INPHO/James Crombie Tipperary's Pa Bourke celebrates scoring a goal.
As it happened: Tipperary v Limerick, Munster SHC
Could John Allen’s Limerick cause Tipperary some problems at Semple Stadium? Let’s find out.

Declan Ryan’s men have played in the last three All-Ireland hurling finals but winning back Liam MacCarthy is their only target this summer. Limerick were the first obstacle as went minute-by-minute. As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts. E-mail, tweet @thescore_iepost a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

Full-time: Tipperary 2-20 Limerick 1-19

Ger Loughnane is back where he belongs on the Sunday Game panel and looks more than happy to be there despite the obvious heat in the Semple Stadium studio. Michael Lyster has welcomed the ‘Mark Twain of GAA punditry’ as he’s paired with old sparring partner Cyril Farrell. Good times. There is, admittedly, also a hurling game scheduled for 4pm. How are we all feeling about that? Let’s have those predictions…

Right we’ve endured some slight technical issues there (someone fed the Gremlins after 12pm again) so here are your team-sheets, a little late.

Tipperary: B Cummins; D Maher, P Curran, M Cahill; T Stapleton, C O’Mahony, Pádraic Maher; J Woodlock, B Maher; G Ryan, N McGrath, P Bourke; E Kelly, B O’Meara, J O’Brien.

Limerick: N Quaid; S Walsh, R McCarthy, T Condon; W McNamara, D O’Grady, G O’Mahony; P Browne, J Ryan; D Breen, C Allis, S Dowling; G Mulcahy, K Downes, S Tobin.

We’re up and running, no score yet. Let’s do this.

Limerick 0-01 Tipperary 0-01 Shane Dowling gets us off the mark with a long-range effort for Limerick. As I type, Tom Stapleton ties it up with hsi first ever point in championship hurling.

Limerick 0-02 Tipperary 0-01 Shane Dowling is seven minutes into his championship debut and he’s scored two points. He just put his side in the lead again with a confident effort from in front of the posts.

Limerick 0-04 Tipperary 0-01 This lad can play hurling. Dowling has added another two points — bring his and Limerick’s tally to 0-4 after 10 minutes. The most recent score was a fine effort from long-range that had him punching the air in delight.  This is interesting.

GOAL! Limerick 0-06 Tipp 1-03 Pa Bourke ties it up with a three-pointer. We first had some real back and forth. First Bourke foudn his range by drilling one over the bar, then Dowling added another to his personal haul  before Graham Mulcahy became the first Limerick man to score other than Dowling. Moments later however, the gap was bridged as Bourke took a pass, turned and fired home.

Tipp 1-04 Limerick 0-7 Limerick respond to that goal with a really important point from championship debutant Conor Allis. Noel McGrath then goes up the other end and gracefully flights it over for his first real contribution to the proceedings. Level for the third time today.

Limerick 0-08 Tipperary 1-04 Kevin Downes opens his account with a good point for Limerick before we get our first real look at Eoin Kelly this summer. John O’Brien looks majestic as he jumps highest to field the ball, he’s fouled in the process but Kelly drags the free wide, unusually. Ger Canning asks if the arrival of a new baby has cost him some sleep.

GOAL! Limerick 1-08 Tipperary 1-04 This is hotting up. Limerick opened up a four-point lead… but it took them two shots to do so. Brendan Cummins pulled off a really spectacular save from a Graeme Mulcahy shot but when the ball came back to the Kilmallock man, via Conor Allis, he made no mistake second time around. Brian O’Meara adds a point for Tipp moments later to bring it back to three.

Limerick 1-08 Tipperary 1-08 Absolutely incredible defending from the Limerick backs to ultimately deny Tipp even a point. As I type… McGrath is fouled and Eoin Kelly taps over before McGrath levels it up with a lovely score on the turn.  We’re nearing half-time, there’ll be one additional minute.

Half-time: Limerick trot in for the break one point up, thanks to a late point from out on the tram-line from Sean Tobin. We’re got a great second half in store here.

Limerick 1-10 Tipperary 1-08 We’re up and running again and Limerick have already stretched their lead to two points. Kevin Downes got the first point of the second half but he wheeled away in disappointment having mis-hit it when going for goal. He’s lucky it looped over for a white flag, however.

Limerick 1-12 Tipp 1-08 Shane Dowling adds another to put three between the sides before moments later the Shannonsiders’ skipper David Breen delivers one from 50m out. Tipp will be in trouble if they don’t get the next score, Michael Duignan warns. They should have had an opportunity when Eoin Kelly was fouled several times on the way to goal but it’s ignored by referee Barry Kelly. The Premier are rattled.

Limerick 1-14 Tipp 1-08 Eoin Kelly will play no more part in today’s action; he’s been replaced by Paraic Maher. Do you think Limerick will see it out from here? 45 minutes on the clock and the temperature is rising. Graeme Mulcahy tacks on another point before another one from Tobin. Crazy stuff.

Limerick 1-15 Tipperary 1-09 Conor Allis has impressed on his championship debut. And he’s put Limerick even further in front having demolished his marker for pace in the Thurles sunshine. Pa Bourke has just scored Tipp’s first point of the second half and as I type David Breen had the chance to tuck a loose ball into Brendan Cummins’ net but he swung wildly and couldn’t do so.

Limerick 1-16 Tipperary 1-10 Tipperary need a goal and they might get a chance yet with Limerick looking a little loosey-goosey at the back in the past few minutes. Shane Dowling and Pa Bourke trade scores. 55 minutes on the clock.

Limerick 1-16 Tipperary 1-13 Tipp are chipping away at this lead; there’s now a mere goal between the teams.  We were witness to some great Limerick defending once again before the score was conceded to Noel McGrath. Then, when Bonner Maher was fouled, Pat Bourke converted. Moments later Shane McGrath lofted one over and after some confusion amongst the umpires, Barry Kelly directed them to put it up.

Limerick 1-17 Tipperary 1-15 John O’Brien makes it a two-point game before Nicky Quaid makes an excellent save and then Tobin goes up the other end to clinch a crucial point for Limerick. Pa Bourke scores a free.

GOAL! Tipperary 2-17 Limerick 1-18 There’s 66 minutes on the clock and the Premier are in the lead… by two.  O’Meara was the man who raised the green flag despite a lot of steps.

Tipp 2-18 Limerick 1-18 Seamus Callanan adds a point from a free to leave John Allen hoping for a goal from his spot on the sideline.

That’s all she wrote. That was the perfect, full-blooded clash to get the championship going. That’ll be of no consolation to John Allen and his young charges. What did you make of it all?

Phew! I need to go lie down in a dark, quiet room after that one. And I wasn’t playing. Keep the emails and comments coming.

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