Ken Sutton/INPHO
Munster hurling
Limerick survive Waterford comeback
Flanagan’s first half goal the difference between the sides

LAST UPDATE | Apr 23rd 2023, 3:50 PM

Limerick: 1-18

Waterford: 0-19 

REMEMBER THE GOOD old days when a winning manager would stand in front of a crowd of disbelieving journalists and lambast them for having wrote them off prior to the game?

That’s all passé now.

After coming out of a proper scrap of a Munster championship match against Waterford, Limerick manager John Kiely wasn’t going to rest until he had nailed all of those with the bare-faced cheek to pay tribute to the champions greatness and prospects of putting together six-in-a-row.

“Let’s be honest about it, there was some amount of bullshit spoken about our team and the season ahead this week and the week before. It’s a softening-up exercise, mentally I suppose, from those outside of our camp,” said Kiely.

“But we’re around a long time. We know that’s all folly and nonsense. Every day you go out you’re there to be beaten. We saw that again today. Couple of chances go left, right on you and you’re in that situation where you lose your game.

“Every day we go out we know that we can possibly be beaten. That’s just the way it is.”

He added, “So I think that was a lot of nonsense. I think people might hopefully have a bit more reality about their perspective and their analysis about where things are going.

“Just maybe focus more on the fact that we’re playing Clare next weekend and we played them for nearly 100 minutes here last year and there wasn’t a puck of the ball between us. Same in Ennis last year.”

If this was an exercise in guarding against complacency, then you immediately get what he is doing here.

Waterford were lying in grass that hadn’t had a trim since last summer. Possibly before. They took an age to get motoring here but by the end they had Limerick clinging on by their fingertips.

Two points in the end was the margin. Waterford had nine chances sent wide in the second half. Late on, Austin Gleeson booted the ball over the bar but a free was given for something only referee Liam Gordon knows.

While Stephen Bennett, on a day he was horsed into around the Thurles pitch and otherwise excellent, didn’t make a clean connection with a late, close-in free and it flew to a grateful Limerick goalkeeper Nickie Quaid.

Prior to the game, RTÉ’s Damian Lawlor nabbed a quick word with Waterford manager Davy Fitzgerald.

“We have to be there after 25 minutes, if I were Limerick I would try and test us early,” said the Clare man.

After that period had elapsed, Waterford were 1-8 to 0-5 down and things were starting to look ugly for them.

For all the chat about evolution, Limerick started the same 15 as began the 2021 All-Ireland final and raced into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead, using the wind to their advantage.

The final point of that sequence summed up their supremacy in the opening stages. Jamie Barron was crouched over a sideline cut and Limerick players were invading his space. He tried to loft the ball but Will O’Donoghue stretched one of those telescopic limbs of his to get a breaking touch.

Cian Lynch snaffled up the break and dished off to Peter Casey to fling over.

It was characteristic of an error-strewn beginning from Waterford and the assurdness of Limerick. A mishit puckout from goalkeeper Billy Nolan ended up being punished by Gearoid Hegarty and three wides in the opening quarter did nothing to steady themselves.

Limerick did catch a streak of luck for their goal. Tadhg de Burca was playing as a deep lying sweeper just in front of Kyle Hayes up against championship debutant Mark Fitzgerald – which is a frightening prospect in itself.

But off the ball, de Burca went down with an ankle injury and was out of the play when that aforementioned duo raced to a Seamus Flanagan pass. When the ball broke, Flanagan had made up the yards and tried to poke towards goal. Calum Lyons only temporarily halted it when he flung himself to the ground but Flanagan tidied things up at the second chance.

A facet of the first half was the treatment meted out to Waterford captain Stephen Bennett. He was struck on the helmet by Barry Nash and caught high by Flanagan and yet still managed to rustle up 12 points across the day.

After the break Waterford came out with a different look and hammered over the first three points and cut the margin to a single point.

Limerick were then awarded a penalty with Aaron Gillane adjudged to having been held by Conor Prunty. Gillane’s shot was low and hard but Billy Nolan held his nerve to keep it out.

The game then took on a surreal twist when Gearoid Hegarty had a heavy collision with Conor Gleeson that brought a second yellow card. In the midst of the outrage, a member of the Waterford backroom team struck out at Hegarty. Brave man. He was awarded a red card himself.

gearoid-hegarty-reacts-to-being-punched-by-a-member-of-the-waterford-backroom-team Ken Sutton / INPHO Gearoid Hegarty. Ken Sutton / INPHO / INPHO

But with the extra man, Waterford sent in Austin Gleeson. They temporarily lost their way however with Limerick gobbling up the next four scores through Tom Morrissey, a Barry Nash special after Cian Lynch beautifully put him in the clear by feathering an aerial ball his way, and two from Hayes.

From that point on, Waterford outscored the Treaty, 0-6 to 0-2. They also had four wides.

It would be a stretch to say Limerick were out on their feet. They led the game from pillar to post. But it’s also true to say they were sucking in air when Waterford were letting go of all the haymakers.

Winning in the face of such adversity is bound to delight Kiely.

Scorers for Limerick: Aaron Gillane 0-7 (0-5f), Seamus Flanagan (1-1), Diarmuid Byrnes 0-3 (2f), Tom Morrissey 0-2, Gearoid Hegarty 0-2, Peter Casey 0-2, Barry Nash 0-1.

Scorers for Waterford: Stephen Bennett 0-12 (0-10f), Dessie Hutchinson 0-3, Conor Gleeson, Jamie Barron, Austin Gleeson, Patrick Fitzgerald 0-1 each.


1. Nickie Quaid (Effin)

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

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

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

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

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


18. Mike Casey (Na Piarsaigh) for Hannon (15)

25. Cathal O’Neill (Crecora) for Flanagan (60)

26. David Reidy (Dromin-Athlacca) for O’Donoghue (68)

17. Conor Boylan (Na Piarsaigh) for Peter Casey (74)



1. Billy Nolan (Roanmore)

2. Conor Gleeson (The Nire), 3. Conor Prunty (Abbeyside), 4. Mark Fitzgerald (Passage)

5. Calum Lyons (Ballyduff Lower), 6. Tadhg de Burca (Clashmore), 7. Jack Fagan (De La Salle)

8. Darragh Lyons (Dungarvan), 9. Jamie Barron (The Nire)

10. Neil Montgomery (Abbeyside), 11. Dessie Hutchinson (Ballygunner), 12. Michael Kelly (Abbeyside)

13. Colin Dunford (Colligan), 14. Stephen Bennett (Ballysaggart), 15. Jack Prendergast (Lismore)


18. Tom Barron (Fourmilewater) for de Burca (23)

22. Austin Gleeson (Mount Sion) for Dunford (51)

24. Patrick Fitzgerald (Ballygunner) for Prendergast (60)

23. Padraig Fitzgerald (Kilrossanty) for Montgomery (60)

Referee: Liam Gordon (Galway)

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