Fintan O’Toole reports from Semple Stadium, Thurles
TIPPERARY CLAIMED THE first hurling title on offer in Thurles today with a three-point victory over Limerick in an exciting Electric Ireland Munster minor hurling final.
The Premier denied Limerick a third successive crown at this level but the game finished in controversy when referee Joe Larkin only played one minute of the two that had been announced for injury-time.
Limerick players and management were furious with the decision in a game where they had been in front by 0-17 to 0-16 with five minutes left.
The referee blew the full-time whistle just after Limerick captain Eoghan McNamara’s 20-yard free had been blocked by the Tipperary rearguard with players challenging for possession near the Tipperary goalmouth.
Tipperary stormed to the finish line as they notched four points without reply in the closing stages. Three of those came from man-of-the-match Lyndon Fairbrother and substitute Shane Neville then struck the final point.
An outstanding display by Peter Casey was not enough to secure the spoils for Limerick. The Na Piarsaigh club man, who scored 1-6 in the semi-final win over Cork, bagged 0-13 in all.
He struck over 10 placed balls and fired three lovely efforts from play. But Limerick’s prospects were damaged by the lack of other scorers in chief.
Casey’s heroics left Limerick in front 0-10 to 0-8 at the interval with the Na Piarsaigh man scoring 0-8 in the first-half. Tipperary looked dangerous at times with Liam McCutcheon impressing at midfield.
In the second-half Tipperary strung together four points without reply early on to go in front 0-12 to 0-10. Limerick responded with four points of their won but another Tipperary fightback left the teams deadlocked at 0-14 apiece entering the final quarter.
Fairbrother and Tommy Nolan made notable impacts in front of goal for the Premier as the half wore on and that proved decisive to help deliver silverware for Liam Cahill’s side.
Scorers for Tipperary: Lyndon Fairbrother 0-7 (0-4f), Tommy Nolan 0-3, Liam McCutcheon, Alan Tynan, Garry Ryan 0-2 each, Daragh Carey, Cian Darcy, Shane Neville, David Gleeson 0-1 each.
Scorers for Limerick: Peter Casey 0-13 (0-10f), Seamus Flanagan, Barry Murphy, Michael Mackey, Thomas Grimes 0-1 each.
1. Padraig Hayes (Ballingarry)
2. Enda Heffernan (Clonoulty Rossmore)
3. Emmet Moloney (Drom & Inch)
4. James Quigley (Kildangan)
5. Kevin Hassett (Drom & Inch)
6. Brian McGrath (Loughmore Castleiney)
7. Darragh Peters (capt) (Kilruane McDonaghs)
8. Daragh Carey (Templederry Kenyons)
9. Liam McCutcheon (Templederry Kenyons)
10. Cian Darcy (Kilruane McDonaghs)
12. Alan Tynan (Roscrea)
11. Garry Ryan (Borrisokane)
13. Tommy Nolan (Drom & Inch)
14. David Gleeson (Ballinahinch)
15. Lyndon Fairbrother (J.K. Brackens)
19. Jack Skehan (Holycross Ballycahill) for Heffernan (40)
20. Ruadhan Mulrooney (Portroe) for McCutcheon (54)
23. Shane Neville (Lattin Cullen) for Darcy (56)
1. Eoghan McNamama (captain) (Doon)
2. Thomas Hayes (Doon)
3. Conor McSweeney (South Liberties)
4. Jack O Grady (Knockainey)
5. Conor Byrnes (Murroe Boher)
6. Paddy O Loughlin (Kilmallock)
7. Conor Houlihan (Na Piarsaigh)
8. Darragh Carroll (Kilteely Dromkeen)
9. Thomas Grimes (Na Piarsaigh)
10. Kyle Hayes (Kildimo Pallaskenry)
14. Mickey Mackey (Adare)
12. Brian Ryan (South Liberties)
13. Peter Casey (Na Piarsaigh)
11. Seamus Flanagan (Feohanagh Castlemahon)
15. Barry Murphy (Doon)
19. Paudie Ahern (Kileedy) for Hayes (40)
23. Willie O’Meara (Askeaton) for Mackey (54)
18. Conor Boylan (Na Piarsaigh) for Carroll (57)
Referee: Joe Larkin (Cork)