Limerick 1-20 Galway 0-17

Limerick are through to a first Bord Gáis Energy All-Ireland Under-21 hurling final since 2002 after defeating a fancied Galway by 1-20 to 0-17 at Semple Stadium this evening.

Senior panellist Tom Morrissey scored a crucial 49th-minute goal to help the Treaty men through to a 12 September clash against Wexford.

Defeat scuppers Galway’s hopes of a clean sweep, as All-Ireland intermediate glory was already achieved, while their minors and seniors are looking ahead to a double Croke Park date on 6 September.

Morrissey somehow managed to find the net under intense pressure for the crucial score, as referee Fergal Horgan played a good advantage.

Limerick had a six-point lead at Semple Stadium and they would go on to win by that margin.  

Limerick’s victory sees the Munster champions through to a first All-Ireland U21 decider in 13 years.  

Boss John Kiely, a senior panel member in 1996 when Wexford won the All-Ireland final, now has the chance to exact revenge on the Model County, almost 20 years on.

It was a mixed night for Galway’s senior stars Jason Flynn, Cathal Mannion and Conor Whelan.

Flynn hit two of his seven points from play and scored from a fine sideline cut in the first half, but Whelan managed just a point and Mannion was held scoreless.

Brian Molloy provided stout Galway resistance with five points from play but Limerick were too good down the home straight.

In front of 7,563 spectators, the sides were level at half-time, 0-10 apiece, with Galway coming from six points down to ensure parity.

Daniel Nevin opened the scoring for Galway with just ten seconds on the watch but Limerick looked the better side for spells before the Tribesmen finished well before half-time.

The best goal chance of the first half fell to Flynn but he was kept out by David McCarthy in the seventh minute.

But Flynn would come good later in the half with a burst of scores as Galway rallied from 0-04 to 0-10 behind.

Morrissey put over a brace during the Treaty men’s purple patch, a run of four unanswered points that opened up real breathing space.

But Flynn was the man in form in the closing minutes of the opening half as Galway reeled off six points without reply.

He scored four in that run of white flags, including that sideline cut and the final point of the half from play, as the Connacht men finally found momentum after taking some time to find their feet.

But this was Limerick’s day and they march on to an intriguing meeting with Wexford.

Limerick: D McCarthy; S Finn, R English, M Casey; D Byrnes (0-02), B O’Connell, G Hegarty (0-01); D O’Donovan (0-02), P Ryan; R Lynch (0-03, 2f, 1 sl), C Lynch (0-01), D Dempsey (0-04); C Ryan (0-03), T Morrissey (1-03), B Nash (0-01).

Subs: A La Touche-Cosgrave for P Ryan (51), P Casey for Nash (51), M O’Callaghan for M Casey (59), J Kelliher for Morrissey (60+1).

Galway: G Loughnane; D Cronin, P Killeen, B Keane; S Sweeney, S Cooney (0-01), É Burke; K McHugo, D Nevin (0-02); E Brannigan (0-01), C Mannion, C Whelan (0-01); B Molloy (0-05), R O’Meara, J Flynn (0-07, 2f, 2 65s, 1 sl).

Subs: M Mullins for O’Meara (21), J Kennedy for Brannigan (41), J Ryan for McHugo (52), B Burke for Kennedy (56)

Referee: F Horgan (Tipperary)