Tuesday 23 January 2018

Mulcahy leads devastating early blitz as Sheedy's men ease into final


Patrick Maher, Munster, in action against Aaron Graffin, Ulster
Patrick Maher, Munster, in action against Aaron Graffin, Ulster

Orla Bannon Inter-pro SH semi-final

Munster did all the damage in the first half as they blitzed Ulster.

The game was effectively over when Munster reeled off an unanswered 3-2 in a devastating six-minute spell at the Athletic Grounds.

Limerick's Graeme Mulcahy (two) and Paudie O'Sullivan scored the goals between the 14th and 19th minutes. Munster led by 3-12 to 1-4 at half-time, making the most of a strong wind advantage.

Mulcahy hit 2-2 from play, O'Sullivan scored 1-2 from play, and six frees from Patrick Horgan ensured that the gulf in standard was reflected on the scoreboard.

Liam Sheedy's side lost interest after that and took their foot off the gas in a pedestrian second half.

They only scored twice from play in the second period but Shane Dowling converted six frees to ensure there was still clear daylight between the teams. Ulster outscored Munster in the second period, with six players scoring from play.


Their captain, Antrim's Neil McManus, led the resistance with 1-7, including a 21st-minute goal, to finish as the game's top scorer.

"We gave ourselves a platform with the scores we took in the second 10-minute spell of the first half," Sheedy said.

"That is what we were looking for. Ulster put in a strong second half, but the key phase of the game was the second 10 minutes. We're pleased to get the job done and be through to the final."

Ulster took a third-minute lead through a McManus free and stayed with their opponents for the first 13 minutes, trailing by a respectable 0-4 to 0-3.

It wasn't long, however, before Munster started to find huge gaps and those three quick-fire goals effectively settled the contest.

Ulster skipper McManus provided a much-needed goal for his team after 21 minutes. Shane McNaughton took a fine catch from Karl Stewart's long puck and passed into McManus, who did the rest.

Paul Shiels then got Ulster's first point in 18 minutes, brief respite against the one-way traffic.

Scorers – Munster: G Mulcahy 2-2, S Dowling 0-7 (6f, 1 '65'), P Horgan 0-6f, P O'Sullivan 1-2, P Cronin, S McGrath, B O'Meara 0-1 each. Ulster: N McManus 1-7 (0-4f), P Shiels 0-3, S McCrory, K Hinphey, A Grant, R Gaffney 0-1 each.

MUNSTER – A Nash; S O'Neill, T Condon, N Connors; B Bugler, M Walsh, W McNamara; P Cronin, S McGrath; S Dowling, P Maher, P O'Sullivan; G Mulcahy, B O'Meara, P Horgan. Subs: S Daniels for Connors (50), P Mahony for Horgan (50), B Maher for McGrath (52), G O'Mahony for Bugler (52), S Sullivan for Maher (60).

ULSTER – R McGarry; M Warnock, A Graffin, K Stewart; N McAuley, L Hinphey, S McCrory; B McFall, K Hinphey; A Grant, R Gaffney, P Shiels; S McNaughton, N McManus, O McCloskey. Subs: C Corvan for McFall (18), J Corvan for L Hinphey (h-t), E Clarke for McCloskey (45).

REF – P Murphy (Carlow)

Irish Independent

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