Friday 23 February 2018

Limerick to meet Cats in decider

Limerick's Peter Casey in action against Galway's Ciarán O'Connor during the ll-Ireland U21 Championship Semi-Final match at Semple Stadium, Tipperary. Photo: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
Limerick's Peter Casey in action against Galway's Ciarán O'Connor during the ll-Ireland U21 Championship Semi-Final match at Semple Stadium, Tipperary. Photo: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Sean McGoldrick

Limerick will meet Kilkenny in next month's Bord Gais All-Ireland under 21 hurling final after the Munster champions came from behind to score a thrilling win over Galway in yesterday's second semi-final in Semple Stadium, Thurles.

Limerick, who last won the title in 2016, outscored the Tribesmen 8-2 in the final quarter to win by four points (2-23 to 2-19). Earlier, Kilkenny demolished Derry, racking up 8-35 as the romped to a record 52-point win.

The defeat of Galway ends the Tribesmen's dream of an All-Ireland treble - their minor and senior sides have already qualified for the decider. Senior star Conor Whelan did his best to keep his side in the match, creating one goal and scoring another in an electrifying second half.

His 47th-minute goal put Galway 2-17 to 2-15 ahead but Limerick responded magnificently, hitting the next three points to retain the lead which they never subsequently relinquished.

Limerick's Aaron Gillane in action against Galway's Declan Cronin during the All-Ireland U21 Championship Semi-Final. Photo: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile
Limerick's Aaron Gillane in action against Galway's Declan Cronin during the All-Ireland U21 Championship Semi-Final. Photo: Daire Brennan/Sportsfile

Galway had justifiable claims for a close range free when the game was still in the melting pot though. Instead Limerick went down the field and scored a crucial point.

Limerick's Peter Casey scored 1-2 in the opening 11 minutes but the sides were level (0-12; 1-9) at the break. A 35th-minute goal from Barry Murphy gave Limerick a five-point lead before Whelan intervened but in the end Limerick eased their way into the decider.

In the earlier game, Ulster champions Derry had no answer to Kilkenny's power in a predictably one-sided semi-final.

The Cats, managed by former All-Ireland star Eddie Brennan, hit three goals in the opening ten minutes to set the pattern for a game which was of little use to either team, frankly.

Kilkenny, who last won the All-Ireland title in the grade in 2008, were 5-11 to 0-4 ahead at the break. As is their wont, Kilkenny never stepped off the gas even though their place in next month's final was secure from an early stage.

In the end they chalked up a remarkable score while Derry could only manage seven points in reply which to give the Leinster side a record win.

Cats boss Brennan admitted afterwards that neither side or hurling in general benefited from such an embarrassing mis-match. He also suggested that if the GAA wanted to experiment with an open draw competition, perhaps the under 21 hurling championship might be a suitable stage for such an experiment.

Derry's day of woe was completed when midfielder Conor Kelly sustained a suspected broken leg late in the contest.

It will be the first time that Limerick and Kilkenny have clashed in an under 21 hurling final.

Sunday Indo Sport

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport