Scanlon a hero at both ends of pitch
Goalkeeper Brian Scanlon was the late, late hero as Limerick triumphed in the NFL Division 4 final at Croke Park last night.
First, he denied Waterford substitute Patrick Hurney with a superb save, then moments later stepped up to convert a '45 that secured victory for his side.
Limerick had eased in front with a lucky Ger Collins goal in the ninth minute. He went for a point, but his shot fell short and deceived goalkeeper Tom Wall as it dipped just under the bar. Ian Ryan guided over three excellent points from play, as the Treaty men opened up a 1-4 to 0-2 advantage, but Waterford responded with scores from Conor McGrath and wing-back Tony Grey.
The Deise almost grabbed a goal when the stretching leg of Liam O Lionan just failed to connect with Gary Hurney's ground shot as it zipped narrowly wide at the far post. After Pa Ranahan had stretched Limerick's lead to 1-6 to 0-4 in the 24th minute, Waterford hit a rich vein of form, and responded with a run of six points, three of them from Brian Wall, to regain the lead.
However, stoppage-time points from Collins and Ryan sent Mickey Ned O'Sullivan's men in at the break with a 1-8 to 0-10 lead.
O Lionain set the game alight with a wonderful goal, drilled in off the post to give John Owens's men a two-point advantage. But Waterford added just one more point.
Substitute Eoghan O'Connor brought the sides level, and there were a couple more dramatic twists in a captivating tale. Hurney fired in a shot which Scanlon dived to keep out, and Tommy Prendergast smashed the rebound against a post.
Within moments, Limerick were awarded a '45, which Scanlon drilled between the posts for the winner, with Collins adding an insurance point to bring his tally to 1-6.
Scorers -- Limerick: G Collins 1-6 (0-3f), I Ryan 0-5, B Scanlon (0-1 '45), P Ranahan, J O'Donovan, S Buckley, E O'Connor 0-1 each.
Waterford: B Wall 0-5 (0-2f), L O Lionain 1-1, T Grey, W Hennessy 0-2 each, N Hennessey, C McGrath, R Ahearne, P Hurney 0-1 each.
Limerick -- B Scanlon; M O'Riordan, C Mullane, A Lane; D Carroll, P Browne, P Ranahan; J O'Donovan, J Galvin; J Mullane, C Joyce-Power, S Buckley; G Collins, J Ryan, I Ryan. Subs: S Gallagher for Carroll, S Kelly for Mullane, E O'Connor for J Ryan, E Joy for Lane, C Fitzgerald for Joyce-Power.
Waterford -- T Wall; M O'Gorman, T O'Gorman, K Connery; T Grey, S Briggs, N Hennessey; T Prendergast, M Ahern; B Wall, C McGrath, W Hennessy; G Hurney, R Ahearne, L O Lionain. Subs: P Hurney for Ahearne, S Cunningham for W Hennessy, C Phelan for Connery, J Phelan for Prendergast, M O'Gorman for N Hennessy.
Referee -- R O'Donnell (Donegal).