LIMERICK’s senior hurling team have reached the Co-op Superstores Munster League Final following a 3-19 to 1-15 victory against Kerry at the Gaelic Grounds on Sunday.
John Kiely’s men now face Clare in this weekend’s final after it was agreed to bring the game forward to avoid dead rubbers. Both Limerick and Clare are unbeaten in this season’s competition.
The game against Kerry was wrapped up by half-time as two goals from Seamus Flanagan and one from Barry Nash helped Limerick to a 3-11 to 0-3 lead.
Kerry were much improved after the interval and outscored Limerick but there was no question that the foot was taken off the pedal at that juncture.
Flanagan and Padraig Boyle traded scores in the opening stages but Limerick then took firm control by scoring 1-5 without reply.
Limerick captain Declan Hannon’s excellent point had Limerick ahead for a second time, before an Aaron Gillane free put two points between the teams.
Flanagan then struck for the game’s first goal. Nash pounced on a misplaced Kerry puck out and then set up the Feohanagh man, who finished with aplomb.
That effectively ended any chance Kerry had of gaining a shock win and further efforts from Flanagan and Nash helped the home side to a 17-point half-time lead.
Boyle led Kerry’s charge on the game’s resumption and his final scoring total of 1-10 reflected an outstanding performance.
Kiely will view the final against Clare on Sunday (2pm throw-in) as the perfect preparation for the Allianz Hurling League, which begins when Laois visit the Gaelic Grounds on January 28.
SCORERS: Limerick: Seamus Flanagan 2-2, B Nash 1-4, Aaron Gillane 0-4 (0-2f), Andrew La Touche Cosgrave and Darragh O’Donovan 0-2 each, Declan Hannon, Cian Lynch, Barry O’Connell, Paddy O’Loughlin and Diarmaid Byrnes 0-1 each; Kerry: Padraig Boyle 1-10 (1-7f), Daniel Collins 0-2, Jordan Conway, Daniel O’Carroll and Brandon Barrett 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: Barry Hennessy; Darragh Fanning, Richie English, Tom Condon; Diarmaid Byrnes, Declan Hannon, William O’Meara; Paul Browne, Andrew La Touche Cosgrave; Darragh O’Donovan, Barry Nash, Cian Lynch; Aaron Gillane, Seamus Flanagan, Barry Murphy; Subs: Dan Morrissey for Hannon (24 mins inj), Lorcan Lyons for Browne (h-t), Barry O’Connell for Lynch (h-t), Paddy O’Loughlin for Condon (49 mins), Oisin O’Reilly for Gillane (57 mins).
KERRY: Stephen Murphy; Dougie Fitzell, Jason Diggins, Sean Weir; Brendan O’Leary, Bryan Murphy, John Buckley; Brandon Barrett, Daniel Collins; Daniel O’Carroll, Shane Conway, Colum Harty; Jack Goulding, Padraig Boyle, Jordan Conway; Subs: James O’Connor for O’Leary (h-t), Niall O’Mahony for Weir (40 mins), Daithi Griffin for Fitzell (45 mins), Phillip Lucid for Goulding (54 mins), Paudie Quill for Conway (56 mins), Evan Murphy for O’Connor (73 mins inj).
Referee: Joe Larkin (Cork)