Clinical Canning breaks WIT hearts
Limerick IT 0-18
Waterford IT 1-11
FOUR days from Portumna's Valentines's Day showdown with Dunloy in the GAA All-Ireland Club semi-final, Joe Canning showed no love for the backs of Waterford IT at LIT's Moylish campus sports field.
The mercurial full-forward contributed 11 points, eight from play, as Limerick IT saw off Colm Bonnar's men by four points.
Tipperary's Timmy Hammersley tormented Clare's All-Ireland U-21-winning corner-back James Gunning in the opening quarter as the WIT midfield pair of Mark Molloy and Willie O'Dwyer found space to deliver the telling ball into their inside line. WIT would ultimately rue not making better use of their initial advantage with four scoreable wides in the first 15 minutes.
LIT managed to stay in touch during this period through scores from Paudie O'Brien and Canning (two). A marvellous turn, run and pass by Sean Tobin led to Niall Quinn firing LIT into the lead for the first time, and that score marked a turning point for the home side.
Canning added two more before Tobin registered a fine point, which was soon followed by further white flags from Nicky O'Connell, Canning and Seamus Callanan. Ray McLoughney stopped the rot for the Waterford side with a point, and Hammersley added another to reduce the gap to five. Two more Canning points from play upped the margin to seven before fellow Galwayman Quinn pointed to leave the hosts ahead 0-13 to 0-5 at the break.
An exchange of points got the second half under way before a WIT goal -- courtesy of McLoughney -- in the 42nd minute gave the visitors some hope. The goal inspired further WIT scores and the deficit was suddenly down to four.
Canning, though, was once again the master of the situation. He tacked on two excellent scores from play to relieve some of the pressure. Two more Hammersley frees kept the fires of comeback stoked for WIT, and the visitors entered the final quarter carrying the momentum.
Four minutes from time, Hammersley made a dash goalwards along the end-line, and was taken to the ground by a cohort of LIT backs. Referee Jason O'Mahony awarded a 20 metre-free. Up stepped goalkeeper Adrian Power but his rasping shot screeched a few inches north of Matthew Ryan's crossbar.
Canning then had the game's final say, slotting a swift pass from Sean Collins straight over the crossbar to ensure a win for the Davy Fitzgerald's troops.
Scorers -- Limerick IT: J Canning 0-11 (0-2f), N Quinn, S Callanan 0-2 each, N O'Connell, S Collins, S Tobin 0-1 each. Waterford IT: T Hammersley 0-6 (0-4f), R McLoughney 1-1, K Reade 0-2, F O'Leary, A Power (f) 0-1 each.
Limerick IT -- M Ryan; J Gunning, C Cooney, C Chaplin; N O'Connell, J McInerney, R Sherlock; P O'Brien, S Collins; N Quinn, S Callanan, W Hyland; B Gaffney, J Canning, S Tobin. Subs: A Ryan for Hyland (h/t), P Browne for Quinn (56 mins).
Waterford IT -- A Power; B Kenny, S Fives, N Connors; W Hutchinson, E Barrett, PJ Rowe; M Molloy, W O'Dwyer; F O'Leary, K Reade, R Good; T Hammersley, K Grehan, R McLoughney. Subs: J Gahan for Good (39 mins), C Lacey for Fives (45 mins).
Ref -- J O'Mahony (Limerick).