Magnificent seven for Neville secures title
Limerick 0-20 Cork 0-16
Limerick stormed to a memorable victory against Cork to claim the McGrath Cup for the first time since 2005 as Danny Neville's stunning seven points proved the difference.
Victories over Clare and Waterford were added to by this cracking win, and Billy Lee's side recovered from a slow start to never look like losing thereafter.
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They outfought their provincial rivals at the back and often rushed them into poor decisions in attack, while Neville caused huge trouble in a memorable 70 minutes. He scored two offensive marks in a brilliant performance at the edge of the square, while Jamie Lee and Seamus O'Carroll also weighed in with key scores for the Treaty men.
Both sides managed to produce moments of excellence, with points from Damien Gore and Thomas Clancy the standouts for Cork, but it was Limerick that seemed to find scores easier.
Cork's best passage came in the first five minutes, where last year's U-20 All-Ireland winners Gore and Cathail O'Mahony scored to give their side a 0-3 to 0-2 lead. Gore kicked two of those points, the second a wonderful score from the right corner off his right.
Limerick soon gained a foothold though. Most of their positive play revolved around Neville at full forward, while eight of their players scored from open play by half time. Neville scored three of them, and Seamus O'Carroll bagged two, and strangely Limerick were probably disappointed not to lead by more than 0-12 to 0-8 by half-time.
With coach Cian O'Neill playing a leading role from the sidelines, Cork had plenty of possession and in Ian Maguire and Clancy they edged the midfield battle, but at the back Limerick fought hard and turnovers from Brian Fanning and Michael Donovan caught the eye, while Donovan, Iain Corbett and Robert Childs all tagged on points from the back too.
Moved into full forward after half-time, Ciaran Sheehan only took a minute to close the gap to three, while Gore did similar following a typical Corbett effort for Billy Lee's side.
A couple of points from offensive marks by Neville saw Limerick pull six points clear, but Cork rallied well with four points in a row, two from sub Brian Hurley. At that stage it seemed as if Cork were timing their run to perfection as their subs' bench began to make a big impact, but Limerick always managed to kick a point when they needed it most and a Lee score with six minute remaining was a big lift to his side.
The lead was down to two with five minutes to go, as subs Killian O'Halloran and Sean White added scores, but Neville pointed brilliantly from the left, before he added his seventh score at the death to wrap up the win.
Scorers - Limerick: D Neville 0-7 (0-2m), J Lee 0-4 (3f), S O'Carroll, I Corbett 0-2 each, C Fahy, T Griffin, A Enright, R Childs, M Donovan 0-1 each. Cork: D Gore, C O'Mahony 0-3 (2f) each, B Hurley (1f), C Sheehan, T Clancy 0-2 each, T Corkery, C Kiely, K O'Halloran, S White 0-1 each.
Limerick: D O'Sullivan; P Maher, B Fanning, M Donovan; T McCarthy, I Corbett (c), R Childs; T Griffin, A Enright; P De Brún, C Fahy, S O'Carroll; J Lee, D Neville, P Begley. Subs: G Stack for Begley (49), R Glynn for Griffin (53), J Naughton for De Brún (56), P Scanlon for Lee (65), D Lyons for Enright (67).
Cork: A Casey; S Ryan, A Browne, P Ring; K Crowley, S Meehan, C Kiely; I Maguire, T Clancy; M Taylor, C Sheehan, T Corkery; D Gore, C O'Mahony, M Hurley. Subs: S White for Hurley (half-time), B Hurley for Sheehan (48), K O'Halloran for Clancy (50), J O'Rourke for Gore (54), S Forde for Corkery (54).
Referee: Brendan Griffin (Kerry).
Sunday Indo Sport