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Limerick's dominance continues as they power past Waterford to reach All-Ireland final

John Kiely’s team had 11 points to spare in Croke Park.

Limerick 1-25

Waterford 0-17

FOR THE THIRD time in the space of nine months, Limerick and Waterford came together in hurling championship combat.

gearoid-hegarty-and-calum-lyons Gearoid Hegarty and Calum Lyons. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The latest meeting followed a now established pattern, Waterford throwing themselves into the contest and Limerick able to withstand the pressure before a steady stream of scores pulled them clear.

Last year it was Munster and All-Ireland final triumphs over the Deise, today Limerick added an All-Ireland semi-final success. The only cloud on their horizon is the potential loss of Peter Casey for that decider after he was shown a red card in the 60th minute for an off the ball incident.

Once Limerick got going to unleash an awseome second quarter showing, little doubt surrounded the end result. When Aaron Gillane pounced for the only goal of the game in the 55th minute after Gearoid Hegarty played him through following a turnover in the Waterford defence, the contest was settled.

aaron-gillane-with-shane-bennett Aaron Gillane with Shane Bennett. Source: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

Waterford thundered into the match early on. Their aggression was captured best by Stephen Bennett as he put in some withering hits. Their supporters roared when Diarmaid Byrnes coughed up a sideline that Austin Gleeson pointed in the 7th minute but Bennett found it difficult to land frees and they couldn’t make a scoring impression from play.

At the water break Limerick were in front 0-4 to 0-3 and that margin swelled substantially before half time. They were 0-15 to 0-7 clear at the midway mark, a string of six unanswered points setting the tone. Darragh O’Donovan dictated the action around the middle while Seamus Flanagan, Tom Morrissey and Cian Lynch caught fire up front, that trio finishing with a combined return of 0-12 from play.

But all over the pitch Limerick’s stickwork and interplay were outstanding, as they prised Waterford apart to pick off their points. Liam Cahill’s team faced an unenviable task at the interval. The deficit stood at ten by the 45th minute yet Waterford reeled off six of the next eight points that the game served up, including four on the bounce. Calum Lyons weighed in with a couple of impressive efforts in that time frame.

cian-lynch-scores-a-point Limerick's Cian Lynch scores a point. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

And then Limerick conjured up that critical score, a hammer setback for Waterford in the timing as it occurred on the cusp of the water break, Gillane lashing a strike that gave goalkeeper Shaun O’Brien no chance.

From there Limerick’s scoreboard superiority was assured. The dismissal of Casey was a rare low moment on the day for John Kiely’s team and they still outscored Waterford 0-4 to 0-2 while operating with 14 men.

That was also due to Waterford chasing goals instead of tapping over simple points. They found Limerick’s defence impossible to break down. Nickie Quaid made two impressive blocks to deny shots from Gleeson and Jamie Barron, while Kyle Hayes produced a marvellous flick late on as Patrick Curran prepared to pull the trigger.

Waterford desperately sought a goal but it refused to come, the third successive championship match against Limerick where they were unable to raise a green flag. The champions march on, looking intent on retaining their crown with Cork or Kilkenny the last obstacle that Limerick must surmount.

Scorers for Limerick: Aaron Gillane 1-6 (0-5f), Tom Morrissey 0-5, Seamus Flanagan 0-4, Cian Lynch 0-3, Diarmaid Byrnes (0-1f), Peter Casey 0-2 each, William O’Donoghue, Darragh O’Donovan (0-1f), Gearoid Hegarty 0-1 each.

Scorers for Waterford: Stephen Bennett 0-6 (0-5f), Austin Gleeson 0-4 (0-1f, 0-1 sideline), Calum Lyons, Dessie Hutchinson, Jamie Barron 0-2 each, Kieran Bennett 0-1 each.

Limerick

1. Nickie Quaid (Effin)

2. Sean Finn (Bruff), 3. Dan Morrissey (Ahane), 4. Barry Nash (South Liberties).

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

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

10. Gearoid Hegarty (St. Patrick’s), 11. Cian Lynch (Patrickswell), 12. Tom Morrissey (Ahane).

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

Subs

25. David Reidy (Dromin-Athlacca) for Hegarty (66)

22. Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock) for Flanagan (67)

20. Richie English (Doon) for Byrnes (68)

17. Conor Boylan (Na Piarsaigh) for Lynch (70)

19. Colin Coughlan (Ballybrown) for Nash (inj) (72)

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Waterford

1. Shaun O’Brien (De La Salle)

4. Shane McNulty (De La Salle), 3. Conor Prunty (Abbeyside), 2. Ian Kenny (Ballygunner).

6. Shane Bennett (Ballysaggart). 

7. Kieran Bennett (Ballysaggart), 24. Conor Gleeson (Fourmilewater), 5. Calum Lyons (Ballyduff Lower).

8. Jamie Barron (Fourmilewater), 9. Peter Hogan (Ballygunner)

10. Jack Fagan (De La Salle), 12. Stephen Bennett (Ballysaggart), 11. Jack Prendergast (Lismore).

13. Dessie Hutchinson (Ballygunner), 14. Austin Gleeson (Mount Sion).

Subs

21. Michael Kiely (Abbeyside) for Prendergast (44)

18. Darragh Lyons (Dungarvan) for Hogan (44)

22. Neil Montgomery (Abbeyside) for Fagan (52)

20. Shane Fives (Tourin) for Kenny (55)

15. Patrick Curran (Dungarvan) for Shane Bennett (55)

Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow)

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from Croke Park

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