Hugh Bourke, Limerick, and Shane O'Connell, Tipperary, in Munster SFC action.
Hugh Bourke, Limerick, and Shane O'Connell, Tipperary, in Munster SFC action.

Munster SFC: Limerick reach provincial decider

Munster Senior Football Championship Semi-Final

Limerick 2-10 Tipperary 0-10

By Shane Brophy at FBD Semple Stadium

Limerick booked a Munster Senior Football Final date with Kerry after producing a strong second half performance to see off Tipperary in this provincial semi-final at FBD Semple Stadium on Saturday evening.

The sides were level at half time, but Limerick completely dominated the second half and but for some poor wides, could have won by a greater margin over an injury-hit Tipperary side, who were poor in attack, with none of their starting forwards scoring from play.

Cillian Fahy got Limerick on the scoreboard from the throw-in but it didn’t indicate an open game as the rest of the first half was a very cagey affair with both sides effective defensively. Jack Kennedy levelled with a 45 before Sean O’Connor landed a long rage free.

Limerick hit back with a goal on twelve minutes with Josh Ryan on hand to send the rebound to the net after Brian Donovan was denied by a Michael O’Reilly save. Cillian Fahey followed it with a point, but Limerick failed to kick on and it was Tipp who gained the upper hand with Jack Kennedy landing a long range free before championship debutante Sean O’Connell landed a long range point for Tipp’s first from play which was added to by the almost obligatory Mark Russell point to bring the home side level.

Hugh Bourke nudged Limerick back in front but on the stroke of half time, Tipp corner back Shane O’Connell was allowed carry the ball forward and with no options landed a long-range point as the sides went in deadlocked at half time, 0-6 to 1-3.

Points from Josh Ryan and Adrian Enright restored Limerick’s advantage as they slowly turned the screw, upping the physicality and intensity, particularly attacking the Tipperary kickout to great effect and transitioning quickly into attack. Hugh Bourke almost turned one of those chances into a goal, but Tipp hit back to level by the 51st minute with Sean O’Connell and Jack Kennedy again on target.

However, Limerick’s greater energy was evident in the second period and after influential sub Robbie Bourke nudged them in front, a Brian Donovan goal on 55 minutes broke the game open. Tipp didn’t look like they had the answers as their only replies in the final period were two Jack Kennedy 45’s while Sean O’Connell was black-carded late on for a trip.

Limerick kept the scoreboard ticking over at the other end with Cillian Fahy fisting his third with Hugh and Robbie Bourke adding three points between them to see Limerick into a first Munster Final since 2010.

Scorers for Limerick: Josh Ryan 1-1 (0-1 free); Cillian Fahy, Robbie Bourke (1 free) 0-3 each; Brian Donovan 1-0; Hugh Bourke 0-2 (1 free); Adrian Enright 0-1.

Scorers for Tipperary: Jack Kennedy 0-5 (3 45s, 2 frees); Sean O’Connell 0-2; Shane O’Connell, Mark Russell, Sean O’Connor (free) 0-1 each.

Limerick: Donal O’Sullivan; Sean O’Dea, Brian Fanning, Michael Donovan; Cian Sheehan, Iain Corbett, Paul Maher; Darragh Treacy, Cillian Fahy; Adrian Enright, Brian Donovan, James Naughton; Peter Nash, Josh Ryan, Hugh Bourke. 

Subs: Robbie Bourke for Nash (54); Tommy Griffin for Ryan (60); Killian Ryan for Enright (70+1); Padraig De Brun for H Bourke (70+4).

Tipperary: Michael O’Reilly; Shane O’Connell, Jimmy Feehan, Willie Eviston; Sean O’Connell, Colm O’Shaughnessy, Jack Harney; Conal Kennedy, Mark Russell; Luke Boland, Jack Kennedy, Teddy Doyle; Mikey O’Shea, Conor Sweeney, Sean O’Connor. 

Subs: Steven O’Brien for Boland (HT); Liam McGrath for O’Connor (45); Dean Carew for Eviston (53); Martin Kehoe for O’Shaughnessy (53); Stephen Quirke for O’Shea (63).

Referee: Paddy Neilan (Roscommon).