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Limerick hold off brave Cork fight-back to lift their second Munster U21 title in three years

The Rebels trailed by 0-7 to no score after 14 minutes.

Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Limerick 0-16
Cork 1-11

Kevin O’Brien reports from the Gaelic Grounds, Limerick

THEY MADE HARD work of it, but Limerick eventually saw off a spirited Cork side to lift the Munster U21 hurling crown for the second time in three years.

Fourteen members of Pat Donnelly’s squad claimed provincial success in 2015, before going on to lift the All-Ireland crown later that summer.

Limerick will meet Galway in the semi-final this time around safe in the knowledge that seven of the last eight Munster winners have gone on to lift the All-Ireland title.

The Rebels were the better team for large swathes of this game but left themselves with too much to do after trailing by seven points on 14 minutes.

In front of a heaving 11,774 at the Gaelic Grounds, Cork battled back with Mark Coleman and Shane Kingston influential. They were within two points with six minutes left on the clock but the Shannonsiders held their nerve down the stretch.

Aaron Gillane posted a couple of crucial frees to give Limerick some breathing space and, despite a late Cork rally, they survived to lift the provincial title.

Playing against a strong breeze in the opening half, Cork lined out with senior star Coleman operating as a sweeper and a three-man midfield of Chris O’Leary, David Lowney and Michael O’Halloran.

Cork went more conventional for the second-half with the breeze at their backs while Limerick dropped Kyle Hayes as a spare man in front of their full-back line.

Sean O’Donoghue with Peter Casey Cork’s Sean O’Donoghue with Peter Casey of Limerick. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Limerick’s dangerous attack reeled off the first seven scores of the game to lead by 0-7 to no score after 14 minutes.

Kingston finally got the Rebels off the mark midway through the opening half and finally the Rebels started to show some form. Kingston added another before O’Mahony struck for a crucial 27th minute goal to give the away side hope.

Limerick led at half-time by 0-11 to 1-4 and a pair of Gillane frees after the restart stretched that lead to six. But Cork hit five of the next six scores, including a monster Coleman free from inside his own 45m, to leave them trailing by 0-14 to 1-9.

Gillane scored two frees when Limerick needed them most, but there was still fight in Cork late on. Coleman (free) and Kingston led a late charge, but they failed to find the goal they needed to snatch the win.

Scorers for Limerick: Aaron Gillane 0-6 (0-6f), Barry Nash, Thomas Grimes, Ronan Lynch (0-2f) and Peter Casey 0-2 each, Mike Mackey and Tom Morrissey 0-1 each.

Scorers for Cork: Tim O’Mahony 1-1, Shane Kingston 0-3, Declan Dalton, Mark Coleman (0-2f) and Michael O’Halloran 0-2 each, Robbie O’Flynn 0-1.

Limerick

1. Eoghan McNamara (Doon)

2. Seán Finn (Bruff)
6. Kyle Hayes (Kildimo-Pallaskenry)

5. Ronan Lynch (Na Piarsaigh)
4. Dan Joy (Kilmallock)
3. Darragh Fanning (Pallasgreen)

9. Robbie Hanley (Kilmallock)
8. Colin Ryan (Pallasgreen)
7. Thomas Grimes (Na Piarsaigh)

10. Aaron Gillane (Patrickswell)
11. Mike Mackey (Adare)
12. Cian Lynch (Patrickswell)

13. Peter Casey (Na Piarsaigh)
15. Barry Nash (South Liberties)
14. Tom Morrissey (Ahane)

Subs

17. Paudie Ahern (Killeedy) for Casey (42)
18. Conor Boylan (Na Piarsaigh) for Mackey (46)
22. Barry Murphy (Doon) for Morrissey (56)
20. Lorcan Lyons (Monaleen) for Hanley (61)

Cork

1. Patrick Collins (Ballinhassig)

3. Eoghan Murphy (Sarsfields)
4. David Griffin (Carrigaline)
2. John Cashman (Blackrock)

7. Mark Coleman (Blarney)

5. Sean O’Donoghue (Inniscarra)
9. Paul Leopold (Sarsfields)
6. Darren Browne (capt, Kanturk)

15. Chris O’Leary (Valley Rovers)
8. David Lowney (Clonakilty)
10. Michael O’Halloran (Blackrock)

11. Declan Dalton (Fr O’Neills)
14. Robbie O’Flynn (Erins Own)
12. Shane Kingston (Douglas)

13. Tim O’Mahony (Newtownshandrum)

Subs

17. Jack O’Connor (Sarsfields) for O’Leary (40)
20. Dave O’Neill (Mayfield) for Lowney (56)
22. John Looney (Aghada) for O’Mahony (57)

Referee: Rory McGann (Clare)

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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