Allianz HL D1 SF: Limerick reach decider
Allianz Hurling League Division One Semi-Final
Limerick 1-28 Tipperary 0-25
By Tom Clancy at TUS Gaelic Grounds
Limerick booked their place in the Allianz League Division One final, thanks to a stunning second half display against rivals Tipperary. The Treaty outscored the visitors 1-16 to 0-9 after the restart to make a first league decider since 2020. The eventually had too much in the tank after trailing to an accurate Tipperary at the midway point.
Tipperary showed why they had topped their group in the first half, and were deserving of their four-point advantage after 35 minutes. They had another strong showing from Silvermines clubman Jason Forde, while midfielder Alan Tynan was in good form, chipping in with three from play in this period.
Limerick, in reply had Donnacha Ó Dálaigh and Aaron Gillane (frees) on target. It was played before a vocal support with plenty travelling from Tipperary also, Noel McGrath landed a fine point from the sideline, as neither side threatened a first half green flag.
Tipperary led 0-16 to 0-12 at the interval with seven wides apiece.
John Kiely made eight changes heading into this contest and perhaps some would have called for the introduction of the trusted cavalry from the bench at half-time, but there was no panic. He was able to go without Kyle Hayes and had the luxury of introducing 2021 Hurler of the Year, Gearoid Hegarty midway through the half.
The half started with half with three scores for the men in green – including a fine first point of the evening for fans’ favourite, Cian Lynch. The reply from Liam Cahill’s side was another score from range from Tynan, but the hosts took over completely.
A raft of scores saw Limerick level, before Gillane put them ahead on 46 minutes, to complete a run of four on the trot. They didn’t look back from here. Further scores from Lynch, Barry Nash, Colin Coughlan and Byrnes put them well clear. The only goal of the game put this contest beyond Tipperary.
Colin Coughlan’s long delivery was well fetched by Peter Casey, the Na Piarsaigh man had little room to work with, and unable to get a strike with his hurley, he kicked to the net from close range, left-footed. Cian Lynch closed the tie with his second from range.
The All-Ireland champions face a two week break ahead of a league final, as they seek a third title under Kiely’s distinguished management.
Scorers for Limerick: Aaron Gillane 0-7 (6fs), Diarmaid Byrnes 0-6 (5fs), Peter Casey 1-1, Cathal O’Neill, Declan Hannon, Tom Morrissey, Barry Murphy, and Cian Lynch 0-2 each, Donnacha Ó Dálaigh, Will O’Donoghue, Barry Nash, and Colin Coughlan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Tipperary: Jason Forde 0-14 (11fs) Alan Tynan 0-4, Gearoid O’Connor 0-3, Seamus Kennedy 0-2, Jake Morris, Noel McGrath, 0-1 each.
Limerick: Nicky Quaid; Sean Finn, Mike Casey, Barry Nash; Diarmaid Byrnes, Declan Hannon, Colin Coughlan; Barry Murphy, William O’Donoghue; Cathal O’Neill, Cian Lynch, Tom Morrissey; Aaron Gillane, Peter Casey, Donnacha Ó Dálaigh.
Subs: Gearoid Hegarty for Murphy (blood – 51 -53 mins), Gearoid Hegarty for O’Neill (60 mins), Conor Boylan for Morrissey (62 mins), Richie English for Finn (65 mins), Seamus Flanagan for Gillane (70+1), Michael Houlihan for O’Donoghue (inj - 70+3).
Tipperary: Barry Hogan; Eoghan Connolly, Michael Breen, Johnny Ryan; Dan McCormack, Bryan O’Mara, Ronan Maher; Conor Stakelum, Alan Tynan; Seamus Kennedy, Noel McGrath, Gearoid O’Connor; Jason Forde, Patrick Maher, Jake Morris.
Subs: Enda Heffernan for Stakelum (51 mins), Mark Kehoe for P. Maher (51 mins), John McGrath for Morris (56 mins), Conor Bowe for Kennedy (65 mins).
Referee: Liam Gordon (Galway).