GAA | Limerick survive late scare to end All-Ireland drought

GAA | Limerick survive late scare to end All-Ireland drought
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Limerick have survived a late scare to win their first All-Ireland since 1973.

The Treaty County held on to beat Galway by 3-16 to 2-18 after a dramatic end to the game in Croke Park.

Limerick led for the majority of the game, but a late Galway fightback resulted in a nail-biting finish.

Joe Canning found the back of the net from a 21 yard free deep in stoppage time to reduce Limerick’s lead to two points, before David Burke and Graeme Mulcahy traded points.

Canning’s 65 drew Galway to within a point of Limerick again, but there was no time for a dramatic equalizer.

Terrific Treaty

Limerick made a fast start at Croker, registering the first three points of the game through Aaron Gillane, Kyle Hayes, and Graeme Mulcahy.

Galway made an uncharacteristically slow start to the final, and Joe Canning’s seventh minute free failed to settle Micheál Donoghue’s side.

Limerick hit five wides in the opening five minutes, with both sides guilty of being wasteful throughout.

In the eighth minute, David Burke drove forward and scored a fine point to reduce the Treaty County’s lead to one.

Cian Lynch soon added to Limerick’s lead with an excellent score, before Pádraic Mannion hit back with one of his own for the Tribesmen.

Darragh O’Donovan became the game’s eighth different scorer in just the 12th minute, making it 0-5 to 0-3 in Limerick’s favour (with their fifth point from play).

Canning responded with two accurate frees, before Joseph Cooney handed Galway the lead for the first time in the 16th minute.

Micheál Donoghue’s side’s lead was short-lived, however, as Limerick struck the first goal of the game a minute later.

Mulcahy showing great persistence to flick the ball over the line from close range under pressure from the Galway defence, and Tom Morrisey fired over his first point to extend the Treaty County’s lead to three shortly afterwards.

Limerick captain Declan Hannon scored the game’s next two points, before David Burke reduced the deficit to four in the 28th minute.

Cooney and Burke each scored a point to take Galway’s tally to nine points, but both sides continued to be wasteful with their shooting, racking up a staggering 21 wides in the opening 35 minutes.

Gillane’s free in first half stoppage time was Limerick’s first from a placed ball, and Mike Flanagan had time to add another from play before the half time whistle.

John Kiely’s men were worthy of their 1-10 to 0-9 lead at the interval.

Stunning second half

The Treaty County carried their momentum into the second half.

The excellent Kyle Hayes scored three points in the first six minutes of the second half, with Diarmaid Byrnes and Joseph Cooney grabbing the other points in a frantic start to the second period.

Gillane’s free then doubled Limerick’s first half advantage in the 44th minute, before Canning hit his fifth and six points with two fine efforts from play.

Tom Morrisey scored Limerick’s second goal in the 54th minute, extending the leaders’ lead to nine.

Three points from Canning (two frees) and a point from David Burke kept Galway in the game, but Limerick struck their third goal in the 68th minute.

Substitute Shane Dowling burst forward with the ball before producing an excellent finish, leaving Galway stunned.

There were eight minutes of additional time, and Conor Whelan offered the Leinster champions a lifeline with a well-taken goal.

Canning then produced a stunning finish into the top corner from a 21 yard free, drawing Galway to within two points of the Treaty County.

His aforementioned 65 drew the Tribesmen to within a single point of Limerick with just seconds left on the clock, and Galway won a free deep in their own half a moment later.

The Portumna star sent the sliotar into the Limerick box, but John Kiely’s side managed to claim the breaking ball, and the final whistle sounded as they burst out from defence.

Galway retain their crown

In the minor final beforehand, Galway produced a superb second half performance to beat Kilkenny by 0-21 to 0-14.

Jeffrey Lynskey’s team have now won three of the last four All-Ireland titles, and today’s success marks their 12th national title at the grade.

They trailed the Cats by 10 points to nine at the break, but outscored their opponents by nine points in the second half, with the eye-catching Donal O’Shea registering 10 points overall.

Galway: Patrick Rabbitte; Michael Flynn, Shane Jennings, Oisin Salmon; Shane Quirke, Sean Neary, Evan Duggan 0-1; Jason O’Donoghue, Oisin Flannery 0-1 (St Thomas’); Diarmuid Kilcommins 0-2, Oisin Flannery 0-1 (Padraig Pearses), Adam Brett; Dean Reilly 0-3, Donal O’Shea 0-10 (6fs, 1 65, 1 pen), Niall Collins.

Subs: Colm Cunningham 0-1 for O’Donoghue (33), Connell Keane for Brett (34), Sean McDonagh 0-2 for Flannery (Padraig Pearses) (41), Ian McGlynn for Flannery (St Thomas’) (45), Keelan Creaven for Collins (49).

Kilkenny: Jason Brennan; Padraig Dempsey, Jamie Young, Dylan Crehan; Darragh Maher 0-2, Shane Staunton, Jamie Harkin; Conor Kelly 0-7 (7fs), Cian Kenny 0-2; Ciaran Brennan 0-2 (0-1 s/l), Jack Buggy 0-1, George Murphy; Cathal O’Leary, Jack Morrissey, Killian Hogan.

Subs: Eoin Guilfoyle for O’Leary (41), Padraic Moylan for Buggy (43), Jack Doyle for Murphy (52), Killian Rudkins for Hogan (57), Dan Coogan for Morrissey (62).

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