Kiely hails Limerick effort in late surge
Limerick 1-20 Cork 1-18
A refusal to wilt was key in the eyes of John Kiely as Limerick edged past Cork at Páirc Uí Rinn yesterday thanks to a strong finish.
Having gone down by three points at home to Galway in their final Division 1B game a week previously, the Treaty men didn’t show any signs of wavering confidence in a grandstand finish to this quarter-final contest.
With three minutes of normal time remaining, the sides were tied at 1-17 each following Patrick Horgan’s equaliser for Cork but Limerick then struck with points from Kyle Hayes, Gearóid Hegarty and sub John Fitzgibbon to open up the biggest lead the game had seen since the first half.
Though Cork did manage one late point from a Mark Coleman ‘65, the goal they needed did not materialise and the visitors advanced to a semi-final meeting with Galway.
Afterwards, manager John Kiely expressed his satisfaction with how the Limerick team had bounced back well.
“That was our sole aim coming down this week really,” he said, “to put in a spirited performance across the 80 minutes as opposed to 35 or 40.
“The boys were very hurt by the performance in the second half last week themselves, at themselves more so than anything else. There was a lot of focus this week on seeing it out to the very end.
“The subs that came on made an impact and the players that had been on from the very start saw it right out to the very end. It was great and I’m delighted for them.”
In front of 7,892 spectators, this was a game which ebbed and flowed throughout.
Limerick had a great start as David Dempsey’s early goal – set up by the excellent Hegarty – put them 1-4 to 0-2 in front.
However, just as quickly, the game turned again as 1-5 without reply from Cork had them in a lead of 1-8 to 1-5, Luke Meade goaling immediately after he had scored a levelling point.
Three Shane Dowling points, and one by Hegarty, looked to have Limerick ahead going in at half-time, but Alan Cadogan ensured that the teams were tied at 1-9 apiece at the break and the second half followed the same tone.
By the 54th minute, neither side had managed to establish a two-point lead, but then Dowling’s eighth point on 56 put the Shannonsiders 1-16 to 1-14 in front.
Back came Cork with two frees from the free-scoring Horgan, who finished with eight points, but the Shannonsiders were building up a head of steam.
Dowling made it 1-17 to 1-16 and while Horgan tied the game again after he was fouled, the visitors had the stronger finish.
Despite the loss, Cork selector Pat Hartnett preferred to focus on the positives.
“Some of the lads have played absolutely outstandingly well throughout the league,” he said.
“That is a positive from the league. We had three good wins, we beat the All-Ireland champions down here and Waterford in their own backyard.
“Today, we were disappointed. There is no point saying anything else. We looked flat. I don’t want to use the word tired.
“We are not even mentioning injuries beforehand and during the week, guys played that weren’t 100 per cent.
“We are where we are. We had three wins out of five in the round-robin and let us move on from that.”
For Limerick and Kiely, it’s on to the last four.
“The boys were very resolute to the fact that they were going to give it a right lash for the second half,” he said.
“To be fair, they did it but they kept their composure and when we got the few chances we did get, we took them. We’d only one wide in the half, which was superb.
“I’m just really pleased for the lads more than anything. We’ve had a few difficult days out with Wexford and Cork in the Munster league and then Galway last week. It’s not easy.
“Where do you go if that happened again today? The guys were really very resolute that they weren’t going to let this go today and it’s a huge lift for the group. We’re in a great place as a group.
“We’ve worked really hard all the winter. It’s just reward for all the effort really.”
Scorers – Limerick: S Dowling 0-9 (8f), G Hegarty 0-4, D Dempsey 1-1, C Lynch, K Hayes 0-2 each, A Dempsey, J Fitzgibbon 0-1 each. Cork: P Horgan 0-9 (8f), L Meade 1-1, S Harnedy 0-3, A Cadogan, M Coleman (1 65) 0-2 each, B Cooper 0-1.
CORK: A Nash 7; S McDonnell 6, D Griffin 6, C Spillane 7; C Joyce 6, M Ellis 6, M Coleman 7; L McLoughlin 7, D Brosnan 6; B Cooper 6, S Harnedy 7, L Meade 7; A Cadogan 8, P Horgan 7, D Fitzgibbon 6. Subs: B Lawton 6 for Griffin (half-time), M Cahalane 6 for Fitzgibbon (42), D Kearney 6 for Brosnan (54), L O’Farrell for Cadogan (70).
LIMERICK: N Quaid 7; R English 7, R McCarthy 6, M Casey 6; D Byrnes 6, D Hannon 6, S Hickey 7; W O’Donoghue 6, A Dempsey 6; S Dowling 8, D Dempsey 7, G Hegarty 6; Graeme Mulcahy 6, K Hayes 7, C Lynch 7. Subs: B Nash 6 for D Dempsey, P Ryan 6 for A Dempsey (both 50), P Casey 6 for Mulcahy (52), J Fitzgibbon 7 for O’Donoghue (61), G O’Mahony 7 for Hannon (62),
Ref – F Horgan (Tipperary).