Second half surge sees Limerick open with league win


The first score came in the 5th minute from placed ball after Darragh O’Donovan was pulled for over carrying. Jason Forde punished the indiscretion. Jake Morris doubled the lead a minute later as Tipp settled well.

Over-carrying, this time from Tipperary afforded Aaron Gillane a chance to get Limerick on the board but he pulled his effort left and wide. Meanwhile another Tipp attack saw Jason Forde make it 0-3 to 0-0 in the 9th minute.

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The All Ireland champions were full value for their opening lead taking all three of their scoring opportunities. Limerick were not quite at it with 3 wides and a ball dropping short in their opening 4 chances.

An Aaron Gillane free in the 12th minute finally saw Limerick make an impression on the scoreboard. A minute later and Tom Morrissey landed a fine point from play from the Rian Stand sideline.

John McGrath then restored Tipp’s two point lead with a composed effort. A wayward cross field pass from Tom Condon gifted Tipp a sideline cut which Jason Forde converted.

Jake Morris then pounced on another Limerick mistake from the puckout to score. It was quickly followed by another John McGrath point to make it 0-7 to 0-2.

Allianz Hurling League Division 1A, Semple Stadium, Thurles, Co. Tipperary 25/1/2020 Tipperary vs Limerick Limerick’s Graeme Mulcahy and Cathal Barrett of Tipperary Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

Further sloppiness from Limerick gave yet another chance to Jake Morris but his goal-bound shot was superbly turned away by Barry Hennessey. Another wide followed from John Kiely’s team in what was a largely forgettable opening 20 minutes from Limerick.

Willie Connors extended Tipp’s lead to 6 before David Dempsey managed Limerick’s 3rd point of the evening but two Jason Forde frees in quick succession made 0-10 to 0-3 to Tipp.

Mike Casey made way for Sean Finn after 26 minutes but it did little to stem Tipperary’s momentum as another foul was punished by the unerring Jason Forde. The visitors were second to the ball with Paddy Cadell’s point for Tipp symptomatic of Limerick’s ills.

Robbie Hanly then made way for Will O’Donoghue in 30th minute as Kiely tried to sway the momentum back in Limerick’s favour. Gillane pulled a shot wide in the 31st minute before Graeme Mulcahy shot wide with the referee allowing advantage.

Tom Morrissey got Limerick’s 4th of the evening on 33 minutes before Jason Forde tapped over short range free to make it a 9-point lead once again.

Allianz Hurling League Division 1A, Semple Stadium, Thurles, Co. Tipperary 25/1/2020 Tipperary vs Limerick Tipperrary’s Cathal Barrett with David Reidy and Darragh O’Donovan of Limerick Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

John Kiely would have had some stern words for his charges at the break but it was Tipp who mustered the first score of the second half following some hesitancy in the Limerick backline, Jake Morris pounced to Make it a ten point lead.

Gillane got Limerick’s first and third scores of the second half from placed ball either side of a David Dempsey point as Limerick finally started to make an impression on the game. Byrnes made it four points in a row and the gap was now just six points.

John McGrath responded for Tipp with a fine point at the end of a driving run to make it 0-15 to 0-7. Tom Morrissey then put in a solid challenge to dislodge the ball from a Tipp defender. Will O’Donoghue pounced and laid the ball off to Gillane who fired past Brian Hogan in the Tipp goal.

David Dempsey then landed a point from an acute angle to make it Limerick 1-9 Tipperary 0-15 and just three points between the sides.

Another Gillane free reduced the arrears to just two as Limerick were now starting to find their rhythm. Jason Forde settled Tipp nerves with short range free to make it a 4 point game.

25 January 2020; Aaron Gillane of Limerick celebrates after scoring his side’s first goal during the Allianz Hurling League Division 1 Group A Round 1 match between Tipperary and Limerick at Semple Stadium in Thurles, Tipperary. Photo by Diarmuid Greene/Sportsfile

Tipp were once again their own worst enemy in defence another failed clearance was picked up by Will O’Donoghue who booted it through to the unmarked Hegarty who finished cooly to the back of the net to level proceedings at 2-10 to 0-16.

Jason Forde edged Limerick back into a 1-point lead before Gillane quickly cancelled it out. Three minutes later and Gillane would put Limerick into the lead for the first time on 63 minutes. Diarmaid Byrnes extended the lead to two with a long range effort less than a minute later.

Forde made it a one point game again on 68 minutes with a free in what was as cracking opening to the league campaign. Substitute Seamus Flanagan restored Limerick’s uncomfortable 2-point cushion as the PA announced 3 minutes of additional time.

Jason Forde had a late chance from placed ball to fire a goal but it was blocked, Limerick cleared and the final whistle sounded. A superb second half with Limerick 2-14 to 0-18 winners.

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