Limerick scored six of the final eight points to overcome Cork at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Sunday afternoon and make it three wins from three in the Allianz HL Division 1 Group A.
Having trailed by six points at half-time, Cork hit the front as goals from Shane Kingston and Aidan Walsh were allied to the points of Patrick Horgan.
However, Limerick were able to bring on strong reinforcements, and though Horgan's 17th point made it 2-21 to 0-26 for Cork in the 66th minute, Limerick had the final three scores from Kyle Hayes, Diarmaid Byrnes and Aaron Gillane, who finished with 13 points.
The result secures the Shannonsiders’ place in the knockout stages and means that Cork, with two wins from four, must win away to Galway next weekend if they are to progress any further.
Kieran Kingston’s side – wearing a black kit to commemorate the deaths of Tomás Mac Curtain and Terence MacSwiney – never led in the first half as Limerick showed a greater cohesion in attack before a crowd of 11,212. The Treatymen’s first 11 shots at goal were all points, with seven different scorers in that period and 11 in all.
Three times in the opening period they necklaced together four-point bursts, with Gillane impressive from frees while Séamus Flanagan, Darragh O’Donovan, Cian Lynch and Paddy O’Loughlin showed up well too.
Gillane’s seventh of the game made it 0-17 to 0-09 on 34 minutes, though Cork redressed the imbalance slightly as Patrick Horgan sent over two Cork frees before the break and he had another on the resumption.
O’Donovan replied to that for Limerick but Cork were much improved in the second half, getting three of the next four points to cut the gap to four by the 45th minute before Shane Kingston took a pass from Bill Cooper and weaved through the visitors’ defence to fire home.
They were level thanks to Horgan’s 13th on 47 and though Gillane put Limerick back in front, another Horgan equaliser was followed by a goal from sub Aidan Walsh, who reacted quickest when a Horgan free broke in the goalmouth.
That put Cork ahead for the first time but two Gillane frees cut the gap and sub Tom Morrissey had the game level again in the 61st minute. Horgan put Cork in front and did so again after Gillane’s leveller, but Limerick dug deep to take the points.
LIMERICK: Nickie Quaid; Seán Finn, Mike Casey, Aaron Costello; Diarmaid Byrnes (0-01 65), Declan Hannon, Paddy O'Loughlin (0-02); Cian Lynch (0-02), William O’Donoghue (0-01); Kyle Hayes (0-02), Gearóid Hegarty (0-01), Darragh O’Donovan (0-03); David Dempsey (0-01), Aaron Gillane (0-13, 0-11 frees), Séamus Flanagan (0-02).
Subs: Tom Morrissey (0-01) for Hegarty, Graeme Mulcahy for Dempsey (both 56), David Reidy for Lynch (60), Barry Nash for O’Loughlin (64), Darren O’Connell for Flanagan (67).
CORK: Patrick Collins; Eoin Cadogan, Colm Spillane, Seán O’Leary Hayes; Mark Coleman, Robert Downey, Tim O’Mahony; Bill Cooper (0-01), Darragh Fitzgibbon; Robbie O’Flynn, Séamus Harnedy, Luke Meade; Declan Dalton (0-02, 0-01 sideline), Patrick Horgan (0-17, 0-15 frees, 0-01 65), Shane Kingston (1-01).
Subs: Aidan Walsh (1-00) for Meade (half-time), Conor Lehane for Dalton (57), Christopher Joyce for O’Mahony (66), Conor Cahalane for O’Flynn (70).
Referee: Seán Cleere (Kilkenny)