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Limerick hold off Waterford to complete back-to-back Munster title wins for first time since 1981

Semple Stadium hosted today’s game.

Waterford's Shane McNulty and Limerick's Aaron Gillane.
Waterford's Shane McNulty and Limerick's Aaron Gillane.
Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Limerick 0-25
Waterford 0-21

THE SILVERWARE CONTINUES to stack up for Limerick under John Kiely’s watch and their status as 2020 hurling market leaders remains intact.

But that was only reinforced after they survived the stern examination posed by Waterford in today’s Munster final, an often gripping contest eventually settled by the closing kick that Limerick possessed in front of goal.

The successful defence of their provincial title was ensured by the manner in which they outscored Waterford 0-7 to 0-3 in the final quarter. Aaron Gillane again top scored with 0-10 while Graeme Mulcahy (0-4) and Peter Casey (0-3) also contributed significantly alongside him in the full-forward line as.

The eventual losers brought plenty to this showdown. Stephen Bennett was immense in attack for Waterford as he finished with 0-12 to his credit. Tadhg De Búrca gave another towering display in defence while at different stages Austin Gleeson, Jack Prendergast and Jake Dillon were really influential in directing the game.

diarmaid-byrnes-celebrates-after-winning Diarmaid Byrnes celebrates after Limerick's success. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Waterford were level at both water breaks while they trailed by three at half-time and four at the finish. That helped illustrate the nature of this game, passages of great effort by the Deise side to stay in the hunt and then Limerick unleashing their scoring class to push on. 

Waterford, cast as underdogs beforehand, would have been reasonably happy with the summary of the first half. They hit rough patches early on when Limerick’s forward movement looked sharp, all three members of the full-forward line pointing from play iniside the first four minutes, and the spell after the second water break when they were outscored by 0-5 to 0-1.

But Waterford dug in and stuck to their task in a determined fashion. They drew level at 0-7 apiece by the water break and trailed 0-14 to 0-11 at the break. Stephen Bennett’s free-taking was terrific, converting five and only missing one. His 32nd minute effort travelled all the way over the bar from 100 yards out while Austin Gleeson chipped in with two neat points in the early stages as well.

The problem they had to contend was Limerick never lost their capacity to rattle over points. Aaron Gillane chalked up six in the first half, divided between four frees and two from play, while Peter Casey was in lively form with a trio of scores.

jack-fagan-and-barry-nash Jack Fagan and Barry Nash in action. Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

Waterford roared into action after half-time. They struck the opening three points of the second half and outscored Limerick by 0-7 to 0-3 between the midway mark and the 51st minute. Then Limerick started to empty their bench with substitutes Seamus Flanagan and Adrian Breen both getting on the scoresheet late on. 

The gap stood at two, 0-21 to 0-19, in Limerick’s favour with ten minutes of normal time left on the clock. The champions anchored down their challenge with Sean Finn and Kyle Hayes both inspirational in defence. That prevented Waterford getting the goal they required with increasing desperation if they were going to salvage this.

Stephen Bennett cracked in a fierce drive from a 20-yard free that was tipped away for a ’65 that he converted while Prendergast and replacement Neil Montgomery were full of running but the opening just did not materialise. Limerick held firm and were crowned victors once more.

Scorers for Limerick: Aaron Gillane 0-10 (0-8f), Graeme Mulcahy 0-4, Peter Casey 0-3, Cian Lynch, Gearoid Hegarty, Diarmaid Byrnes (0-1f, 0-1 ’65) 0-2 each, Seamus Flanagan, Adrian Breen 0-1 each.

Scorers for Waterford: Stephen Bennett 0-12 (0-9f, 0-1 ’65), Austin Gleeson 0-3, Jake Dillon 0-2, Kieran Bennett, Dessie Hutchinson, Jack Prendergast, Patrick Curran 0-1 each.

Limerick

1. Nickie Quaid (Effin)

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

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

8. Cian Lynch (Patrickswell)
9. William O’Donoghue (Na Piarsaigh)

10. Gearoid Hegarty (St. Patrick’s)
11. David Reidy (Dromin-Athlacca)
12. Tom Morrissey (Ahane)

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

Subs

20. David Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh) for Tom Morrissey (52)
22. Seamus Flanagan (Feohanagh-Castlemahon) for Casey (52)
24. Darragh O’Donovan (Doon) for Reidy (56)
18. Adrian Breen (Na Piarsaigh) for Mulcahty (67)

Waterford

1. Stephen O’Keeffe (Ballygunner)

2. Shane Fives (Tourin)
3. Conor Prunty (Abbeyside – captain)
4. Shane McNulty (De La Salle)

7. Kevin Moran (De La Salle)
6. Tadhg De Búrca (Clashmore-Kinsalebeg)
5. Calum Lyons (Ballyduff Lower)

11. Kieran Bennett (Ballysaggart)
8. Jamie Barron (Fouremilewater)

15. Jack Prendergast (Lismore)
10. Jack Fagan (De La Salle)
9. Jake Dillon (De La Salle)

13. Dessie Hutchinson (Ballygunner)
12. Stephen Bennett (Ballysaggart)
14. Austin Gleeson (Mount Sion)

Subs

24. Neil Montgomery (Abbeyside) for Fagan (47)
19. Mikey Kearney (Ballyduff Upper) for Kieran Bennett (58)
17. Ian Kenny (Ballygunner) for Fives (inj) (60)
23. Darragh Lyons (Dungarvan) for Dillon (63)
20. Patrick Curran (Dungarvan) for Gleeson (65)

Referee: Colm Lyons (Cork)

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20. David Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh) for Tom Morrissey (52)22. Seamus Flanagan (Feohanagh-Castlemahon) for Casey (52)24. Darragh O’Donovan (Doon) for Reidy (56)18. Adrian Breen (Na Piarsaigh) for Mulcahty (67)

About the author:

Fintan O'Toole  / Reports from Semple Stadium

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