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Dublin: 7°C Wednesday 28 October 2020
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Afternoon all and welcome to this afternoon’s coverage of the Munster Senior Hurling semi-final between Waterford and Limerick. Throw in at Semple Stadium is in just under 20 minutes time, so I’ll go get the team-sheets and we’ll get straight down to business.

Limerick: Nicky Quaid; Damien Reale, Seamus Hickey, Tom Condon; Wayne McNamara, Brian Geary, Gavin O’Mahony (capt); Donal O’Grady, Paul Browne; James Ryan, Richie McCarthy, Niall Moran; Sean Tobin, Kevin Downes, Graeme Mulcahy.

Waterford: Clinton Hennessy; Darragh Fives, Wayne Hutchinson, Noel Connors; Tony Browne, Michael Walsh, Kevin Moran; Shane O’Sullivan, David O’Sullivan; Paraic Mahony, Stephen Molumphy (capt), Maurice Shanahan; John Mullane, Shane Walsh, Brian O’Sullivan.

The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed a late change to the Waterford starting XV which was announced earlier in the week. Midfielder Richie Foley failed a late fitness test earlier this afternoon and so he makes way for David O’Sullivan. It’ll be interesting to keep an eye on what way Waterford line out as a result – O’Sullivan may slot in at wing-back with the versatile Kevin Moran moving into the middle of the park.

Davy Fitzgerald’s Waterford, of course, are the defending Munster champions but there are a number of familiar faces missing from the team which beat Cork last year. No McGrath, no Shanahan, no Kelly – but stalwarts such as Tony Browne in the half-back line and the excellent John Mullane are still knocking about.

With no disrespect to Browne and Mullane, I’m quite excited to see some of the younger talents on display this afternoon. Davy Fitz has named five Championship debutants in his side. Corner-back Darragh Fives is one of the most promising young hurlers in the country and could have a big afternoon in him.

Limerick aren’t without their young stars either. Full-forward Kevin Downes is just 19-years-old and has a definite eye for goal. Expect Wayne Hutchinson to have his hands full today.

The teams are being paraded around the Thurles pitch, so we’re just about ready to go.

As Amhrán na bhFiann is played, now probably isn’t the best time to remind the Déise faithful that they’ve never won back-to-back Munster Championships, is it?

Right, we’re off. Waterford playing from left to right. Barry Kelly is our man in the middle.

First blood Limerick as Donal O’Grady (the one on the pitch, not the one on the bench) picks up Brian Geary’s pass and slots it from all of 50 yards. Limerick 0-1 Waterford 0-0

A clever little bit of play from Déise captain Stephen Molumphy to step in and intercept Brian Geary’s pass. He plays it out to Pairic Mahony on the left wing who knocks it over the bar to get Waterford off the mark. Limerick 0-1 Waterford 0-1

There have been a couple of bad wides at both ends in these opening six minutes. Limerick’s Niall Moran is the latest culprit.

Kevin Downes drops into the gap between lines and fires over his first point of the day, but the sliotar comes straight down the pitch where John Mullane levels things up. Limerick 0-2 Waterford 0-2

MISSED PENALTY! Brian O’Sullivan is brought to the ground as he rounds Damien Reale and referee Barry Kelly has no hesitation in pointing to the spot. A great chance for Waterford to go ahead but Pairic Mahony’s strike is well stopped and cleared by a combination of Gavin O’Mahony and Nicky Quaid.

Another disappointing wide for John Mullane and Waterford. He managed to wriggle free of Tom Condon but just couldn’t direct his shot on target. There’s no wind in Semple Stadium, but the rain appears to be coming down still so conditions are far from ideal.

GOAL! Waterford 1-2 Limerick 0-2 (Mullane, 13′) A bad mistake from Tom Condon who first gets caught on the wrong side of John Mullane, and then slips as he tries to get back into position. Mullane takes a couple of touches and doesn’t hesitate in firing past Nicky Quaid at the youngster’s near post.

Niall Moran posts a quick response for Limerick. Waterford 1-2 Limerick 0-3

Tom Condon breaks onto the ball and launches an ambitious and somewhat unnecessary effort from the half-way line. It has the legs, but drifts just to the right and wide. That’s Limerick’s third of the afternoon so far.

Pairic Mahony picks up his second point of the day, this one from a straightforward free. Waterford 1-3 Limerick 1-3

Wayne Hutchinson is penalised for taking too many steps which gives Richie McCarthy the chance to narrow the gap to just two points again. Waterford 1-3 Limerick 0-4

There’s a little bit of indiscipline and sloppiness creeping into Waterford’s defensive play at the moment. Darragh Fives is penalised for a foul Sean Tobin, but a nervous-looking Richie McCarthy can’t get the dead-ball on target.

Some good battling by Maurice Shanahan and John Mullane secures possession deep inside the Limerick half. Mullane knocks a clever pass back to Shane O’Sullivan who takes his point well.

Shane Walsh adds another immediately from the puck-out to open up a four-point gap. Waterford 1-5 Limerick 0-4

Brian O’Sullivan plays Maurice Shanahan in and he knocks over his first score of the afternoon. Nice play from the Waterford forward line there. Waterford 1-6 Limerick 0-4

Pairic Mahony has a chance to extend Waterford’s lead with a free from just outside the 45 but he puts it wide.

Davy Fitz isn’t best pleased with the little bit of afters by Gavin O’Mahony. “Ah, for f*ck’s sake” is his quite audible response to referee Barry Kelly’s decision.

Some great fielding by Shane Walsh who goes to ground to control a low, skidding pass. Damian Reale catches him while he’s still on the ground, conceding a free which allows Pairic Mahony pick up his third score of the match. Waterford 1-7 Limerick 0-4 after 33 minutes.

James Ryan bounces off the challenge of Brick Walsh, but his final product is missing again. That’s Limerick’s seventh wide of the first half.

GOAL! Waterford 1-7 Limerick 1-4 (McNamara, 34′) A great run by Limerick wing-back Wayne McNamara is capped by a smart low drive which Clinton Hennessy gets his hurl on but can only deflect into the roof of the net.

Donal O’Grady and Brian O’Sullivan exchange points at either end of the pitch. Three-point game as we move into stoppage time. Waterford 1-8 Limerick 1-5

A very positive response by Waterford as Maurice Shanahan flicks one over his shoulder. Down the other end, Clinton Hennessy makes a smart save from Richie McCarthy but Niall Moran is on hand to bat the rebound over the bar. Waterford 1-9 Limerick 1-6

HALF-TIME: Waterford 1-9 Limerick 1-6 Back in a couple of minutes.

It’s been as much a battle against the conditions as a battle between the teams in this first half. Limerick have been pretty terrible, taking on some terrible shots and generally being wasteful when in possession. But, thanks to that late flurry, they are still very much in this one and could very easily rattle Waterford if they start this second half strongly.

Send your thoughts on the action so far in to us and I’ll post the best comments.

Some of the other latest scores for you:

  • Ulster SFC: Donegal 2-12 Cavan 0-6
  • Leinster SFC: Louth 0-13 Carlow 0-10
  • Connacht SFC: Roscommon 2-12 Leitrim 0-6 (FT)
  • Ulster SHC: Armagh 0-9 Down 1-8

The teams are back on the pitch and we’re underway again. 16,650 is today’s attendance – with tickets priced at €30 for a covered stand ticket, I can’t say I’m too surprised.

Brian Geary is first on the mark in the second half and Waterford’s lead is cut to two. Waterford 1-9 Limerick 1-7

GOAL! Limerick 2-7 Waterford 1-9 (Downes, 38′) Donal O’Grady’s half-time instructions appear to be paying dividends already. “Give it to 14″ was the message. Kevin Downes skins Wayne Hutchinson on the outside and drills past Clinton Hennessy.

Donal O’Grady finds himself in a bit of space in midfield and confidently takes his point. Graham Mulcahy follows with another shortly afterwards and Limerick now have a three-point lead. How will Waterford respond to this smart start by the Shannonsiders? Limerick 2-9 Waterford 1-9

GOAL! Limerick 2-9 Waterford 2-9 (Walsh, 43′) What a blistering start to this second half. Shane Walsh takes a lovely touch to field the ball, giving Limerick full-back Seamus Hickey no chance before shooting past Nicky Quaid.

Pairic Mahony continues his fine form with the dead-ball to restore Waterford’s lead. Waterford 2-10 Limerick 2-9

Mullane drops deep to capitalise on a fielding error by Tom Condon and he is more than happy to take his point. Waterford 2-11 Limerick 2-9

Another mistake for Limerick, another score for Waterford. Seamus Hickey is far too casual coming out from the back. He’s robbed of possession and Brian O’Sullivan takes his point. Great response by the Munster Champions. Waterford 2-12 Limerick 2-9

A quick brace of points has brought Limerick right back into this. Niall Moran strikes a beautiful point from distance to make it Waterford 2-12 Limerick 2-11

GOAL! Limerick 3-11 Waterford 2-12 (Downes, 50′) Magic by Kevin Downes, absolutely magic. A slip from Darragh Fives gave him the yard of space that he needed, showing great physical strength as he burned Noel Connors on the outside, firing low and inside Clinton Hennessy’s far post.

A free and a point from play by Pairic Mahony either side of a Richie McCarthy free. Limerick hold the slenderest of advantages with 15 minutes on the clock. Limerick 3-12 Waterford 2-14

The Limerick backs are standing off John Mullane a bit, which might not be the best idea they’ve ever had. The corner-forward can’t take advantage of the space though, putting his shot wide.

Pairic Mahony levels things again with his seventh point of the day. He’s had a great day so far. Limerick 3-12 Waterford 2-15

Six minutes to go here. A lovely bit of play by Kevin Downes gives Niall Moran a chance to put Limerick ahead but his shot goes wide under pressure. Still all tied up.

A great score by substitute David Breen, soloing and shooting to put Limerick into the lead with three minutes to go. Niall Moran follows it up with his fourth point of the day to extend the Shannonsiders’ lead to two. Limerick 3-14 Waterford 2-15

GOAL! Waterford 3-15 Limerick 3-14 (Mullane, 70′) Substitute Eoin Kelly has a chance to halve the deficit with a free from the edge of the box. After some consultation with Davy Fitz, he goes for it but it’s blocked and cleared.

Kelly redeems himself with a stunning cross-field pass which is tipped into Mullane’s path. The veteran smashes it past Quaid and Waterford are a point up as we enter two minutes of injury time.

FULL TIME: Waterford 3-15 Limerick 3-14

A thoroughly enjoyable game of hurling. A draw probably would have been the fairest result in the end, but the last-minute pass from Kelly and the finish by Mullane were worthy of winning any game.

Limerick will definitely be disappointed after a game second-half performance. Kevin Downes in particular was excellent today, and a word of note for Donal O’Grady who put his stamp on play in the middle third of the pitch. If anybody can deny Downes of the Man of the Match award, it’s Brick Walsh who was absolutely dominant for Waterford this afternoon. If they are to retain their Munster title, he will be certainly play a big part.

So Waterford progress to the Munster final while Limerick become one of the team to avoid in the qualifiers. If you missed the game, it’s worth setting the Sky+ for the Sunday Game later on this evening, trust me.

Slán go fóill.

About the author:

Niall Kelly

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