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Munster SHC: Limerick finish with a flourish

Noel McGrath, and Darragh O'Donovan, Limerick, in the Munster SHC action.

Noel McGrath, and Darragh O'Donovan, Limerick, in the Munster SHC action.

Munster Senior Hurling Championship

Limerick 3-21 Tipperary 0-23

By Shane Brophy at TUS Gaelic Grounds

Limerick needed two late goals to see off Tipperary and maintain their 100 per cent start to the Munster Senior Hurling Championship at the TUS Gaelic Grounds on Sunday.

Limerick welcomed back Kyle Hayes to the starting line-up after injury while Tipperary made five changes to the side that lost to Clare, with Barry Hogan replacing his namesake Brian in goal, with Paddy Cadell, Ger Browne, Conor Stakelum and Paul Flynn also coming in, the latter two for their first championship starts.

The sides shared the first four points before a Diarmaid Byrnes free and a Tom Morrissey point put Limerick two clear and after a Mark Kehoe reposte, Aaron Gillane goaled in the eighth minute when he caught a high ball over Seamus Kennedy and finished from close range.

Tipp responded well with Ger Browne with his second point with Noel McGrath unerring from frees. His only point from play of the half brought Tipp level at 1-6 to 0-9 after 23 minutes before Jake Morris nudged the visitors in front for the first time and it could have been greater but for Michael Breen being denied by Nickie Quaid.

However, Tipp would maintain their lead to half time with three more McGrath frees added to by Barry Heffernan from play as the Premier led 0-14 to 1-9 at half time.

Tipp dug in after half time and kept their noses in front and by the 50th minute they were three in front and could have been further ahead with Michael Breen inches wide.

Tipp were still in front on the hour mark before Limerick drew level with a Diarmaid Byrnes 65 with sub David Reidy nudging them in front on 65 minutes.

The All-Ireland champions put the foot to the floor and with their defence getting on top, the scores began to flow with Declan Hannon and a Gillane free stretching the lead to six before a Conor Boylan goal on 67 minutes killed off Tipp with Aaron Gillane adding a third in added time as Limerick pressed on for a seven point win.

Scorers for Limerick: Aaron Gillane 2-5 (0-4 frees); Tom Morrissey 0-4; Diarmuid Byrnes 0-3 (2 frees, 1 65); Conor Boylan 1-0; Darragh O’Donovan, Cathal O’Neill 0-2 each; Declan Hannon, Gearoid Hegarty, Graeme Mulcahy, Barry Nash, David Reidy 0-1 each.

Scorers for Tipperary: Noel McGrath 0-13 (9 frees, 2 65s, 1 sideline); Ger Browne, Jake Morris 0-3 each; Barry Heffernan, Mark Kehoe, Paul Flynn 0-1 each.

Limerick: Nicky Quaid; Sean Finn, Mike Casey, Barry Nash; Diarmaid Byrnes, Declan Hannon, Dan Morrissey; William O’Donoghue, Darragh O’Donovan; Gearoid Hegarty, Cathal O’Neill, Tom Morrissey; Aaron Gillane, Kyle Hayes, Graeme Mulcahy.

Subs: Seamus Flanagan for O’Neill (40 inj); David Reidy for O’Donoghue (54); Conor Boylan for Mulcahy (58); Richie English for D Morrissey (68); Oisin O’Reilly for Hayes (69).

Tipperary: Barry Hogan; Craig Morgan, Ronan Maher, Cathal Barrett; Paddy Cadell, Seamus Kennedy, Barry Heffernan; Conor Stakelum, Dillon Quirke; Michael Breen, Noel McGrath, Ger Browne; Jake Morris, Mark Kehoe, Paul Flynn.

Subs: Robert Byrne for Cadell (35); Conor Bowe for Flynn (48); Dan McCormack for Browne (64); Alan Flynn for Stakelum (69).

Referee: Liam Gordon (Galway).