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Sunday 19 January 2020

Dublin's five-year unbeaten streak at Parnell Park ended as Limerick advance to final four

Limerick 1-21 Dublin 1-19

Dermot Crowe

Dublin’s reputation in Parnell Park has been formidable but an unbeaten record stretching back five years was deservedly ended tonight by Limerick, who overcame the recent disappointment of losing out on promotion to Division 1A.

Limerick hadn't played here since being relegated by Dublin in 2010, when they were in the throes of a catastrophic player strike. Times have changed and even if Limerick still hurl outside the top flight, they are a side intent on leaving a mark on the summer.

More immediately they were intent on responding to their loss to Clare two weeks ago. Limerick in that kind of frame of mind are usually dangerous and another goading memory was their appallingly weak surrender to Dublin at this juncture of the league in Croke Park a year ago. The startlingly poor form of some of their stellar players that evening proved a harbinger of things to come.

They were more like their true selves here. They set out their stall in the opening half, starting with a sweeper, using Ronan Lynch, whose long-range free at the end of the first half gave them an encouraging 0-13 to 0-9 lead at the interval. For a time Limerick’s didn’t use their possession well and Oisin Gough, free at the other end when Shane Dowling moved out to wing forward, picked up a lot of loose ball.

Dublin didn’t use it smartly either, driving possession away, often to Lynch’s appreciative hand and after a close opening 15 minutes when they were tied at 0-4 a piece, Limerick started to open gaps in the scoring. Dublin’s persistence with short puck outs didn’t help their cause; on a couple of occasions mixed signals led to Limerick scores on the turnover from indecisive Dublin restarts.

Boosted by the recall of their Na Piarsaigh players, fresh from winning the All-Ireland club title, Limerick looked in a good position facing into the second half. Eamonn Dillon caused them some problems and scored an inspirational point from the sideline nearing half time. But apart from one snapshot from Dillon they never created a goal chance. Before the game Mark Schutte, who really hurt Limerick in the quarter finals last year, was left out, replaced by Fiontan McGibb who was one of their livelier attackers. Niall McMorrow chipped in with two tidy scores, and four overall, but Limerick’s defence was comfortable.

Faced with the challenge Dublin stormed out of the blocks after half time, scoring three points without reply, McMorrow getting his third from play to close to within a point. Limerick were up for it, though, and Diarmaid Byrne's third from play, all from his own half, raised their morale. Despite that Dublin drew level after 50 minutes with Dotsy O’Callaghan’s first score. 

Dublin put on Schutte and after 53 minutes Dillon was fouled by Richie McCarthy and David Treacy had a penalty but Quaid saved it. It proved critical. Two minutes later Dublin over-elaborated in defence and lost possession to James Ryan, who fed Kevin Downes and he struck low to the net. Limerick led 1-16 to 0-15 but Dublin weren’t done. Dillon and Darragh O’Connell replied with points but Limerick still led by four when John Fitzgibbon, a sub, pointed with nine minutes to go. Another sub, Paudie O’Brien, pushed it out to five. Tracy’s goal came deep into injury time and too late.

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Scorers: Limerick - S Dowling 0-6 (0-4 fs; 0-1 65); K Downes 1-2; D Byrnes 0-3; T Morrissey, B Nash, G O’Mahony 0-2, P Browne, R Lynch (f), J Fitzgibbon, P O’Brien 0-1.

Dublin - D Treacy 1-8 (0-8 fs), N McMorrow 0-4; E Dillon 0-3, D O’Connell 0-2, F McGibb, D O’Callaghan 0-1.


Limerick: N Quaid; S O’Brien, R McCarthy, R English; D Byrnes, W McNamara, G O’ Mahony; P  Browne, J Ryan; R Lynch, B Nash, T Morrissey; G Mulcahy; K Downes, S Dowling.

Subs: P O’Brien for McNamara (51 mins); G Hegarty for Mulcahy (53); J Fitzgibbon for Dowling (59); C Lynch for Morrissey (65).


Dublin: C Dooley; E O'Donnell, C O'Callaghan, O Gough; J Madden, L Rushe, C Crummey; D O'Connell, J McCaffrey; S McGrath, N McMorrow, D Treacy; D O'Callaghan, F McGibb, E Dillon.

Subs: D Plunkett for McGrath (32 mins); M Schutte for McGibb (48); S Barrett for Madden (59); B Quinn for McCaffrey (66); O O’Rourke for O’Callaghan (67).

Referee: B Gavin (Offaly).

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