Neville stars as Limerick defeat Cork to land first McGrath Cup title since 2005

The attacker shot 0-7 in Limerick’s victory at the Gaelic Grounds.

Limerick 0-20
Cork 0-16

SOME JANUARY CHEER for the Limerick footballers, silverware delivered in the shape of the McGrath Cup title at the expense of Cork as they rounded off their pre-season campaign tonight.

It marked the first time that Limerick had triumphed in this Munster competition since 2005, a positive response from Billy Lee’s team after a couple of difficult experiences last year at the hands of their opponents.

tommy-griffin-and-ian-maguire Limerick's Tommy Griffin and Cork's Ian Maguire. Ken Sutton / INPHO Ken Sutton / INPHO / INPHO

There was a large gulf between the teams in their previous meeting in last June’s Munster semi-final, Limerick retaining eight survivors for this re-match while Cork started with three. The game was an open encounter packed with pace and a steady flow of scores throughout. Limerick plotted their way into a position of strength at the midway mark when they were four points to the good and that scoreboard cushion could be relied on throughout the second half.

Ballysteen club man Danny Neville sparkled in front of goal for Limerick, contributing 0-7 in a fine evening’s work. Five of those arrived from play and a brace of kicks after claiming attacking marks while he was aided by a positive showing up front from team-mate Seamus O’Carroll.

Midfielder Ian Maguire was the primary source of Cork inspiration, his charging runs helping to yield second-half openings while attackers Damien Gore, Ciaran Sheehan and Cathal O’Mahony chipped in points at different junctures. Midfielder Thomas Clancy and substitute Brian Hurley weighed in with a brace of scores apiece yet Ronan McCarthy’s team ultimately had too much ground to make up after faltering during the first half.

ciaran-sheehan-shoots-on-goal Ciaran Sheehan shoots over a first-half point. Ken Sutton / INPHO Ken Sutton / INPHO / INPHO

They were outscored 0-9 to 0-3 between the 5th and 34th minutes, Limerick gaining a grip on the exchanges and never subsequently relinquishing it. There was plenty energy about Limerick in that opening half. They trailed 0-3 to 0-2 after five minutes but then stamped their intentions on home turf. By the break nine different players had impacted in the scoring stakes. With three defenders and two midfielders raising white flags, it illustrated the pattern of Limerick’s play with plenty willing runners joining their attacks from deep.

Limerick retired at the break with a 0-12 to 0-8 advantage yet suffered the setback of losing defender Paul Maher to the sin bin just before the interval. It didn’t prove damaging to their cause, they matched Cork in the scoring stakes at 0-2 apiece in the early second-half phase when Maher was marked absent.

The new playing rule changes influenced Limerick more favourably when it came to the attacking mark, Danny Neville sweeping over a pair of shots in quick succession in the third quarter when he was supplied by long deliveries.

Cork managed to string together their best run after those Neville efforts, popping over four points on the bounce between the 48th and 56th minutes. That left them 0-16 to 0-14 adrift but was as close to Limerick as they managed to get.

An injury-time brace from Neville concluded Limerick’s evening of success, the thoughts of both camps switching to the late January throw-on for National League fare.

Scorers for Limerick: Danny Neville 0-7 (0-2 mark), Seamus O’Carroll, Jamie Lee (0-3f) 0-3 each, Iain Corbett 0-2, Michael Donovan, Robert Childs, Tommy Griffin, Adrian Enright, Cillian Fahy 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cork: Cathal O’Mahony (0-2f), Damien Gore 0-3 each, Ciaran Sheehan, Thomas Clancy, Brian Hurley (0-1f) 0-2 each, Cian Kiely, Sean White, Tadhg Corkery, Killian O’Hanlon 0-1 each.


1. Donal O’Sullivan (Monaleen)

2. Paul Maher (Adare)
3. Brian Fanning (Pallasgreen)
4. Michael Donovan (Galbally)

5. Tony McCarthy (Kildimo-Pallaskenry)
6. Iain Corbett (Newcastlewest – captain)
7. Robert Childs (Galtee Gaels)

8. Tommy Griffin (Gerald Griffins)
9. Adrian Enright (Fr Casey’s)

10. Pádraig De Brún (Firies- Kerry) 
11. Cillian Fahy (Dromcollogher/Broadford)
12. Seamus O’Carroll (Castleknock – Dublin)

14. Danny Nevill (Ballysteen)
22. Patrick Begley (Mungret/St Paul’s)
13. Jamie Lee (Newcastlewest)


15. Gerard Stack (Gerald Griffins) for Begley (49)
20. Tommie Childs (Galtee Gaels) for Griffin (53)
25. James Naughton (St Senan’s) for De Brún (56)
23. Padraig Scanlon (Glin) for Lee (66)
26. Davy Lyons (Adare) for Enright (inj) (68)


1. Anthony Casey (Kiskeam)

4. Paul Ring (Aghabullogue)
2. Sam Ryan (St Finbarr’s)
3. Aidan Browne (Newmarket)

5. Kevin Crowley (Millstreet)
6. Seán Meehan (Kiskeam)
7. Cian Kiely (Ballincollig)

8. Ian Maguire (St Finbarr’s)
9. Thomas Clancy (Clonakilty)

12. Mattie Taylor (Mallow)
11. Ciaran Sheehan (Éire Óg)
10. Tadhg Corkery (Cill na Martra)

13. Damien Gore (Kilmacabea)
14. Cathal O’Mahony (Mitchelstown)
15. Michael Hurley (Castlehaven)


19. Sean White (Clonakilty) for Hurley (half-time)
24. Brian Hurley (Castlehaven) for Sheehan (49)
20. Killian O’Hanlon (Kilshannig) for Clancy (50)
21. Shane Forde (Na Piarsaigh) for Corkery (55)
18. John O’Rourke (Carbery Rangers) for Gore (55)

Referee: Brendan Griffin (Kerry)

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