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Richie English, Limerick, and Willie Connors, Tipperary, collide at the Gaelic Grounds.
Richie English, Limerick, and Willie Connors, Tipperary, collide at the Gaelic Grounds.

Allianz HL D1A: Limerick triumph at the Gaelic Grounds

Allianz Hurling League Division 1A


By John Fallon at the Gaelic Grounds

Aaron Gillane scored nine points as reigning All-Ireland champions Limerick made it back-to-back wins in Division 1A of the National Hurling League with victory over Tipperary the Gaelic Grounds.

Tipperary held a narrow 1-9 to 1-8 lead at half-time in the Limerick fog. Patrick 'Bonner' Maher scored an early goal, but that was cancelled out by Graeme Mulcahy’s deft strike.

And then Limerick surged clear in the second half with their brilliant substitutes bench; including Kyle Hayes and Cian Lynch, making an impact late on.

Tipperary were 4-14 to 2-17 winners when these sides met in Liam Sheedy’s first game back as manager during the Munster Hurling League.

This time the teams were level on five occasions in the first half here, but Tipperary held a narrow 1-9 to 1-8 lead at half-time.

Michael Breen’s point after eight seconds wasn’t a sign of things to come and both teams struggled in front of goals in the opening half.

Aaron Gillane missed a free before he levelled proceedings for the first time with another free in the third minute.

Noel McGrath and Diarmaid Byrnes traded scores while Seamus Callanan had two uncharacteristic missed frees before he landed his first from distance in the 19th minute.

Limerick went 0-4 to 0-3 ahead and then in the 23rd minute a wonderful overhead flick from Willie Connors put Patrick Bonner Maher through, and he finished his shot into the bottom right corner of Nickie Quaid’s net.

Jason Forde almost scored a second goal moments later, but he blazed his chance wide. Nevertheless, Tipperary took a 1-4 to 0-4 lead when Robert Byrne scored.

Limerick stuck in the game and they were rewarded for their efforts on the half hour mark. Tom Morrissey sent in a high delivery and the diminutive figure of Mulcahy rose highest to tap the ball into the open goal.

Gillane’s third free drew the sides level for the fourth time one minute later. And although Callanan cancelled that out Gillane struck another point.

Forde and Barry Heffernan scored before Tom Morrissey’s point rounded off the first half scoring and Tipperary were one-point ahead.

But the Limerick half-back line took over on the resumption and they began to show why they went all the way in the All-Ireland championship last year.

Byrnes added a 65 after Mulcahy opened the scoring for Limerick again. Callanan levelled the game for the sixth time, but Limerick got on top all over the pitch.

Casey’s arrival in the 45th minute was a huge boost and they showed more energy as Tipperary’s effort waned.

Dan Morrissey drove forward to score an inspirational point seven minutes later and that gave Limerick a 1-14 to 1-11 lead.

Debutant Conor Boylan helped himself to two points and Byrnes got his fourth as Gillane’s points eased Limerick to the win.

Scorers for Limerick: Aaron Gillane 0-9 (5fs, 265s), 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 (5fs), 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.

LIMERICK: Nickie Quaid; Tom Condon, Sean Finn, Richie English; Diarmaid Byrnes, Declan Hannon, Dan Morrissey; Darragh O’Donovan, Colin Ryan; Gearoid Hegarty, Tom Morrissey, Conor Boylan; Aaron Gillane, Kevin Downes, Graeme Mulcahy.

Subs: Peter Casey for Downes (45), Paddy O’Loughlin for Hannon (50), Kyle Hayes for Boylan (57), Pat Ryan for Mulcahy (64), Cian Lynch for O’Donovan (69).

TIPPERARY: Brian Hogan; Donagh Maher, James Barry, Alan Flynn; Barry Heffernan, Ronan Maher, Padraic Maher; Robert Byrne, Michael Breen; Dan McCormack, Noel McGrath, Willie Connors; Jake Morris, Seamus Callanan, Patrick Maher.

Subs: Jason Forde for McCormack (13), Niall O’Meara for Byrne (50), Killian O’Dwyer for D Maher (55), Mark Kehoe for Morris (55), John McGrath for Breen (63).

REFEREE:: Sean Cleere (Kilkenny).

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