Tuesday 20 February 2018

Hannon on the mark to edge thriller

CORK 1-27
(After extra-time)

Declan Rooney

Leaving Cert student Declan Hannon fired home the decisive goal in the second half of extra-time to secure an epic victory for Limerick in the game of the year at the Gaelic Grounds last night.

Leaving Cert student Declan Hannon fired home the decisive goal in the second half of extra-time to secure an epic victory for Limerick in the game of the year at the Gaelic Grounds last night.

It was a contest that had just about everything, with Aidan Walsh hitting 0-8 from play for Cork and Limerick corner-forward Graeme Mulcahy grabbing a brace of goals as the game ebbed and flowed.

Limerick overturned a four-point deficit early in the second half of normal time to forge ahead.

But Cork forced extra-time thanks to a monster point from Walsh and looked set for victory when they pulled away in extra-time, only for Hannon to hit the decisive score seven minutes from the end of a gripping encounter.

Limerick, who were targeting their first Munster title since the last of the three-in-a-row in 2002, couldn't have hoped for a better start, when Mulcahy rattled the net after just 20 seconds after Hannon forced Seamus Corry to spill the ball.

With a week to forget for GAA in the county and an early Limerick goal to deal with, Cork could have let their heads bow, but instead they hit back immediately with a Luke O'Farrell point.

Conor Allis tagged on another point for Limerick after a second mistake at the back by Cork, but the Rebels soon improved and tagged on four points in a row to take the lead for the first time after 13 minutes.

After a pair of frees from Jamie Coughlan, Micheal O'Sullivan got in on the act with a point, but from then on it was Walsh that stole the show.

He hit the lead point after fielding a puck-out from Cork goalkeeper Darren McCarthy, and after his marker Cathal McNamara was withdrawn after 16 minutes he continued to his domination over James O'Brien with four more points from play before the break.

But the Rebels did not have it all their own way and could have fallen behind once more after 12 minutes when McCarthy denied Michael Ryan with a point-blank save.

Cork senior star Conor Lehane added a brace of points -- off of each side -- as his side eked out a three-point lead, but the score of the half came from Mulcahy after a sublime reverse hand-pass from Shane Dowling.

With Waterford referee Pat Casey in the strictest of moods, Dowling was given the chance to reduce Limerick's deficit and his three frees brought the sides level.

However, terrific points from Walsh in added time ensured Cork enjoyed a 0-12 to 1-7 advantage at the break.

But it was more of the same for Cork after the restart, as Walsh picked up exactly where he left off with two excellent points from play to open up a four-point lead.


It looked as if Limerick's nine-year wait for Munster silverware would go on, but an amazing blitzkrieg between the seventh and 12th minutes of the half stunned Cork.

Sean O'Brien started the rush of scores with a deft flick past the onrushing McCarthy, and Dowling added a point seconds later after he was picked out by substitute Mark Carmody.

Less than a minute later, Mulcahy found himself in on goal only to drop the ball with the goal gaping, but he made immediate amends when Allis' long ball broke off the unfortunate Damien Cahalane and he tapped past the Cork custodian.

And the onslaught didn't end there as Hannon and Allis added a point each. Limerick had turned a four-point deficit into a five-point lead in less than five minutes.

But this Cork team are made of stern stuff and 12 minutes from time O'Farrell found the top corner of Aaron Murphy's net with a blistering shot.

O'Farrell hit the leveller two minutes later and Coughlan pushed Cork into the lead with eight minutes remaining with a fine point.

However, Limerick, with a buoyant home crowd cheering them on, hit the front once more with points from Hannon on the turn and substitute Mark Carmody's second point.

But with time running out, Cork rallied and Coughlan pulled them within one score, before Walsh forced extra-time with a huge point from the halfway line in the dying seconds.

Four points from Coughlan, three of them from play, helped Cork lead by 1-26 to 3-17 at the interval in extra-time, but the Rebels had reckoned without Hannon.

Scorers -- Limerick: S Dowling 0-7 (6f), G Mulcahy 2-1, D Hannon 1-4, S O'Brien 1-0, C Allis 0-4 (2fs), M Carmody 0-3, K Downes 0-1. Cork: J Coughlan 0-10 (5f, 1 '65'), A Walsh 0-8, L O'Farrell 1-2, C Lehane 0-3, D Brosnan, M O'Sullivan, D Drake (slc), S O'Brien 0-1 each.

Cork -- D McCarthy; C Joyce, D Cahalane, S Corry; J Nagle, W Egan, M Ellis; S O'Farrell, D Roche; D Brosnan, M O'Sullivan, A Walsh; L O'Farrell, C Lehane, J Coughlan. Subs: P Honohan for Ellis (h-t), D Drake for Brosnan (39), B Witlers for Corry (41), S O'Brien for O'Farrell (43), P Haughney for Lehane (54), C Lehane for Haughney (67), D Brosnan for O'Sullivan (75).

Limerick -- A Murphy; A Dempsey, P Begley, S O'Reilly; C McNamara, C Hayes, T O'Callaghan; C Allis, S O'Brien; S Dowling, D Hannon, N Kennedy; M Ryan, K Downes, G Mulcahy. Subs: J O'Brien for McNamara (16), M Carmody for Ryan (h-t), A Breen for O'Brien (57), S Madden for Mulcahy (61), B Cleary for O'Reilly (60), G Mulcahy for Madden (60), B O'Connell for O'Callaghan, (69), S O'Brien for Breen (70).

Ref -- Pat Casey (Waterford).

Irish Independent

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