Tipperary 1-21 Limerick 0-17
Liam Cahill’s Tipperary have been crowned Electric Ireland All-Ireland minor hurling champions at Croke Park this afternoon, running out 1-21 to 0-17 winners against Limerick.
Last year’s runners-up went one better by scoring a seven-point victory over the Shannonsiders at GAA HQ – a win that the ensured a provincial/All-Ireland double for Tipp over their neighbours.
Colin English claimed the man-of-the-match award for Tipp after knifing four points from play but Jake Morris caused huge damage to Limerick also.
Morris was man of the match in the Munster final, when he scored 1-04, and the Nenagh Éire Óg player collected 1-03 from play today.
There was also a significant contribution off the bench from Shane Neville, who scored three points from play after coming on shortly before half-time.
Tipp may have ran out 17-point winners in the Munster final, while they also registered seven goals in an All-Ireland semi-final rout of Galway, but a much tighter affair was anticipated this time and that’s how it turned out, until Tipp finished with a flourish to claim a first Irish Press Cup win since 2012.
It’s Tipperary’s 20th minor crown in total but they had to work hard for it against a Limerick side that improved beyond all recognition from the Munster final.
Tipp led by just a point at half-time, 0-09 to 0-08, but the Premier County had a five-point advantage with 23 minutes on the watch.
Limerick then worked their way back into contention, dominating the puck-out stakes and reeling off four points without reply.
Free-taker Brian Ryan was in excellent form – nailing all four awarded to Limerick in the opening half while also pitching in with two points from play.
During Tipp’s best phase of the game, English picked off a couple of fine scores, while Morris hit points in the seventh and 23rd minutes but this was no cakewalk for Cahill’s charges, despite that massive provincial final win.
Ryan’s free in the fourth minute – verified by Hawk-Eye – opened the scoring before Tipp hit back with three on the spin.
They were 0-05 to 0-02 clear by the 16th minute, starting captain Brian McGrath (brother of senior stars Noel and John) nailing a monster free to establish that advantage, and Tipp kicked on to leave real daylight between the sides inside the final ten minutes of the half.
The only real clear goal chance fell to Limerick, however, as Conor Boylan’s effort was well saved by Ciaran Barrett in the 18th minute.
Tipp finished the first half with eight wides but it was Limerick’s turn to be profligate on the resumption, as they notched up nine second-half wides.
Crucially, Ryan missed his first free of the game after half-time, when a point would have levelled matters, and Tipp would not be caught.
English popped over a point to put two between them before that man Morris struck in the 34th minute with a fine low finish into the corner.
Morris was fortunate, however, to avoid sanction for an off-the-ball incident as he tangled with Limerick’s Josh Adams following the goal.
Replays showed that Morris struck out but he was not spotted by the match officials and to rub salt into Limerick wounds, the in-form forward hit another point from play shortly after.
Limerick, to their credit, hung in grimly and they could have got right back into contention midway through the second half.
Kyle Hayes stormed through at the Davin End but fired narrowly wide as he improvised well to get a batted shot away.
Down the home straight, Tipp managed to keep Limerick at bay and Ger Browne forced Limerick goalkeeper Mark O’Kelly into a save four minutes from home.
This one looked done and dusted in the closing minutes and Tipp made sure of it with the final three scores of the game – including two in stoppage time.
Tipperary: C Barrett; K O’Dwyer, M Whelan, T Murphy; C Flanagan, B McGrath (0-02, 1f, 1 65), J Cahill; P Cadell, G Browne (0-01); R Doody, J Morris (1-03), C English (0-04); C Darcy, M Kehoe (0-02), L Fairbrother (0-05, 4f).
Subs: S Neville (0-03) for Doody (27), G Dunne for Murphy (37), D Walsh (0-01) for Darcy (42), D Quirke for Flanagan (51), C Stakelum for Browne (60+2).
Limerick: M O’Kelly; B Nash, C Nicholas, R Connolly; J Adams, C O’Connor (0-01), F Hourigan; J Boylan, D Carroll (0-01); M O’Grady, A Barrett, B Ryan (0-11, 9f); C Boylan (0-01), K Hayes (0-01), C Magnier-Flynn.
Subs: P O’Brien (0-01) for Magnier-Flynn (34), J Flynn for Carroll (37), D Woulfe (0-01) for Barrett (42), M Bourke for Adams (45), C O’Grady for M O’Grady (54).
Referee: J Keenan (Wicklow)