Limerick overcame Munster champions Tipperary on Saturday evening to get life in Division 3 of the Allianz Football League off to a perfect start at a wet and rain-sodden LIT Gaelic Grounds.
The all-important goal came just two minutes into the second half as Danny Neville did enough to win the game for Limerick, blasting into the net past Michael O'Reilly.
Limerick started slow and trailed Tipperary by two points at half-time – 0-06 to 0-04.
But a strong second-half showing by Billy Lee's side, boosted by Neville's goal on 37 minutes, secured a two-point win for the hosts – 1-13 to 0-14.
Both sides showed signs of rustiness in the opening half but an exciting finish to the game resulted in Billy Lee’s charges outscoring Tipperary in the last three quarters.
Tipp got off to a flying start and two frees from All-Star Conor Sweeney opened the scoring.
The first score from play came in the 11th minute – a well-worked move that resulted in Steven O’Brien slotting over from distance, before Sean O’Connor pointed for Tipp to put his side four ahead.
Darragh Treacy got Limerick off the mark with 16 minutes, narrowing the deficit to three points for Billy Lee’s charges.
Tipperary – the far superior of the two sides in the opening 17 minutes – led by three points, 0-04 to 0-01, at the first half water break.
O’Connor added his second – Tipperary’s fifth – straight after the restart but the quick break seemed to take the momentum away from David Power’s side, as the men in blue and gold failed to score from play in the remainder of the opening 35 minutes.
A badly needed score from Tony McCarthy – Limerick’s second of the afternoon - inspired the Shannonsiders to a very strong finish to the half. Limerick went on to score three points in a row.
Limerick corner-forward Hugh Bourke reduced the margin yet again, to two points, before the Adare clubman made it a one-point game as half-time fast approached half-time.
However, Tipperary goalkeeper Michael O’Reilly rushed forward to coolly slot over a 45’, facing into an empty Clare end terrace, to put Tipperary back into a two-point lead at half-time – 0-06 to 0-04 in favour of the Premier County.
Limerick hit five wides in the opening half, compared to just one wide from Tipperary.
Limerick came out all guns blazing and hit 1-04 without reply on the resumption. Neville – who had a quiet first half – came to life, scoring 1-02 inside five minutes.
Less than a minute had elapsed when Neville slotted over before finding the net a minute later.
Half-time substitute and Limerick joint captain Iain Corbett made an immediate impact, playing a superb through ball into Neville before the Ballysteen man blasted into the back of the net to give Billy Lee’s side the lead for the first time.
The visitors opening score of the second half came eight minutes in, as Liam Boland made it a four-point game – a much-needed boost for a struggling Tipp side.
Limerick lead 1-10 to 0-08 after 15 minutes of play in the second half, but scores for Boland and Sweeney brought Power's men back into the game.
Two points in a row from Bourke and Neville put a stop to Tipp’s momentum – 1-12 to 0-11 to Limerick with 10 minutes remaining.
Substitute Donovan added a second to ensure a nervy finish for Limerick.
However, Lee’s side showed impressive resilience to see out the game with two points to spare.
Limerick: D O’Sullivan; S O’Dea, B Fanning (0-01), M Donovan; T McCarthy (0-01), R Childs, G Brown; D Treacy (0-01), T Childs; C Sheehan, C Fahy, T Griffin; P Scanlon, D Neville (1-03), H Bourke (0-06, 3f)
Subs: Donovan (0-2) for Childs (h/t), Corbett for Enright (h/t), P Maher for Brown (58), S O’Carroll for Sheehan (63), R Bourke for Fahy (67)
Tipperary: M O’Reilly (0-01, 1 45’); T Fitzgerald, J Feehan, C O’Shaughnessy; E Moloney, P Feehan, J Harney; S O’Brien (0-02), Conal Kennedy (0-02); J Lonergan, Colman Kennedy, B Fox; L Boland (0-01), C Sweeney (capt) (0-04, 4f), S O’Connor (0-02, 1m)
Subs: D Brennan for Harney (42), S Foley for Fitzgerald (56), A Campbell for O’Shaughnessy (56) J Kennedy (0-02, 1f) for Boland (56), S Quirke for Lonergan (67), P Looram for Moloney (69)
Referee: Brendan Griffin (Kerry)