Tipperary 1-22 Limerick 0-21
Reporting by Marisa Kennedy in Semple Stadium
Limerick and Tipperary will contest the Munster Senior Hurling Championship final in two weeks’ time following the conclusion of the round-robin series.
Liam Sheedy’s side got the better of the Treaty men during today’s entertaining encounter in Semple Stadium with Seamus Callanan’s 38th-minute goal proving the difference in front of a crowd of 39,115.
Read all of the major talking points from the Munster final dress rehearsal below.
This was never going to be the shoot-out we have come to expect from the Munster Championship this year but the first half was a much quieter affair than many would have imagined with both sets of defences dominating.
Tipperary registered their first point of the game through a Jason Frode free in the 11th minute of the game but Sheedy’s side squandered four opportunities before that while John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer also failed to control a clear goal chance. Limerick, meanwhile, relied heavily on Aaron Gillane’s frees in the opening half with Diarmuid Byrnes and Shane Dowling the only other names on the scoreline at the break.
The game really sparked into life in the opening quarter of the second half, following a well-taken goal by Seamus Callanan and two beautiful sideline cuts by Jason Forde.
Limerick’s most influential forward, Aaron Gillane did not touch the ball until the sixth minute and that was because of the man-marking abilities of Cathal Barrett who stuck to the Patrickswell man like glue. Gillane’s role was reduced to free-taker for the majority of the first half with five of his points coming from placed balls. His influence increased massively following Barrett’s injury with Alan Flynn unable to cope with his pace.
James Barry was similarly effective on Seamus Flanagan while Ronan and Padraic Maher rotated the role of dropping back into the free space to pick up the loose ball.
Meanwhile, at the other end of the field, Sean Finn was given the job of suppressing the effect of Seamus Callanan which he did brilliantly for the opening 10 minutes. However, once Callanan drifted further back the field, he collected much more ball, leaving John McGrath free inside, though the Loughmore-Castleiney man was well marshalled by Mike Casey.
Absence of Gearoid Hegarty and Declan Hannon
Outside of Gillane, Gearoid Hegarty has been Limerick’s most impressive forward this season but was rested by John Kiely for today’s encounter. In his place came Shane Dowling who has proven himself to be a handful to deal with upon his introduction, but Hegarty’s absence was felt in Semple Stadium.
While he was the only half-forward to score in the opening half of the game, Dowling struggled to win the ball ahead of the Tipp half-back trio of Padraic, Ronan and Brendan Maher. He was replaced shortly after half-time by Conor Boylan.
Meanwhile, Dan Morrissey appeared rusty on his return to action. The Ahane man was rested for the visit of Clare to Gaelic Grounds last weekend, a game in which Declan Hannon shone. The Limerick captain was not included in today’s squad but his ball-winning ability, as well as his distribution, was sorely missed.
The other player Kiely chose not to start this week was Graeme Mulcahy but the Kilmallock man made an immediate impact upon his introduction at half-time, scoring a point with his first touch of the ball.
Tipperary Injury Concerns
Tipperary were dealt a major blow when Cathal Barrett pulled up with a suspected hamstring injury in the 31st minute. The Holycross man is arguably Tipperary’s best defender and was doing an excellent man-marking job on Gillane.
Four minutes later, Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher was stretchered off in considerable agony with a possible cruciate injury. The duo are key men in Sheedy’s plans and have been back to their best this season.
On top of that, Brendan Maher seemed to suffer a dead leg in the 51st minute though he played on.
Sheedy has opted not to use too many of his U21 players throughout this campaign but if Maher and Barrett’s injuries prove serious, he may have to rely on them more than he would have wanted. Meanwhile, Niall O’Meara seems to be still nursing a hamstring injury suffered in the opening round against Cork as the Kilruane McDonaghs man was left out of today’s panel.
There was also a late injury concern for Limerick as Sean Finn suffered a heavy knock in the last minute of injury time.