Ryan: Park it and move on
Limerick 3-20 Cork 1-16 Waterford Crystal Cup final
Greater experience, and 2-3 from Adrian Breen, helped Limerick to win the competition for the first time since 2006.
At Mallow on Saturday night, the Shannonsiders held off the challenge of a game Cork side who asked tough questions. Breen's second goal, Limerick's third, was the match-winner, opening up a 3-17 to 1-15 lead.
Limerick manager TJ Ryan, who was captain for their only previous win, acknowledged that having more established names was a big factor.
"The reality was that we had more recognised first-teamers than Cork had," he said, "we'd have been expected to win it and we were expecting to win it ourselves.
"There are a lot of positives to take from it but it's done and dusted now from our point of view and the focus moves on to the next competition, February 14 now becomes very important with the home game against Waterford.
"There was a patch before half-time where we put a bit of daylight between the teams and kept the composure. We gave five guys a run as well and things are going well, but I'll reiterate that it is early."
While Stephen Moylan got a seventh-minute goal for Cork to put them 1-2 to 0-2 in front, Limerick produced an emphatic response to seize a lead which they wouldn't relinquish.
They reeled off four unanswered points, with Ton Condon, impressive teenager Cian Lynch and Gavin O'Mahony all on target before O'Mahony, playing at centre-forward, added a goal.
Picking the ball up on the 45, he was allowed to run at the Cork defence and he beat Patrick Collins with his drilled shot. Cork did at least stem the flow as Andy Walsh and Brian Lawton were among the scores, and two Cian McCarthy points brought them back to within two by the 28th minute.
That was when Limerick struck again. Collins, who had earlier denied O'Mahony a second goal, couldn't fully claim a high delivery and when the defence failed to clear the ball, Breen was able to force the ball over the line.
Limerick were five clear, 2-11 to 1-9, at half-time and looked set to cruise on when Lynch and O'Mahony extended the gap upon the restart. Cork rallied though, scoring five of the next six points, with McCarthy and Paul Haughney doing well.
McCarthy's eighth point, a free, brought Cork back to within a goal, 2-15 to 1-15, with just over a quarter of the game left, but they would score just one more point.
In the same time, Limerick scored 1-5, Breen killing off the game as he doubled to the net from sub Pat Begley's handpass.
Cork selector Seanie McGrath is happy that the competition provided some new players, however.
"Working of a panel of 31 or 32 is what we want to get to so we'll have to make the calls," he said.
"You'd be hoping that, every year, you'd get one or two more. We had nothing decided before this, but the Waterford Crystal has put one or two fellas into position.
"The only player that's out injured is Jamie Coughlan, he's a good few weeks away. Other than that, we're more or less there."
Scorers - Limerick: A Breen 2-3, G O'Mahony 1-2, J Ryan, C Lynch 0-4 each, T Morrissey, T Condon 0-2 each, N Moran, S Dowling, C King 0-1 each. Cork: C McCarthy 0-8 (3fs), S Moylan 1-0, P Haughney, A Walsh 0-2 each, B Murray, L O'Farrell, B Lawton, P Horgan 0-1 each.
LIMERICK - N Quaid; S Walsh, R McCarthy, S Hickey; T Condon, D O'Grady, D Morrissey; J Ryan, C King; N Moran, G O'Mahony, C Lynch; T Morrissey, S Dowling, A Breen. Subs: P Browne for Moran (39, injured), W McNamara for Condon (41), P Begley for King (55), J Fitzgibbon for Lynch (60), C Allis for O'Grady (65).
CORK - P Collins; W Kearney, D Cahalane, S O'Donoghue; B O'Sullivan, L McLoughlin, G O'Connor; P Haughney, A Walsh; B Lawton, C McCarthy, B Murray; S Moylan, L O'Farrell, D McCarthy. Subs: S Harnedy for Murray, M Ellis for O'Connor (both half-time), C Joyce for O'Sullivan (41), P Horgan for D McCarthy (47), C O'Sullivan for O'Donoghue (54),
Ref - J Ryan (Tipperary).