Michael Ryan was surprised it did not go to extra-extra-time and sounded slightly disappointed not to get another 10 minutes of action - like everyone else in Semple Stadium, the Tipperary manager was enrapt by a cracking game of hurling.

In the end, his side won out on a scoreline of 2-31 to 1-31 as Jason Forde's goals proved decisive on a night to test the mettle of hurlers and scorekeepers alike.

Limerick were coming off the back of an even longer quarter-final, as they only saw off Clare with the help of a historic free-taking competition, and Ryan thought this tit-for-tat encounter might go the same way.

"We ended up with 33 scores, they ended up with 32. That is how fine these games are," Ryan told RTÉ Radio 1 after the game. "If that had been pushed into extra-extra time it would not have surprised me in the least."

They could not be separated after 70 minutes, but the in-form Forde struck for two opportunistic goals in the first period of extra-time. which seemed to seal matters for the Premier - but the Division 1B winners made it interesting, with Graeme Mulcahy pulling a goal back.

"That was fantastic drama, right to the end," said Ryan. "Only the puck of a ball in it. That game could have gone either way. We looked to be in a goodish position when the second goal went in, but Limerick in true Limerick style, came back at us again."

While the winners of Wexford and Kilkenny await in the League final, Ryan will have one eye on 20 May and Tipperary's trip to the Gaelic Grounds for a rematch with Limerick in the opening round of the new look, round robin Munster SHC.

"They have had great campaign. In the same situation with Clare two weeks ago and came though the right side of it. They kept coming and coming and coming. It just augers really well for the Munster championship down the road."

Michael Ryan was impressed by Limerick's spirit

John McGrath, the scorer of five points, was also conscious of the upcoming renewal in the Treaty City.

"We're going to playing them in a couple weeks and it will be another huge game. We did not want to give them anything coming up to Thurles, our own back yard, so it is great to get away with the win."

The forward, exhausted as he was, was delighted to come out the right end of such a testing game ahead of the Championship.

"It was extremely tough going, big physicality, really quick game. This time of year to be getting a game like this under out belts is massive.

"We are working very hard and we are very happy with our conditioning," said McGrath of his side's ability to finish strongly after 90 minutes of hurling. "Everyone who played gave 100 percent. That is all that you can ask and that is what got us over the line at the end."

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