Perfect 10 for O'Brien as Limerick book final berth
Munster MHC Semi-final: Limerick 0-19 Waterford 0-17
Limerick advanced to their fourth Munster MHC final on the bounce as they fended off a spirited Waterford at a sun-drenched Walsh Park last night. Paul O'Brien scored ten points for Pat Donnelly's charges who march on to the provincial showpiece on July 10 at the Gaelic Grounds.
In front of 2,599 spectators, the visitors led by 0-16 to 0-10 with 48 minutes on the watch but had to withstand a heavy volume of late pressure.
The hosts reeled off five unanswered points through Thomas Douglas, Michael Mahony, Jack Prendergast, Ciaran Kirwan and Eoghan Murray in a dazzling purple patch to set up a dramatic finish.
Kyle Hayes and Cian Magnier Flynn steadied Limerick but Waterford persevered. Donal Power and Murray narrowed to the minimum once more but they couldn't get on level terms. The dependable O'Brien wrapped it up with an injury-time free.
Wind-assisted Limerick established a 0-9 to 0-4 lead after a dull opening half hour. O'Brien struck four with Brian Ryan on target three times from play. It took Waterford 12 minutes for wing-back Conor Dalton to open their account. Darragh Carroll closed out the opening period with a stunning sideline cut for the Treaty team.
On the restart, Neil Montgomery pointed within eight seconds for the hosts. Dalton delivered his second single of the evening before Donal Power shaved the deficit to two (0-9 to 0-7).
Limerick halted their gallop through captain Kyle Hayes and another O'Brien placed ball. Waterford pared the gap down to two once more courtesy of Eoghan Murray and Jack Prendergast.
Donnelly's outfit reacted with four consecutive points including three from the in-form O'Brien and Darragh Carroll's second. Waterford never threw in the towel, though, and a spurt of five scores in a row revved up the home crowd.
Kyle Hayes and Cian Magnier Flynn calmed Limerick momentarily before another wave of Déise pressure. Power and Murray narrowed to one. Murray swung a sideline right and wide. O'Brien ultimately settled it with his tenth point.
Scorers - Waterford: E Murray 0-5 (3fs), J Prendergast, C Dalton, M Mahony, D Power, T Douglas 0-2 each, C Kirwan, N Montgomery 0-1 each. Limerick: P O'Brien 0-10 (8fs), B Ryan 0-3, D Carroll (1 s-l), K Hayes 0-2 each, C Magnier Flynn, D Woulfe 0-1 each.
Waterford- B Nolan; C Giles Doran, J Flavin, T Barron; L Wall, H Ruddle Redmond, C Dalton; D Power, C Curran; E McGrath, M Mahony, N Montgomery; T Douglas, E Murray, J Prendergast. Subs: D Guiry for McGrath (29), C Kirwan for Montgomery (43), J Reade for Wall (57).
Limerick - M O'Kelly; B Nash, C Nicholas, F Hourigan; M O'Grady, J Adams, B Timmons; C McCarthy, D Carroll; B Ryan, C Magnier Flynn, D Woulfe; C Boylan, K Hayes, P O'Brien. Subs: J Flynn for McCarthy (h-t), C O'Connor for Timmons (41), M Bourke for Adams (56), A Barrett for Woulfe (58).
REF - N Wall (Cork)