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Limerick hold off Galway comeback in All-Ireland semi-final battle to set up clash with Waterford

Waterford await in the final on 13 December.

Limerick's Seamus Flanagan and Galway's Padraic Mannion.
Limerick's Seamus Flanagan and Galway's Padraic Mannion.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Limerick 0-27
Galway 0-24

JUST LIKE TWO years ago at the final stage, Limerick survived a Galway onslaught on a big hurling afternoon in Croke Park.

John Kiely’s side struck over four of the last five points of the game, steadying themselves in time after Galway had reeled them in to restore parity.

Galway, who were in flying form early on, saw their prospects damaged by the loss of Cathal Mannion, who limped off with a hamstring injury 24 minutes in. That setback was exacerbated by Joe Canning having to be taken off in a stretcher in the 68th minute after a heavy collision with his team-mate Joseph Cooney.

The treatment for Canning necessitated nine minutes of injury time and his replacement Evan Niland boomed over a couple of brilliant long-range shots. The second of those in the 75th minute left the teams locked at 0-23 apiece.

But Limerick displayed no evidence of panic. Tom Morrissey and Adrian Breen picked off points before Fintan Burke’s sublime sideline cut left the minimum separating them. It was frantic and whirlwind stuff yet Limerick had the greater composure. Morrissey with a brace, one from play and one from a free, to edge them into a final where they will renew acquaintainces with Munster rivals Waterford.

Limerick took over in the second quarter jere, the latest demonstration of their power in that phase of a game. They outscored Galway by 0-11 to 0-6 in that period and indeed it was 0-13 to 0-4 in Limerick’s favour between the 15th and 38th minutes.

Gearoid Hegarty was in exceptional form with four points from wing-forward but he was fortunate to escape sanction for a heavy challenge on Canning in the first half. Tom Morrissey and Diarmaid Byrnes also clipped over some brilliant scores.

For Galway, Brian Concannon was a bright spark in attack while Canning cut over three majestic sidelines from the Cusack Stand side in the first half and added another in the 41st minute. It was a day for immaculate sideline striking with Burke’s effort the fifth that Galway contributed.

aaron-gillane-with-daithi-burke Aaron Gillane in action against Daithi Burke. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Limerick had their openings to kill off the match but were not clinical when shots for goal presented themselves. Seamus Flanagan saw one blocked by Eanna Murphy, Kyle Hayes was crowded out as he shaped up to the rebound. David Reidy’s 55th minute opportunity was more clearcut but Murphy produced a terrific save.

They chalked up 16 wides in total and yet still hit over 27 points with the Hegarty-Morrissey double act prominent before the valuable inputs arrived off the bench courtesy of Peter Casey and Breen.

The final whistle was greeted with delight by the Limerick camp, a return to the last day of the hurling season assured after the disappointment they had experienced at this juncture last year.

Repeat the Munster final success and they will complete the hurling treble for 2020.

Scorers for Limerick: Aaron Gillane (0-5f) and Tom Morrissey (0-1f) 0-6 each, Gearoid Hegarty 0-4, Diarmaid Byrnes 0-3 (0-1f), Seamus Flanagan, Peter Casey and Cian Lynch 0-2 each, Declan Hannon and Adrian Breen 0-1 each. 

Scorers for Galway: Joe Canning 0-12 (0-8f, 0-4 sideline), Conor Whelan and Brian Concannon 0-3 apiece, Evan Niland 0-2 (0-1f), Cathal Mannion, Adrian Tuohey, Joseph Cooney and Fintan Burke (0-1 sideline) 0-1 each.

Limerick

1. Nickie Quaid (Effin)

2. Sean Finn (Bruff)
3. Dan Morrissey (Ahane)

4. Barry Nash (South Liberties)

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5. Diarmaid Byrnes (Patrickswell)
6. Declan Hannon (Adare)
7. Kyle Hayes (Kildimo/Pallaskenry)

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

10. Gearoid Hegarty (St. Patrick’s)
11. Cian Lynch (Patrickswell)
12. Tom Morrissey (Ahane)
15. Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock)

13. Aaron Gillane (Patrickswell)
14. Seamus Flanagan (Feohanagh-Castlemahon)

Subs

19. Peter Casey (Na Piarsaigh) for Mulcahy (40)
25. David Reidy (Dromin-Athlacca) for O’Donovan (52)
18. Adrian Breen (Na Piarsaigh) for Flanagan (62)
24. Paddy O’Loughlin (Kilmallock) for Hannon (74)
26. Pat Ryan (Doon) for Gillane (76)

Galway

1. Eanna Murphy (Tommie Larkins)

2. Aidan Harte (Gort)
3. Daithi Burke (Turloughmore)

8. Padraig Mannion (Ahascragh Fohenagh – captain)

19. Sean Loftus (Turloughmore)
4. Shane Cooney (St Thomas)
6. Gearoid McInerney (Oranmore/Maree)
7. Joseph Cooney (Sarsfields)

9. Johnny Coen (Loughrea)
12. David Burke (St Thomas)

14. Conor Cooney (St Thomas’)
11. Cathal Mannion (Ahascragh Fohenagh)
13. Brian Concannon (Killimordaly)

10. Joe Canning (Portumna)
15. Conor Whelan (Kinvara)

Subs

20. Adrian Tuohey (Beagh) for Cathal Mannion (inj) (24)
5. Fintan Burke (St Thomas) for David Burke (half-time)
22. Jason Flynn (Tommie Larkins) for Conor Cooney (45)
23. Sean Linnane (Turloughmore) for Shane Cooney (52)
21. Evan Niland (Clarinbridge) for Canning (inj) (68)

Referee: James Owens (Wexford)

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from Croke Park

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