Sunday 28 December 2014

Munster champs Limerick defy underdog status to stun Tipp

Published 01/06/2014 | 18:12

1 June 2014; Sean Tobin, left, celebrates after his Limerick team mate Shane Dowling had scored a goal from a free in the 17th minute. Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship, Semi-Final, Tipperary v Limerick, Semple Stadium, Thurles, Co. Tipperary. Picture credit: Ray McManus / SPORTSFILE
Sean Tobin, left, celebrates after his Limerick team mate Shane Dowling had scored a goal from a free in the 17th minute

Munster champions but big outsiders Limerick produced some late heroics to beat Tipperary by 2-18 to 2-16 in a pulsating encounter at Semple Stadium.

Their preparation had been upset by Donal O'Grady resignation as co-manager but the controversy didn't seem to affect TJ Ryan's team.

Installed as 3/1 outsiders before the throw-in, Limerick, inspired by Shane Dowling's scoring exploits, edged Tipp in a classic Munster championship clash.

Both sides exchanged early points after a frenetic start to the game before Niall O'Meara edged Tipp in front  after 10 minutes.

Limerick equalised and then hit the front when Shane Dowling smashed a 20-yard free into the roof of the net and Kevin Downes stretched their advantage from the puck-out.

Four minutes after Limerick's goal, Tipp had one of their own as Patrick 'Bonner' Maher showed great tenacity to shake off would-be tacklers before finding the net.

It was neck-and-neck for the remainder of the half with Declan Hannon and Seamus Callanan all hitting crucial scores and the sides were level at 1-8 apiece.

Gearoid Ryan stole in to give Tipp a huge boost with a goal inside the first minutes of the second half.

Limerick responded by rattling off four points with the pick an inspirational strike from captain Donal O'Grady.

Eamonn O'Shea's men managed to squeeze in front but Limerick just wouldn't go away as both sides went at each hammer and thongs.

When Denis Maher put Tipp three points ahead in the last few minutes it was looking ominous for TJ Ryan's side but the freescoring Shane Dowling scored an amazing goal on the stroke of full-time to equalise.

The game was in the melting pot but the momentum was with the Limerick men and points from Tom Ryan and Seamus Hickey saw them to victory and a place in the Munster final.

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