Experience key for Lillis as her Tipp outfit pull away to see off gutsy Limerick
Tipperary 1-10 Limerick1-5
Tipperary legend Niamh Lillis felt her side's experience told in the end as they pulled away from Limerick in the second-half to set up a semi-final with Kilkenny.
A member of the all-conquering panel that annexed the county's first All-Ireland 20 years ago and went on to complete a three-in-a-row, Lillis has cut a composed figure since stepping into the top job in June.
And, as usual, she deflected attention to the players, who really stood up in the second-half, having been placed firmly on the back foot by a Niamh Mulcahy-inspired Limerick in front of over 2,000 fans at Semple Stadium.
That Limerick trailed by a point at the break, 1-4 to 1-3, told of their inability to translate superiority in play to scores, even allowing for the error by goalkeeper Laura O'Neill that gifted a goal to Niamh Treacy.
Orla O'Dwyer was a lone threat for Tipp in that period and the dual star, who heads for Australia in October to play Aussie rules for Brisbane in the AFLW, was magnificent in the second-half.
Karen Kennedy, Cáit Devane and Mary Ryan also took up the cudgel as Tipp edged away to confirm a date with Kilkenny in the semi-final at LIT Gaelic Grounds on August 17, despite playing into a strong wind and losing Ereena Fryday to a second yellow card in the 52nd minute.
"We didn't start great, we didn't play a great first-half but we upped it in the second-half, we held them to two points and they had a very, very strong breeze," said Lillis.
"I couldn't compliment our backs enough. We were reduced to 14 players but the smart heads, the Cáits, the Moll (Mary) Ryans, Megan (Ryan) came into it too, that experience told there today. I'm delighted for the girls, they deserve to be in an All-Ireland semi-final."
"Relieved would be the word that would sum it up," declared Devane, who was named Player of the Match.
"It was a fantastic battle and we were living on the edge even to the last puck of the ball. At half-time we really had to take stock and bring out more grit in the second-half, but we did that and got over the line."
SCORERS - Tipperary: C Devane 0-7 (6fs, 1 45); N Treacy 1-0; E Fryday, O O'Dwyer, M Campion 0-1 each. Limerick: N Mulcahy 1-2; C Costelloe 0-2; L Stack 0-1
TIPPERARY - C Bourke, J Bourke, Mary Ryan, E Loughman, C Quirke, K Kennedy, A McGrath, G O'Toole, N Treacy, O O'Dwyer, Megan Ryan, E Fryday, E McDonald, C Devane, K Blair. Subs: M Campion for Blair (45), N Walsh for O'Toole (49), L Loughnane for Treacy (56). G O'Brien for McDonald (60+1)
LIMERICK - L O'Neill, M Ryan, M Creamer, M Quaid, N Ryan, S Carey, J Mulcahy, K O'Leary, R Ambrose, D Murphy, N Mulcahy, C Costelloe, L Stack, R Delee, D Egan. Subs: C Lyons for Egan (34), L Leonard for Stack (41), L McCarthy for Quaid (44), N Curtin for N Ryan (54), K Hennessy for O'Leary inj (60)
REF - R Kelly (Kildare)