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Watch: Key Moments That Sealed Victory For Limerick

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Limerick have become the first team to book their place in the All Ireland hurling final 2018, there first final in 11 years. It was yet another nail-biting, ferocious and exhilarating battle with Cork and we take a look back at the key moments that proved to be the winning of the match for Limerick.

Shane Dowling introduction

John Kiely made the decision to bring on Shane Dowling and Peter Casey at a time when Limerick were really struggling. They were six points down, their players tiring and Cork seemed to be winning every possession. But Dowling quickly swung momentum back in their favour.  With his first two touches of the ball, he scored. The Na Piarsaigh man seemed to inspire those around him and together with Aaron Gillane, they scored five further points without reply and would have won the game in normal time had it not been for a Patrick Horgan free.

Dowling was the hero in extra-time as well as he used his strength to push his way in on goal only to be fouled and awarded a penalty which he expertly dispatched past Anthony Nash. It was only at that stage that Limerick fans dared to dream.

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THAT Nicky Quaid save 

It’s the save that will forever go down in the history books and will be talked about down by the Shannon for years to come. The game was level. Cork were advancing through Robbie O’Flynn who drew out the Limerick defenders and passed it to the one man you would not want to see bearing down on you – Seamus Harnedy. It was one of those moments where you could feel a goal coming in your bones and then Nicky Quaid made an instinctive decision.

He stepped out of goal to meet Harnedy and managed to get a vital touch of the hurl to the ball before the Cork captain had a chance to make a connection. Limerick managed to scramble to the ball and clear it from danger with the resulting ball ending up a free to the Treaty men in a moment that proved to be pivotal for the win.

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Pat Ryan’s goal 

When Dowling scored his penalty, it put Limerick four points ahead with three minutes to go. But nothing is ever certain in hurling until the final whistle blows, as Cork proved with their late goal. But that goal from Horgan proved to be a mere consolation as Pat Ryan had netted minutes before that. And it was upon his effort that Limerick fans really started to celebrate and enjoy the game. Ryan was another substitute and it just proves how effective Limerick’s bench is. Dowling, Casey, Will O’Donoghue, they all played their part superbly. We said before the game how important the substitutes would be and they proved to be the winning of the game. 

Richie English sent a long ball into the corner which Ryan gathered in front of Damien Cahalane. You would have expected at that stage of the game for the Fitzgibbon Cup winner to hit it back across to one of his fellow forwards for a point but instead he turned, found a burst of pace and lobbed the ball past Nash.

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The influence of Aaron Gillane

Just before Ryan’s goal, Aaron Gillane went off injured. He had emptied the tank and given all he could for the cause. In their drawn game in Munster, Gillane saw red for a strike on a Cork player and whether he was trying to redeem himself or not, he played out of his skin yesterday. The Patrickswell man will be annoyed at himself for his missed opportunities in front of goal. Three times he found himself one-on-one with Nash but lost his hurl and his cool on more than one occasion.

But it was his points, 13 in total with six from play that helped Limerick over the line. When they were behind and struggling, he really stepped up and it was fitting that he should have scored the point that levelled the game in normal time. Was deservedly awarded man-of-the-match for his efforts.

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Author: Marisa Kennedy

Marisa is a Digital Journalist with Pundit Arena. You can contact her at marisa@punditarena.com or on Twitter