Ryan strikes to seal Limerick's semi-final spot
Published 04/04/2016 | 02:30
A goal from super-sub Niamh Ryan 10 minutes from time saw Limerick through to the semi-final of Division 1 for the second consecutive year, in just their third season in the top tier.
The Shannonsiders lost out in a three-team play-off in their initial Division 1 campaign, and given that they had to beat All-Ireland champions Cork in the play-off to decide who would take on Galway, they are clearly continuing their progress under the tutelage of new manager John Tuohy.
The 1-11 to 0-7 result in Mallow was all the sweeter, given that the Leesiders had been their conquerors at the penultimate stage last term.
It should be remembered that this was almost a replica of the score when the teams clashed in Rathkeale last February, apart from Cork managing two more points.
Cork will rue some wastefulness up front but in truth, this was about a youthful and hungry Limerick side that had two members of the successful All-Ireland minor winning side of 2014 excelling around the middle in Deborah Murphy and Karen O'Leary, while Sinead McNamara was a constant thorn in the Cork defence and the unerring Niamh Mulcahy weighed in with eight points.
Scoring was at a premium throughout but the visitors had the better of the opening exchanges, establishing a narrow advantage at the end of the first quarter and stretching it to two by the interval, at which juncture they led by 0-6 to 0-4.
That remained the gap when Ryan reacted quickest to a breaking ball to rattle the Cork net and with the shackles released, a couple of further points removed all doubt about the verdict.
Kilkenny take on Tipperary in the other semi-final and both games will take place on April 17.