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Jason Forde hits 2-11 as Tipperary book league final after extra-time win over Limerick

Limerick scored 1-31 and found themselves on the losing side of this enthralling clash.

Tipperary 2-31

Limerick 1-31

(after extra-time)

Kevin O’Brien reports from Semple Stadium

JASON FORDE CONTINUED his fine spring campaign by posting 2-11 as Tipperary booked their fourth Division 1 hurling league final since 2013 with an extra-time win over Limerick.

Gearóid Hegarty and James Barry Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

Forde, who now has 5-60 to his name in seven league games deputising for the injured Seamus Callanan, hit two goals in the first-half of extra-time to see off Limerick in front of 12,006 in a rocking Semple Stadium.

The Silvermines ace intercepted a short Nicky Quaid puck-out and rifled into the net from 20m in the 74th minute, and then flicked into the net after a goalmouth scramble six minutes later.

Substitute Graeme Mulcahy fired a late rocket to the net to give Limerick hope, but the Premier held firm to seal a meeting with the winners of tomorrow’s clash between Wexford and Kilkenny in the final on 8 April.

They haven’t lifted the title since 2008 and will be looking to atone for the hammering they received from Galway in last year’s decider.

Mark Russell and Séamus Hickey Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

It ended the run of teams from Division 1B winning the league on the back of the victories of Galway, Clare and Waterford in the past three seasons.

Limerick came into this game having conceded just one goal in their six league games and became the first team since Clare in January to keep a clean sheet against Tipperary over 70 minutes.

But Tipperary eventually raised the green flag as Forde beat Quaid twice to deny Limerick a first league final appearance since 2006.

Much of Limerick’s good play was down to their incredible tackling and overall work rate, with Cian Lynch at his physical best in midfield and Seamus Flanagan leading the line brilliantly up front.

Ronan Maher shone at midfield for Tipperary and must be one of the finest proponents of the sideline cut in the game, while Forde and John McGrath (0-6 from play) were also excellent.

It was the first league meeting of these sides since 2010, when Tipperary hammered the Shannonsiders by 2-24 to 0-8 in the Gaelic Grounds.

Donagh Maher and Graeme Mulcahy Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

Michael Ryan continued his policy of giving fringe players significant game-time, with Alan Flynn at corner-back, Billy McCarthy at centre-forward and Willie Connors at corner-forward.

Tipperary led by 0-8 to 0-4 after the opening 21 minutes as Limerick were made to pay for some poor shooting. They had five wides on the board by that stage and another two shots dropped short, but eventually they found their range.

Gearoid Hegarty, Kyle Hayes (two), Seamus Flanagan and Aaron Gillane all sent over scores to bring the Treaty men on level terms in first-half stoppage-time. Maher and Breen sent over scores to leave Tipperary two ahead at half-time.

Michael Ryan called for the cavalry in the second-half, with Brendan Maher introduced at the interval, John O’Dwyer 12 minutes later and Cathal Barrett in the 65th minute.

Forde illustrated his rich vein of form with two points from play in the space of a minute, the second of them a classy score from the corner, as the hosts moved 0-18 to 0-13 clear.

Willie Connors and Richie English Source: Ken Sutton/INPHO

Sensing the game was getting away from them, Limerick posted four scores in-a-row, including a delightful Gearoid Hegarty sideline, to move within a point. O’Dwyer shook off the cobwebs with a fine score shortly after his arrival on the field, but Tipperary couldn’t shake off Limerick.

Ronan Maher clipped over his second sideline of the afternoon, this one from halfway, and tagged on another stunning effort from centre-field. Cian Lynch (twice), Diarmuid Byrnes and Barry Murphy responded with points to leave Limerick trailing by 0-26 to 0-25 entering stoppage-time.

With regular placed-ball shooter Gillane substituted, Morrissey hit a pressure free to force extra-time. Forde hit the net twice in extra-time to send the Premier clear, while Mulcahy buried a stunning effort but it wasn’t enough for Limerick.

Scorers for Tipperary: Jason Forde 2-11 (0-8f), John McGrath 0-6, Ronan Maher 0-5 (0-2 sideline),  Micheal Breen 0-3, Sean Curran 0-3, Barry Heffernan 0-1, Billy McCarthy 0-1, John O’Dwyer 0-1.

Scorers for Limerick: Aaron Gillane 0-7 (0-5f, 0-1 65), Tom Morrissey 0-5 (0-4f), Graeme Mulcahy 1-2, Kyle Hayes 0-3, Gearoid Hegarty 0-3 (0-1 sideline), Seamus Flanagan 0-3, Cian Lynch 0-2, Diarmuid Byrnes 0-1, Barry Murphy 0-1, Pat Ryan 0-1, Paul Browne 0-1, David Reidy 0-1,

Tipperary

1. Daragh Mooney (Eire Og Annacarty-Donohill)

2. Alan Flynn (Kildangan)
3.  James Barry (Upperchurch-Dombane)
4. Michael Cahill (Thurles Sarsfields)

5. Barry Heffernan (Nenagh Eire Og)
6. Padraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)
7. Tomas Hamill (Moyne-Templetuohy)

8. Seamus Kennedy (St Mary’s Clonmel)
9. Ronan Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)

12. John McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney)
11. Billy McCarthy (Thurles Sarsfields)
10. Sean Curran (Mullinahone)

13. Michael Breen (Ballina)
14. Jason Forde (Silvermines)
15. Willie Connors (Kiladangan)

Subs

21. Brendan Maher (Borris-Ileigh) for Hamill (ht)
25. John O’Dwyer (Killenaule) for McCarthy (47)
17. Cathal Barrett (Holycross-Ballycahill) for Kennedy (65)
22. Donagh Maher (Burgess) for Heffernan (72)
26. Mark Russell (Lattin-Cullen) for Connors (79)
24. Sean O’Brien (Newport) for Ronan Maher (91)

Limerick

1. Nickie Quaid (Effin)

2. Sean Finn (Bruff)
3. Seamus Hickey (Murroe-Boher)
4. Richie English (Doon)

5. Diarmaid Byrnes (Patrickswell)
6. Declan Hannon (Adare)
7. Dan Morrissey (Ahane)

8. Colin Ryuan (Pallasgreen)
9. Cian Lynch (Patrickswell)

12. Tom Morrissey (Ahane)
11. Kyle Hayes (Kildimo-Pallaskenry)
10. Gearoid Hegarty (St Patricks)

13. Aaron Gillane (Patrickswell)
14. Seamus Flanagan (Feohanagh)
15. Barry Murphy (Doon)

Subs

19. Paul Browne (Bruff) for Ryan (ht)
20. Pat Ryan (Doon) for Murphy (49)
25. Barry Nash (South Liberties) for Gillane (61)
21. David Reidy (Dromin-Athlacca) for Hegarty (84)
24. Paddy O’Loughlin (Kilmallock) for Byrnes (86)

Referee: John Keenan (Wicklow)

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About the author:

Kevin O'Brien

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