Spillane strikes late to break Limerick hearts
Kerry2-16 Limerick 1-16
Kerry committed an act of grand larceny when they snatched victory from the jaws of defeat with a 1-3 injury-time flourish at Fitzgerald Stadium.
Kerry are now on course for three-in-a-row of Munster titles but this was a fortunate win, as they trailed by three points with five minutes left.
In fairness they never gave up against a Limerick side inspired by corner-forward Jamie Lee, who kicked 0-11.
When Limerick struck for a 46th-minute goal by Adrian Enright, they were in command, leading 1-12 to 1-10.
The opening half had been pedestrian in the extreme.
Kerry got off to the better start, racing 1-4 to 0-1 clear inside the opening 10 minutes, with Niall O'Shea, Paul O'Donoghue and Liam Carey kicking points while Patrick Clifford surged upfield to set up Kieran Hurley for a well taken goal.
However, Limerick dominated the second quarter as Kerry only scored one more point in the half, a Hurley free in injury-time.
In the meantime, Lee tormented the Kingdom- from frees and play - as Limerick added six points, leaving the hosts just a point ahead at the interval, 1-5 to 0-7.
Kerry began the second half in explosive fashion with three quick points, two from O'Donoghue and one from O'Shea, but Limerick with Enright and Lee pulling the strings, remained in contention, with Enright's goal giving them the edge.
They moved three points clear with five minutes to go thanks to a point from Seamus O'Carroll but a number of Kerry substitutions appeared to reignite the home challenge and points from O'Shea, Kevin O'Sullivan and O'Donoghue left a point between the sides.
Then O'Shea levelled in the second minute of injury-time.
However, a minute later Brian O'Donovan kicked Limerick in front and they appeared on the cusp of a famous win, but in the final minute of injury-time O'Donoghue's free was finished to the net by Adrian Spillane.
And from the kick-out Michael O'Donnell made sure with an opportunist point that left Limerick distraught.
Scorers - Kerry: K Hurley 1-2, P O'Donoghue 0-5 (2fs, 1 '45'), N O'Shea 0-5 each, A Spillane 1-1, M O'Donnell, L Carey, K O'Sullivan 0-1 each. Limerick: J Lee 0-11 (0-6fs), A Enright 1-1, T McCarthy, P Scanlan, S O'Carroll, B O'Donovan 0-1 each.
KERRY - D O'Shea; D Brosnan, C Ó Lúing, F Clifford; P Clifford, L Bastible, R Wharton; A Spillane, M O'Donnell; B Ó Seanacháin, L Carey, P O'Donoghue; D Roche , K Hurley, N O'Shea. Subs: A Barry for Roche ( 41); Dara O'Shea for Wharton ( 48), L O'Donoghue for Carey ( 49); K O'Sullivan for O'Donnell ( 50), M O'Donnell for Hurley ( 57);
LIMERICK - J Brouder; O'Keeffe, M O'Sullivan, C Moran; T McCarthy, L O'Dwyer, J Burke; M O'Donovan, T Childs; D Ward, A Enright, K Daly; P Scanlon, S O'Carroll, J Lee.
Subs: S Flanagan for Burke ( 14), D Fitzgerald for Moran (23), B Creamer for O'Connor ( B/C, 37), S Murphy for Ward ( 45), J Naughton for Daly (58), B Donovan for Scanlon (60).
Ref - J Birmingham (Cork)