# Nailbiter
Limerick survive Cork test in Munster hurling thriller to set up final against Clare
40,847 watched on at the Gaelic Grounds.

Limerick 3-25

Cork 1-30

THE GAME ENDED with the sight of a sea of green invading Limerick’s home venue, eager to salute John Kiely’s hurling heroes once more.

cathal-oneill-scores-the-second-goal Ryan Byrne / INPHO Cathal O'Neill scores Limerick's second goal of the game. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

A championship victory on their own patch, interest retained in the rest of this hurling summer and the added bonus, thanks to Waterford’s revival in Thurles, of a Munster final spot against Clare next month, as their provinical five-in-a-row bid remains intact.

It was a close-run thing though, they were subjected to a fierce examination of their credentials by a Cork team that pushed them to the wire. For Pat Ryan’s charges the outcome was a heartbreaking one, a defeat by a one-point loss for the second successive Sunday confirms their exit from the 2023 race.

Limerick were in pole position with ten minutes to go as they coasted seven clear, yet Cork inserted doubt into the equation with a scoring spree of 1-3. Patrick Horgan, who finished with 1-14 to his name, ignited the charge by cracking a ground shot to the net, while Seamus Harnedy and Darragh Fitzgibbon weaved through to find the gaps in the Limerick defence that yielded points.

Four times Cork got the gap down to one going down the stretch but they could not draw level. Limerick summoned the scoring responses when needed to keep themselves ahead where it mattered. By the final whistle they had protected their winning position and could afford to look in anticipation towards the rest of the season.

darragh-odonovan-celebrates-after-the-game Ryan Byrne / INPHO Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

The pace of the game was relentless from the off. 17 different players got on the scoresheet in the first half – nine Limerick and eight Cork. By the 15th minute, Limerick had registered points courtesy of seven starters to go ahead 0-7 to 0-5. Cork regained the momentum in stunning fashion as they posted six points in a whirlwind three-minute period.

The two critical scores were supplied by Limerick, rattling two shots past Patrick Collins. Seamus Flanagan drilled home in the 22nd minute after a Kyle Hayes delivery and Aaron Gillance catch fashioned the opening. Then in the 31st minute, the ferocious work rate of William O’Donoghue caught Niall O’Leary in possession and the Na Piarsaigh man offloaded amidst a swarm of Cork players to Cathal O’Neill, the youngster charging through to finish clinically. Limerick could have netted earlier but Aaron Gillane was denied by the butt of the upright and separately by the alertness of Patrick Collins to smother his shot.

The Cork response to the goal setbacks was telling. They hit the next two points of the game after Flanagan’s strike and then when Limerick pushed three clear, energised by the O’Neill effort, it was Cork who knocked over the last three points of the half.

Deadlocked at the interval, 2-12 to 0-18, and in the baking sun everyone got a chance to breathe.

aaron-gillane-and-sean-odonoghue Ryan Byrne / INPHO Limerick's Aaron Gillane and Cork's Sean O'Donoghue. Ryan Byrne / INPHO / INPHO

In the third quarter Limerick pushed ahead. The vital scoring touch was applied by Diarmaid Byrnes as he smashed home a 44th minute penalty, awarded for a foul by Sean O’Donoghue on Aaron Gillane. That third goal widened the gap to four points and while Cork almost netted immediately after as Tim O’Mahony flashed a shot wide, they were stuck in chase mode for the remainder of the game.

Cork’s effort to claw back the deficit was admirable. Limerick missing opportunities were a factor in that regard as the wide count finished 15-7 in their favour. Time ran out though on the day and on Cork’s season, Limerick’s reign of Munster supremacy maintained.

Scorers for Limerick: Diarmaid Byrnes 1-4 (1-0 pen, 0-1 ’65), Seamus Flanagan 1-3, Aaron Gillane 0-5 (0-2f), Cathal O’Neill 1-0, Darragh O’Donovan 0-3, Gearoid Hegarty 0-3, Tom Morrissey 0-2, Barry Nash 0-1, Declan Hannon 0-1, Kyle Hayes 0-1, William O’Donoghue 0-1, Peter Casey 0-1.

Scorers for Cork: Patrick Horgan 1-14 (0-11f), Seamus Harnedy 0-4, Darragh Fitzgibbon 0-4, Declan Dalton 0-3 (0-2f), Shane Kingston 0-2, Robert Downey 0-1, Luke Meade 0-1, Tim O’Mahony 0-1.


1. Nickie Quaid (Effin)

2. Mike Casey (Na Piarsaigh), 3. Dan Morrissey (Ahane), 4. Barry Nash (South Liberties)

5. Diarmaid Byrnes (Patrickswell), 6. Declan Hannon (Adare – captain), 7. Kyle Hayes (Kildimo-Pallaskenry)

8. Darragh O’Donovan (Doon), 9. William O’Donoghue (Na Piarsaigh)

10. Gearoid Hegarty (St Patrick’s), 25. Cathal O’Neill (Crecora-Manister), 12. Tom Morrissey (Ahane)

15. Peter Casey (Na Piarsaigh), 14. Séamus Flanagan (Feohanagh-Castlemahon), 13. Aaron Gillane (Patrickswell)


  • 22. Richie English (Doon) for Hannon (53)
  • 26. David Reidy (Dromin-Athlacca) for O’Neill (57)
  • 19. Colin Coughlan (Ballybrown) for Michael Casey (65)
  • 23. Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock) for Peter Casey (65)
  • 11. Cian Lynch (Patrickswell) for O’Donovan (66)


1. Patrick Collins (Ballinhassig)

4. Sean O’Donoghue (Inniscarra – captain), 3. Damien Cahalane (St Finbarr’s), 2. Niall O’Leary (Castlelyons)

5. Ger Millerick (Fr O’Neill’s), 6. Ciarán Joyce (Castlemartyr), 7. Robert Downey (Glen Rovers)

8. Brian Roche (Bride Rovers), 9. Luke Meade (Newcestown)

11. Darragh Fitzgibbon (Charleville), 10. Tim O’Mahony (Newtownshandrum), 15. Séamus Harnedy (St Ita’s)

12. Declan Dalton (Fr O’Neills), 14. Patrick Horgan (Glen Rovers), 13. Shane Kingston (Douglas)


  • 19. Ethan Twomey (St Finbarr’s) for Meade (blood) (36)
  • Meade for Twomey (half-time)
  • 24. Brian Hayes (St Finbarr’s) for Roche (39)
  • 25. Conor Lehane (Midleton) for O’Mahony (53)
  • 26. Padraig Power (Blarney) for Kingston (57)
  • 19. Ethan Twomey for Meade (60)

Referee: James Owens (Wexford)

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