A Jason Forde masterclass ensured Tipperary and All-Ireland champions Limerick shared the spoils in their Allianz Hurling League opener at a sun-drenched LIT Gaelic Grounds on Saturday evening.
Forde top-scored for Tipperary with 14 points – 11 from frees – as the all-conquering Limerick hurling team that had gone through 2020 undefeated continued their unbeaten run thanks to a David Reidy free in additional time.
Liam Sheedy's side failed to score from play in the second half and relied on the in-form Forde to go ahead by four points at the second-half water break – 0-18 to 0-14 – in a game that both sides were level in for a total of 10 times.
Driven on by substitute Peter Casey, who made an immediate impact scoring from deep just a minute after his introduction 10 minutes into the second half, Limerick finished the game stronger to cancel out seven second-half Forde frees.
Neither side showed any lockdown rustiness as the game got off to a lively start on a sunny Shannonside.
Points from Flanagan (two), Reidy (three), Breen, and O’Donoghue had given Limerick the lead - 0-07 to 0-05 - at the first-half water break.
Sheedy’s side came into the game after the first water break and a Forde free and a point from Dan McCormack had the sides’ level for the fourth time.
A Jason Forde free – his fifth point of the game – put Tipperary ahead for the first time, with 25 minutes on the clock.
A minute later, Forde put his side two ahead, this time with a well-taken free from inside his own half – 0-10 to 0-08 in favour of Tipperary.
An excellent diving save from Nicky Quaid denied Jake Morris following a mix-up in the Limerick defence, but the momentum stayed with the visitors.
Both sides went in level – 0-12 a piece – at half-time after being level six times in the opening 35 minutes.
Forde finished the half with six points, five from frees, as a late Michael Breen effort cancelled out a well-worked Flanagan point on the verge of half-time.
Forde (free) and Breen exchanged points just after the break to bring the sides level for the seventh time.
Three Forde scores in a row – two frees and one 65 – put Tipp three ahead before Casey grabbed his first of two to narrow the deficit to two.
Two further frees from the impressive Slivermines full-forward had the Premier County four points up at the second-half water break, 0-18 to 0-14.
Flanagan and Reidy brought Limerick back to within two points as the game began to swing back in favour of John Kiely’s charges.
Reidy had the sides level for the ninth time team before another Forde free – his 11th of the evening – gave Tipperary the narrowest of leads with three minutes left on the clock.
However, the Dromin-Athlacca clubman controlled his nerves to slot over in stoppage time as the 2019 and 2020 All-Irelands champions couldn’t be separated at the final whistle.
Limerick: N Quaid; A Costello, S Finn, R English; D Byrnes (0-01, 0-01f), K Hayes, B Nash; W O’Donoghue (capt) (0-01), D O’Donovan (0-01); T Morrissey, D Reidy (0-08, 0-06f), C Boylan; A Breen (0-03), S Flanagan (0-04), D Dempsey.
Subs: P Casey (0-02) for Dempsey (45), C Lynch for Donovan (45), G Hegarty for Boylan (56), D O’Connell for Breen (59), B O’Grady for O’Donoghue (67).
Tipperary: B Hogan; C Barrett, R Maher (0-02, 0-01f), B Heffernan; B McGrath, S Kennedy, B O’Meara; A Flynn, M Breen (0-01); D McCormack (0-01), P Maher, N O’Meara (0-01); W Connors (0-01), J Forde (0-14, 0-11f, 0-01 65), J Morris
Subs: N. McGrath for N. O’Meara (53); D. Quirke for P Maher (54); C. Darcy for W Connor (60); M. Kehoe for A. Flynn (62); Pádraic Maher for B O’Meara (68).
Referee: Colm Lyons (Cork)