Hammersley's perfect 10 inspires Tipp
Tipperary 0-20 Limerick 0-15 Munster IHC semi-final
TIMMY Hammersley scored 0-10 as holders Tipperary defeated Limerick by five points at the Gaelic Grounds.
Hammersley, a 2010 All-Ireland SHC medallist, was recently released from Eamon O'Shea's senior squad, but the Clonoulty-Rossmore hitman was in excellent form for the intermediates as they advanced to a Munster final showdown with Cork or Clare on July 18.
But Tipp, the reigning All-Ireland champions, were made to work hard for their victory against the hosts in sweltering conditions.
Mick Ryan's charges fell 0-0 to 0-3 behind within three minutes, but by half-time, they had recovered to lead by 0-10 to 0-8.
Hammersley fired over five points in that opening half, with Pat Molloy bagging a brace from wing-forward.
Tipp should have scored a goal too as early as the fifth minute, but Ruairi Gleeson fired a shot inches wide.
In the second half, Tipp were never unduly troubled, but goalkeeper Darragh Egan, a former senior forward, pulled off a brilliant double-save in the closing minutes to preserve a clean sheet.
At midfield, Joey McLoughney thundered into the game after half-time and the Toomevara man finished with three points, including one brilliant sideline cut.
Tipp finished the game with scoring contributions from eight players, while Limerick's leading marksman was free-taker Jack Aherne, who notched 0-7.
Tipp manager Ryan said: "The first round of the championship in the intermediate grade can be tricky. We had good form in a few recent challenge games, but you'd always be apprehensive about bringing that to the table today. We went flat for a bit, but we kicked on again from there to the finish."
Sub Michael Ryan had brought Limerick to within two points, but Tipp found an extra gear to book their place in the final.
Scorers – Tipperary: T Hammersley 0-10 (6fs, 1 '65'), J McLoughney 0-3 (1 s/l), P Molloy 0-2, W Ryan, O Quirke, R Gleeson, P Greene, P O'Leary 0-1 each. Limerick: J Aherne 0-7 (6fs), C McNamara (1f, 1 '65'), W Griffin 0-2 each, J Hayes, P Leahy, P Begley, M Ryan 0-1 each.
TIPPERARY – D Egan; S O'Brien, M Butler, T Treacy; W Ryan, D Young, P Heffernan; J McLoughney, S McCormack; O Quirke, T Hammersley, P Molloy; R Gleeson, D Maher, P Greene. Subs: P O'Leary for Maher (40), M Ivors for Greene (46), A Horgan for McCormack (50).
LIMERICK – S O'Donoghue; S Irwin, B O'Connell, M Reidy; J Hayes, C McNamara, D O'Neill; P Leahy, C Kearney; K O'Brien, D Reidy, D Morrissey; W Griffin, P Begley, J Aherne. Subs: B Lynch for O'Neill (33), M Ryan for O'Brien (36), M Ryan for Griffin (41), B Giltenane for D Reidy (50).
Ref – P Foley (Waterford)