paul Ryan edges Dublin three points back in front, before Hannon has a goal effort saved by Maguire. This is end-to-end stuff with ten minutes left to play. 3-11 0-17

O’Mahony hammers a free over from near half way. Just two points between the teams once again.

Wides from David Breen and Hannon see Limerick fail to breech that two-point gap.

Another wide from Seamus Hickey after a stirring run from the back.

Typically, it’s Dublin that actually get the next score – through Ryan O’Dwyer at the other end.

Limerick need a goal and haven’t looked like scoring one all afternoon.

James Ryan notches up Limerick’s 15th wide of the match and that’s a statistic they look like they’ll regret later this evening.

Ryan O’Dwyer is receiving medical attention after getting a nasty blow to the head. He’s also just been confirmed Man of the Match for his contribution – particularly his hat trick of goals.

He has 3-2 in total… not too bad for a day’s work as he’s stretchered from the pitch.

Shane Ryan – on as a substitute – has pushed Dublin into a four-point lead as we head into injury time. Dublin ahead: 3-13 0-18

Ryan’s point proves to be the final score of the game as Dublin win 3-13 to 0-18.

Full Time: Dublin are into their first All-Ireland SHC semi-final since 1948 as three Ryan O’Dwyer goals prove to be the difference between the NHL champions and Donal O’Grady’s improving side. Limerick will have regrets though – several misses when there was just two points between the teams – but there were lots of positives as well, including the performance of Declan Hannon.

That’s it for our coverage of the opening game at Semple Stadium. Next up: Waterford v Galway and the weather seems to have dried up in Thurles too!


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