John Fallon reports from Gaelic Grounds
LIMERICK MADE IT two wins in a row as they came from behind to defeat neighbours Tipperary at the Gaelic Grounds in front of a crowd of 8,559.
The All-Ireland champions produced a solid display in the second-half to see off the Tipperary challenge for a deserved win.
The teams were level five times in the opening half but Tipperary went in leading by 1-9 to 1-8 on a freezing night in Limerick.
The cold and frosty conditions made hurling difficult but neither of these neighbours stood on ceremony during an entertaining opening half.
The sides exchanged points three times in the opening 21 minutes but Darragh O’Donovan edged Limerick in front for the first time.
But then Willie Connors set Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher for a goal for Tipperary and a point from Robert Byrne put them 1-4 to 0-4 in front.
Tipp pulled four points clear after Seamus Callanan, who had earlier missed two scoreable efforts, got his second point of the night.
But then the All-Ireland champions hit back with Graeme Mulcahy neatly finishing overhead to the net after a long delivery from Tom Morrissey.
Aaron Gillane pointed a free to tie the sides at 1-6 apiece before he and Callanan swapped points.
Jason Forde, on for the injured Dan McCormack, and wing-back Barry Heffernan, pushed Tipp two in front but Tom Morrissey cut the gap to the minimum at the break.
Diarmuid Byrnes set up Mulcahy for the equaliser and then edged Limerick in front after 40 minutes.
Callanan levelled for the seventh time but Limerick, with Byrnes and Dan Morrissey dominant in the wing-back positions, pushed clear as league debutant Conor Boylan hit two good points as Gillane, twice, and Dan Morrissey also found the range in a good spell.
A couple of points from Forde and a Callanan free left Tipp trailing by 1-16 to 1-13 with ten minutes remaining.
Gillane scored a magnificent point from the left wing to put four between them with nine minutes remaining as Tipperary struggled to stay in the game.
Limerick never looked like letting the game slip from them and in the end ran out deserving seven point winners.
Scorers for Limerick: Aaron Gillane 0-9 (0-5f, 0-2 65), Diarmaid Byrnes 0-4 (0-2f, 0-1 65), Tom Morrissey 0-2, Graeme Mulcahy 1-1, Conor Boylan 0-2, Darragh O’Donovan 0-1, Dan Morrissey 0-1, Peter Casey 0-1.
Scorers for Tipperary: Seamus Callanan 0-5 (0-5f), Patrick Maher 1-0, Jason Forde 0-3, Michael Breen 0-1, Noel McGrath 0-1, Willie Connors 0-1, Barry Heffernan 0-1, Robert Byrne 0-1, Padraic Maher 0-1.
1. Nickie Quaid (Effin)
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2. Tom Condon (Knockaderry)
3. Sean Finn (Bruff)
4. Richie English (Doon)
5. Diarmaid Byrnes (Patrickswell)
6. Declan Hannon (Adare)
7. Dan Morrissey (Ahane)
8. Darragh O’Donovan (Doon)
9. Colin Ryan (Pallasgreen)
10. Gearoid Hegarty (St Patricks)
11. Tom Morrissey (Ahane)
12. Conor Boylan (Na Piarsaigh)
13. Aaron Gillane (Patrickswell)
14. Kevin Downes (Na Piarsaigh)
15. Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock).
Subs: 17. Peter Casey (Na Piarsaigh) for Downes (45), 25. Paddy O’Loughlin (Kilmallock) for Hannon (50), 21. Kyle Hayes (Kildimo-Pallaskenry) for Boylan (57), 26. Pat Ryan (Doon) for Mulcahy (64), 22. Cian Lynch (Patrickswell) for O’Donovan (69).
1. Brian Hogan (Lorrha-Dorrha)
2. Donagh Maher (Burgess)
3. James Barry (Upperchurch-Drombane)
4. Alan Flynn (Kiladangan)
5. Barry Heffernan (Nenagh Éire Óg)
6. Ronan Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)
7. Padraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)
8. Robert Byrne (Portroe)
9. Michael Breen (Ballina)
10. Dan McCormack (Borris-Ileigh)
11. Noel McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney)
12. Willie Connors (Kiladangan)
13. Jake Morris (Nenagh Éire Óg)
14. Seamus Callanan (Drom & Inch)
15. Patrick Maher (Lorrha-Dorrha)
Subs: 19. Jason Forde (Silvermines) for McCormack (13), 26. Niall O’Meara (Kilruane MacDonaghs) for Byrne (50), 25. Killian O’Dwyer (Killenaule) for D Maher (55), 22. Mark Kehoe (Kilsheelan-Kilcash) for Morris (55), 24. John McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney) for Breen (63).
Referee: Sean Cleere (Kilkenny).
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