Munster cruise past Ulster in Inter-pro semi

Updated: Sunday, 17 Feb 2013 20:08

Munster crushed Ulster 3-20 to 1-14 in their M Donnelly Interprovincial Hurling semi-final clash at the Athletic Grounds.

All the damage was done in the first half with three goals between the 14th and 19th minutes from Limerick's Graeme Mulcahy (2) and Paudie O'Sullivan.

Liam Sheedy's side led by 3-12 to 1-04 at half-time but relied on free-taker Shane Dowling for most of their second half scores.

Antrim’s Neil McManus led Ulster's resistance with 1-07, including a 21st-minute goal, as he finished as the game's top scorer

Ulster started with nine Antrim players and, for the first time in many years, no representative from Down who were in action the day before, beating Roscommon in the Kehoe Cup Shield.

The home side took a third-minute lead through a McManus free and stayed with their opponents for the first 13 minutes, trailing by a respectable 0-04 to 0-03.

It was not long before Munster started to find huge gaps and they scored three quick-fire goals from Mulcahy and Paudie O'Sullivan.

Mulcahy scored 2-02 in the first-half, the Limerick forward giving Derry's Michael Warnock probably the toughest test of his career.

Patrick Horgan, one of five Cork men in the starting team, drilled over six frees during the opening period as Munster stretched their lead.

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 what was almost one-way traffic.

Paudie O'Sullivan hit two points from out on the wing to add to his 16th-minute goal.

Tipperary's Brian O'Meara set up the first two goals and nice stick work put O'Sullivan through for Munster's second major of the day.

Mulcahy's second goal demonstrated the space the Munster forwards were enjoying when he collected a long puck from the half-back and drilled the ball into the roof of the net.

Understandably, Munster took their foot off the gas in a pedestrian second half.

Ulster outscored them by ten points to eight with McManus the player to shine in the second period.

Munster only scored two points from play in the entire second 35 minutes, but Dowling's six frees kept the scoreboard ticking over for them.

Kevin Hinphey scored within 10 seconds of the restart and Antrim players accounted for five points in-a-row at one stage as Munster, never pushing beyond second gear, lost interest in the one-sided contest.

MUNSTER: A Nash; S O'Neill, T Condon, N Connors; B Bugler, M Walsh, W McNamara; P Cronin (0-01), S McGrath (0-01); S Dowling (0-07. 0-06f, 0-01 '45'), P Maher, P O'Sullivan (1-02), G Mulcahy (2-02), B O'Meara (0-01), P Horgan (0-06,0-0 6f).

Subs used: S Daniels for Connors, P Mahony for Horgan (both 50 mins), B Maher for McGrath, G O'Mahony for Bugler (both 52), S Sullivan for Maher (60)

ULSTER: R McGarry; M Warnock, A Graffin, K Stewart; N McAuley, L Hinphey, S McCrory (0-01); B McFall, K Hinphey (0-01); A Grant (0-01), R Gaffney (0-01), P Shiels (0-03); S McNaughton, N McManus (1-07, 0-04f), O McCloskey.

Subs used: C Corvan for McFall (18 mins), J Corvan for L Hinphey (half-time), E Clarke for McCloskey (45).

Referee: Patrick Murphy (Carlow)