Cregan livid after 'harsh' Hannon red
Eamon Cregan is livid that Limerick star Declan Hannon will miss today's final after receiving a red card in the early stages of their last-four victory in Carnmore.
It seemed that Mary I were doomed when Westmeath referee James McGrath dished out a straight red to centre-back Hannon for a heavy and high body check on the advancing Eoin Murphy after just nine minutes.
"I thought it was an unbelievably harsh sending-off," fumed Cregan. "I hope referees aren't making molly coddles out of this game of hurling. He was going for the ball and his hip came in contact with somebody, so what happens? He gave him a red."
But Mary I responded to the loss with a performance full of heart, with captain John Conlon leading the way.
He fired home a 19th-minute goal in addition to a string of points from play and frees as the Limerick college built up a 1-7 to 0-8 interval lead and there seemed to be no way back for Waterford as they trailed by 1-11 to 0-8 after 41 minutes.
However, the superb Tomas Hamill, Michael Sheedy and Pauric Mahony came into the game and the favourites began to claw their way back.
A goal from Sheedy reduced the margin and they drew level two minutes from time when Jake Dillon got his third point.
O'Farrell and Mahony swapped points in the closing stages, but with extra-time looming Galway star Conor Cooney landed a monster free from 90 yards and their place in the final was secured when O'Farrell pointed at the death.
Scorers – Mary Immaculate: J Conlon 1-9 (6f), L O'Farrell
0-4, S Curran, B O'Halloran, C Glavin, C Cooney (1f) 0-1 each. Waterford IT: P Mahony 0-6 (4f), M Sheedy 1-1, J Dillon, E Murphy (1f) 0-3 each, G O'Brien, M O'Neill (1f) 0-1 each
Mary Immaculate College – S Nolan; C Fennessy, R O'Donnell, A Ryan; E Hogan, D Hannon, J Wall; K Fitzgerald, C Galvin; S Curran, B O'Halloran, N O'Meara; W Hickey, J Conlon, L O'Farrell. Subs: C Cooney for Fitzgerald (37), L Considine for Hickey (57)
Waterford IT – Stephen O'Keeffe; Stephen O'Keeffe; L Lawlor, N Connors; C Haugh, W Hutchinson, T Hamill; H Kehoe, S Roche; P Mahony, M Sheedy, E Murphy; M O'Neill, J Dillon, G O'Brien. Subs: S Murphy for Connors (25), A McGrath for O'Keeffe (33), M Power for Kehoe (49), M Gaffney for O'Neill (60), L McGrath for Murphy (64)
Ref – J McGrath (Westmeath)