GAA | Limerick crush Tipperary to claim Munster title

David Smith
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Limerick are the 2019 Munster Senior Hurling Championship winners.

The All-Ireland champions beat Tipperary by 2-26 to 2-14 at the Gaelic Grounds to win their first provincial title since 2013, sending out an emphatic warning to their rivals in the process.

Peter Casey and Kyle Hayes scored goals either side of half-time for the 2019 Division 1 champions, with Seamus Callanan and John McGrath finding the net for Tipp.

Limerick led by two points at half-time, but blew Liam Sheedy’s pretenders away in the second half, eventually winning by 12 points on home soil.

Tipperary started well, with Noel McGrath firing over the first point of the game in the second minute.

Gearóid Morrissey drew the Treaty level before John “Bubbles” O’Dwyer restored Tipp’s lead. Kyle Hayes and Peter Casey responded for Limerick, putting John Kiely’s men ahead for the first time.

Tipp hit the next three points through Dan McCormack, Ronan Maher and Jason Forde, before Cian Lynch pulled one back for Limerick.

Forde added another score before Tipp scored the first goal of the game through Seamus Callanan, who was virtually a spectator up until that point.

Tipp’s number 14 drove forward and found the bottom corner with an excellent low strike to make it 1-06 to 0-04.

Limerick responded well.

Aaron Gillane fizzed a shot over the bar before Casey added another from distance to reduce the deficit to three points.

Gillane and Callanan then traded points before Limerick raised the green flag.

Casey produced a brilliant sliding finish after great play by Gillane to make it 1-07 apiece.

Kiely’s men almost had a second goal shortly afterwards, but Gearóid Hegarty’s shot was brilliantly saved by Brian Hogan.

Limerick took control of the closing stages of the first half, and went into the interval with a 1-11 to 1-09 lead, having played against the breeze in a ferocious first half.

Niall O’Meara pointed a free to give Limerick a three-point lead with the first score of the second half, with Hegarty soon adding another.

Hogan came to Tipp’s rescue with a wonderful save to deny Hayes, before John McGrath made Limerick pay for their miss.

He showed great strength to hold off a defender and finish past Nicky Quaid into the roof of the net to draw the Premier County level for the seventh time at the Gaelic Grounds.

Limerick then hit three points in a row through Casey (two) and Gillane to reassert their control over proceedings.

Forde scored another point for Tipp, who were coming out second best against Limerick’s superb defence.

Tom Morrissey and Graeme Mulcahy added further scores for Limerick, before Hayes scored their second goal.

Casey did brilliantly to dispossess a Tipp defender and find Hayes, who ran clear and kept his cool to slot the sliotar past the onrushing Hogan to give Limerick a 2-18 to 2-12 lead.

Quaid then made a stunning save to deny Callanan a certain goal at the other end, with Limerick going on to score the next three points.

When Morrissey split the posts with his third point of the game for Limerick in the 68th minute, Tipp had faded badly, and had gone 15 minutes without a score.

Hayes, Morrissey, Barry Nash, and Mulcahy all had time to add scores in the dying stages as the league champions racked up an impressive 2-20 from play.

The outcome had long since been decided when the final whistle sounded after five minutes of stoppage time, with the 44,052-strong crowd treated to a devastating performance from the All-Ireland champions.

Limerick have now ended their provincial drought, and have cemented their status as All-Ireland favourites in the process.

They have an All-Ireland semi-final to look forward to, while Tipp will have to dust themselves down for a quarter-final.

Scorers for Limerick: Peter Casey 1-5, Kyle Hayes 1-2, Tom Morrissey, Aaron Gillane (0-3f) 0-4 each, Gearoid Hegarty, Diarmaid Byrnes (0-3f) 0-3 each, Graeme Mulcahy 0-2, Barry Nash 0-1.  

Scorers for Tipperary: Jason Forde 0-6 (0-3f), Séamus Callanan 1-1, John McGrath 1-0, Ronan Maher 0-2, Noel McGrath (0-1f), Dan McCormack, John O’Dwyer, Jake Morris, Jerome Cahill 0-1 each.