McNamara points the way to see off Limerick
Cork 0-20 Limerick 0-18 Munster IHC Final
Despite the narrow margin of victory, defending provincial and All-Ireland champions Cork led from start to finish to see off a much-fancied Limerick at Páirc Uí Rinn last night.
The home side led by three points at the break after a wind-assisted opening half, and while the Shannonsiders brought the margin back to two points midway through the second half, they could never get any closer.
With Noel McNamara in sparkling form, sending over frees from all angles as the Rebels held on in a tight finish.
Cork started well, with Tony Murphy putting the sliotar in the net in the opening minute. However, the referee called play back and awarded a free-out.
Yet, they moved into an early 0-5 to 0-1 lead with points from Murphy, Willie Leahy and McNamara.
In front of an attendance of 1,774, Limerick hit back and once senior panellist Tom Morrissey got on top at full-forward, they cut the gap to 0-6 to 0-4.
However, Cork went on to lead by double scores coming up to half-time, with Murphy bagging his fourth point.
Limerick enjoyed a prolific spell approaching the break as Willie Griffin and Morrissey reduced the deficit to 0-11 to 0-8 at the interval.
Despite playing into the breeze, Cork who got off to the better start on the resumption with Leahy pointing. Limerick responded with four points - including a trio of splendid scores from centre-back Diarmaid Byrnes - to cut the margin to two.
However, Cork again regained the lead through sub Kevin O'Neill and the accurate McNamara, who punished any indiscipline.
Limerick continued to fight but McNamara was in terrific form and by the 53rd minute the Leesiders had moved six points ahead.
Limerick grabbed points from sub Richie English, Byrnes (2) and Mike Fitzgibbon. It made for a nervy final few minutes but Cork held on.
Scorers - Cork: N McNamara 0-8 (5fs), T Murphy 0-4, K O'Neill, W Leahy, D O'Donovan (2fs) 0-2 each, S McCarthy,M Collins 0-1 each. Limerick: W Griffin (4fs), D Byrnes (3fs) 0-5 each, T Morrissey 0-4, D O'Donovan (f), R English, M Fitzgibbon,, R O'Donnell 0-1 each.
Cork - P Buckley; B Ó Tuama, E Finn, G Murphy; K Kavanagh (Capt), D O'Donovan, T Lawrence; M Brennan, S McCarthy; W Leahy, M Collins, L Meade; N McNamara, F O'Leary, T Murphy.
Subs: K O'Neill for M Brennan (h-t), C O'Brien for E Finn (39), A Cagney for F O'Leary (55), A Sheehan for N McNamara (60).
Limerick - B Murray; S Finn, B O'Connell, M Reidy; D Moloney, D Byrnes, B Lynch; R O'Donnell, A Brennan; D O'Donovan, K O'Brien, M Carmody; W Griffin (Capt), T Morrissey, M Fitzgibbon. Subs: R Lynch for K O'Brien (27), R English for D Moloney (37), M Fitzgerald for W Griffin (43), C Ryan for D O'Donovan (56).
Ref - D Fox (Clare).