It was 3/1 outsiders Limerick that scored a sensational 2-18 (24pts) to 2-16 (22pts) victory against Tipperary (in front of 24,962 spectators) in the Munster SHC semi-final at Semple Stadium, Thurles this afternoon. The artistry of Shane Dowling’s scoring prowess saw the Premier county being edged out only in the last dying minutes of a truly classic Munster Championship, bewildering their hosts with a late salvo of 1-2, after the Premier County appeared to be on target for a Sunday Final showdown.
Both sides had exchanged early points before Niall O’Meara edged Tipperary in front after about 10 minutes. Limerick soon equalised and then took the lead when Shane Dowling rifled a 20-yard free into the roof of the net with Kevin Downes further stretching this advantage from the puck-out. However four minutes later Tipperary’s Patrick Maher returned the compliment, to find the opposing net.
The game remained one of ‘retaliation in kind’ for the remainder of the first half with offerings from Seamus Callanan and Declan Hannon both matching each hard-fought crucial score, to leave the sides level at 1-8 (11pts) apiece as they headed for the well deserved break.
The first minutes of the second half saw a fully determined Gearoid Ryan grant Tipperary a goal, but Limerick remained resolute, replying with four successive single points. Both sides now began to fight it out in earnest and when Denis Maher put the Premier County three points ahead in the dying minutes, Limerick’s future looked dangerously ominous.
However Tipperary had not bargained on the momentum of Shane Dowling, who deposited home an amazing goal in the 68th minute, thus equalising both sides yet again. Now spurred on by this determination and with everything to play for, two insurance points by Tom Ryan and Seamus Hickey in quick succession saw Limerick cross the line to victory to wrestle a deserved place in the 2014 Munster final, thus repeating once more last year’s provincial victory against their very same opponents.
Tipperary Team: D. Gleeson, C. Barrett, P. Maher, M. Cahill, J. Barry, B. Maher, C. O’Mahony, K. Bergin, S. McGrath, G. Ryan, N. McGrath, N. O’Meara, J. O’Dwyer, S. Callanan, P. Maher.
Tipperary Scorers: G. Ryan 1-2 (5pts), J. O’Dwyer 0-5 (5pts), S. Callanan 0-5 (5pts), P. Maher 1-0 (3pts) and N. McGrath, N. O’Meara, L. Corbett, D. Maher 0-1 (1Pt) each.
Subs: L. Corbett for J. Barry, D. Maher for N. O’Meara, C. O’Brien for M. Cahill, S. Bourke for J. O’Dwyer, T. Stapleton for S. McGrath.