Limerick 1-16 Tipperary 4-23
A classy performance from Tipperary as they romped to a 4-23 to 1-16 victory against Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds in the Munster SHC semi-final.
The rampant Premier County set up a July 12 provincial final against Waterford by notching 4-19 from play against the outclassed Shannonsiders.
2014 Hurler of the Year nominee Seamus Callanan hit 2-5 and the irrepressible John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer added seven points as O’Shea’s men recorded their biggest championship victory over Limerick since the 2009 All-Ireland semi-final.
It was O’Shea’s first Munster championship victory in his third season at the helm and on a day of firsts, Tipp beat Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds in championship hurling for the first time in ten years.
Tipp were on song up front and although Limerick pared a gap that was eight points in the first half down to one after the break, O’Shea’s men responded in whirlwind fashion.
A blistering start to the second half saw Limerick, who were 0-12 to 2-12 down at half-time, cut the deficit back to the bare minimum.
After an incredible passage of play saw Tipp’s Allstar goalkeeper Darren Gleeson pull off three fine saves, Limerick’s leading marksman Shane Dowling banged home a 40th minute penalty.
Dowling added two further points, both from placed balls, before Limerick argued that they had drawn level through Graeme Mulcahy, whose attempted point was waved wide.
That was the cue for Tipp to turn up the gas, as the winners hit 1-04 without reply, including a goal from Jason Forde.
It was a procession from there until the finish, as substitute Michael Breen rubbed salt in gaping Limerick wounds with Tipp’s fourth goal in stoppage time.
In front of 31,448 spectators, Seamus Callanan’s two first half goals provided Tipp with a six-point advantage at half-time, 2-12 to 0-12.
For his first, the 2014 Hurler of the Year nominee took a ground pass from the excellent John ‘Bubbles’ O’Dwyer and hammered a low drive past Barry Hennessy.
And Callanan struck again in the 22nd minute, when Brendan Maher’s long ball evaded Limerick full-back Richie McCarthy, allowing the full-forward to profit.
Limerick’s tactics appeared to play into Tipperary’s hands, with an extra man in defence aimed at shutting down space for the likes of Callanan and O’Dwyer, who scored a couple of geometry-defying efforts from the right touchline in the first half en route to a seven-point haul.
With the Shannonsiders dropping deep, Tipp goalkeeper Darren Gleeson picked out teammates with short puckouts and the visitors were able to exploit Limerick with long deliveries down the flanks and over their half back line.
Wind-assisted Limerick struggled up front, Declan Hannon the notable exception from play, as teen sensation Cian Lynch was shut down.
Lynch bagged three points against Clare in a sensational championship debut but struggled to make in impact against a physically imposing Tipp rearguard, often finding himself swamped by three players.
Tipp’s robust forward Patrick ‘Bonner’ Maher was another to profit in a first half that saw five of Tipp’s starting forwards register scores from play.
Maher finished with three points and was one of six Tipp scorers in the opening half, with seven Limerick players on the scoresheet despite playing second fiddle for the most part.
But it was Limerick who got off to the better start, leading by 0-03 to 0-00 before Tipp hit 1-04 without reply to gain a firm stranglehold on proceedings.
LIMERICK: B Hennessy; S Walsh, R McCarthy, S Hickey; T Condon, G O’Mahony (0-01), S O’Brien (0-01); J Ryan, P O’Brien; D Breen (0-01), D Hannon (0-03), D O’Grady (0-01); G Mulcahy (0-02), S Dowling (1-07, 1-00 pen, 0-04f, 0-02 65s), C Lynch.
Subs: P Browne for Breen (h.t.), K Downes for O’Grady (50), J Fitzgibbon for O’Brien (60), W McNamara for McCarthy (60), D Reidy for Ryan (68).
TIPPERARY: D Gleeson; P Stapleton, J Barry, C O’Brien; K Bergin, Pádraic Maher, R Maher; J Woodlock (0-01), S McGrath (0-02); J Forde (1-03), B Maher, Patrick Maher (0-03); J O’Dwyer (0-07, 1 65), S Callanan (2-05, 0-2f, 0-01 65), N O’Meara (0-01).
Subs: M Cahill for Stapleton (inj, 35+1), M Breen (1-00) for Callanan (temp 54- 61), S Bourke (0-01) for O’Meara (68), B Maher for McGrath (69), M Breen for Callanan (70).
Referee: B Gavin (Offaly)