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Limerick end 22-year wait for league honours in style with final win over Waterford

Eight points the margin that separated the teams in Croke Park

Limerick 1-24 
Waterford 0-19

Fintan O’Toole reports from Croke Park

SEVEN MONTHS ON from the golden day of success that ended their long Liam MacCarthy wait, Limerick’s hurlers hit their latest milestone this afternoon by achieving another breakthrough.

Darragh O'Donovan, Declan Hannon and Dan Morrissey with Jamie Barron Jamie Barron in action for Waterford against Limerick's Dan Morrissey. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

In their first league decider in 13 years, they lifted the title for the first time since 1997. It was fully merited as well, another day when they stamped their dominance on an encounter and sparkled to see off Waterford.

Aaron Gillane was the star turn with a return of 1-9, bagging 1-5 of that total from play. He has been in sublime form all spring and this was a perfect way to round off a storming personal start to 2019.

Limerick’s first-half goal was a product of ingenuity and skill. Tom Morrissey smashed in a delivery from the middle third and Gillane, who had stole in behind the covering defence, doubled it home in the air with a brilliant swipe. That 28th minute strike pushed them ahead 1-9 to 0-8 after a phase where Waterford had made considerable inroads to Limerick’s scoreboard advantage and gained a foothold in the exchanges.

Limerick exploded from the blocks early on. They chalked up eight points inside 13 minutes. Aaron Gillane supplied half of that total, his fourth score summing up the energy Limerick were displaying as Cian Lynch robbed Tadhg De Búrca and his Patrickswell club-mate pounced on the break to score.

Hit by that whirlwind opening, Waterford did well to steady themselves and work their way into the game. They rattled off four points without reply by the 20th minute, conceded a super score when Peter Casey was on target and then hit another brace. Ten minutes to the break and Waterford had clawed within a point. Stephen Bennett was sustaining their hopes, shooting over seven of their eight points.

But the Gillane goal spurred Limerick on as they raced ahead 1-12 to 0-10 by the interval, hitting the last three points of the half. A similar theme unfolded in the second half, Limerick surging clear any time Waterford approached.

A 1-13 to 0-11 lead in the 39th minute became a 1-16 to 0-11 advantage by the 44th minute. And when Waterford got within five again, 1-19 to 0-17 in the 64th minute, Limerick acclerated clear once more to outscore them 0-5 to 0-2 in the rest of the game. The champions stay on top.

Scorers for Limerick: Aaron Gillane 1-9 (0-4f), Gearóid Hegarty, Peter Casey 0-3 each, Cian Lynch, Shane Dowling (0-1f) 0-2 each, Declan Hannon, Tom Morrissey, Darragh O’Donovan (0-1 sideline), Graeme Mulcahy, Séamus Flanagan 0-1 each.

Scorers for Waterford: Stephen Bennett 0-9 (0-6f), Pauric Mahony 0-5 (0-4f), Austin Gleeson 0-2 (0-1 sideline), Philip Mahony, Kevin Moran, Jack Prendergast 0-1 each. 

Limerick

1. Nickie Quaid (Effin)

2. Tom Condon (Knockaderry)
3. Sean Finn (Bruff)
4. Richie English (Doon)

5. Diarmuid Byrnes (Patrickswell)
6. Declan Hannon (Adare) (captain)
7. Dan Morrissey (Ahane)

8. Cian Lynch (Patrickswell)
9. Darragh O’Donovan (Doon)

12. Tom Morrissey (Ahane)
11. Kyle Hayes (Kildimo/Pallaskenry)
10. Gearoid Hegarty (St. Patrick’s)

13. Aaron Gillane (Patrickswell)
14. Peter Casey (Na Piarsaigh)
15. Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock)

Subs

17. Mike Casey (Na Piarsaigh) for Condon (half-time)
20. Seamus Flanagan (Feohanagh) for Mulcahy (55)
19. Shane Dowling (Na Piarsaigh) for Tom Morrissey (64)
22. Barry Murphy (Doon) for Gillane (64)
24. Paddy O’Loughlin (Kilmallock) for Hannon (69)

Waterford

1. Stephen O’Keeffe (Ballygunner)

2. Shane McNulty (De La Salle)
3. Callum Lyons (Ballyduff Lower)
4. Noel Connors (Passage) (captain)

5. Philip Mahony (Ballygunner)
6. Tadhg De Búrca (Clashmore-Kinsalebeg)
7. Kevin Moran (De La Salle)

8. Jamie Barron (Fourmilewater)
24. Michael Walsh (Stradbally) 

11. Mikey Kearney (Ballyduff Upper)
9. Austin Gleeson (Mount Sion) 
12. Pauric Mahony (Ballygunner)

13. Peter Hogan (Ballygunner)
14. Stephen Bennett (Ballysaggart)
15. Shane Bennett (Ballysaggart)

Subs

9. Jack Prendergast (Lismore) for Walsh (half-time)
23. Thomas Ryan (Tallow) for Shane Bennett (47)
20. Conor Prunty (Abbeyside) for Lyons (48)
21. Patrick Curran (Dungarvan) for Hogan (56)
26. Stephen Roche (Mount Sion) for Kearney (60)

Referee: James Owens (Wexford)

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About the author:

Fintan O'Toole

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