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Late Limerick surge sees off sub-par Tipperary in Munster championship opener

Limerick 1-23 Tipperary 2-14

20 May 2018; Seamus Hickey of Limerick in action against John McGrath of Tipperary during the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 1 match between Limerick and Tipperary at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
20 May 2018; Seamus Hickey of Limerick in action against John McGrath of Tipperary during the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 1 match between Limerick and Tipperary at the Gaelic Grounds in Limerick. Photo by Ray McManus/Sportsfile
Martin Breheny

Martin Breheny

Limerick flashed out a warning to the rest of Munster that their Allianz League form was the real deal when they bagged their first points in the new-look 'round robin' championship format.

Their supporters in the crowd of 20,423 left the Gaelic Grounds in buoyant mood after watching their team finish strongly to see off a Tipperary team that has much to work on before hosting Cork in the second round next Sunday.

Jason Forde brought the sides level - 2-12 to 0-18 - after 50 minutes but instead of handing Tipperary the initiative it galvanised Limerick, who out-scored their rivals by 1-5 to 0-2 from there on. They were two points clear in the 66th minute when sub, Barry Murphy fired home a crucial goal to ensure a valuable win.

They won't be in action again until Saturday week, giving them more recovery time than Tipperary. That will be a concern for Michael Ryan, who has quite a lot to sort out if Tipperary are to get their summer ambitions back on track.

Limerick were full of energy throughout, but especially in the final quarter when they out-gunned Tipperary in most departments.

Tipperary led by 1-10 to 0-12 at half-time, the goal coming from Dan McCormack in the 20th minute when he reacted quickly after John McGrath's effort rebounded off the post. The sides were level eight times in the first half before a stoppage time pointed free by Jason Forde - his seventh of the half - edged Tipperary in front.

Limerick's lack of discipline in the tackle cost them dearly at times but, at the other end, the enterprise of Aaron Gillane and Graeme Mulcahy presented Tipperary with a series of problem they found difficult to solve.

Mulcahy scored 0-4 from open play in the first half while Gillane pointed three frees (he also missed a relatively easy one) and added another point from open play. Limerick came close to scoring a wonder goal in the 17th minute but Gearoid Hegarty's acrobatic flick was saved by Tipperary's championship debutant goalkeeper, Brian Hogan.

Tipperary: B Hogan; A Flynn, S Kennedy, D Maher; B Heffernan, Padraig Maher, D Maher; W Connors, B McCarthy; D McCormack (1-0), N McGrath (0-2), S Curran; J O'Dwyer (0-1), J Forde (1-9, 9f,) J McGrath (0-2).

Subs: S O'Brien for D Maher (43), B Maher for Connors (50), S Callanan for Curran (53), Patrick Maher for McCarthy (65).

Limerick: N Quaid; S Finn, S Hickey, R English; D Byrnes (0-3, 2' 65s', 1f)), D Hannon, D Morrissey; D O'Donovan (0-1), C Lynch (0-2); G Hegarty (0-2), K Hayes, T Morrissey (0-2); A Gillane (0-8, 6f) , S Flanagan (0-1), G Mulcahy (0-4).

Subs: D Dempsey for T Morrissey (54), B Murphy (1-0) for Mulcahy (54),  M Casey for Hickey (56), P Ryan for Flanagan (61), P Browne for O' Donovan (67).

Ref - J McGrath (Westmeath)

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