Newcastle West 1-8 Adare 0-5

It was far from a classic but substitute AJ O'Connor proved to be the hero when he found the net five minutes from time as Newcastle West put an end to Adare’s bid for two-in-a-row to win the Limerick senior football title.

At a rain-drenched TUS Gaelic Grounds on Friday evening, Newcastle West were looking to bring home the title for the fifth time having last won it in 2019.

Both sides were level at 0-03 apiece at halftime but boosted by the introduction of O'Connor from the bench, the winners outscored Adare by 1-04 to 0-01 in the final quarter.

In what was a novel county final, under Friday night lights, two evenly matched sides cancelled each other out in the early stages before Newcastle West midfielder Cian Sheehan kicked the opening point.

Sheehan found himself in space out wide before slotting over off his left with 10 minutes on the clock.

With conditions playing a part, scores were at a premium in this 129th Limerick SFC final.

It was 0-01 apiece at the first half water break after Hughie Bourke levelled scores in the 13th minute with a well-taken free.

Both sides were level twice more before halftime with Hughie Bourke (two frees) and Mike McMahon and Shane Stack exchanging points.

The pick of the scores came from Stack who cut inside the Adare defence to put the ball over from distance.

Five minutes after the restart, the sides were level for the fourth time when Eoin Costelloe tapped over after from a quick Hughie Bourke free – Adare's first score from play – to make it 0-4 apiece.

Newcastle West had regained the narrowest of winning margins in the first attack of the second half as Eoin Hurley slotted over a close-range mark after catching a long ball in from Iain Corbett.

Both sides well level at 0-4 each at the second-half water break.

In the final quarter, Jimmy Lee’s charges upped the tempo but the next score of the game came ten minutes from time when Stack got his second to give Newcastle West a one-point lead.

Newcastle West opened up a two-point lead three minutes later with Eoin Hurley securing his second point of the game with a superb outside of the boot effort.

In the next attack, Davy Lyons was through on goal – the game’s first goal scoring opportunity – but the Adare half-forward could only watch on as his effort went over the bar.

The game-winning goal came five minutes from time when O'Connor brushed past Adare captain Shane Doherty before blasting home to make it 1-6 to 0-5 in favour of Newcastle West.

Newcastle West added a further two points to put the result beyond any doubt and bring home their fifth ever Limerick SFC title.

Newcastle West: A Ruddle; M O'Keeffe, D O’Doherty, B O’Sullivan; E Murphy, J Kelly (capt.), S Hurley; C Sheehan (0-1), I Corbett; S Murphy, S Stack (0-2), B Hurley; B Nix, M McMahon (0-2), E Hurley (0-2, 0-1 mark)

Subs: S Brosnan for J Kelly (blood) (22 mins), D Kelly for S Murphy (41), AJ O’Connor (1-1) for B Hurley (44), S Brosnan for J Kelly (48), D Woods for Stack (58), L Woulfe for E Hurley (62)

Adare: B Carmody; O Collins, D Connolly, E Costelloe (0-1); S Doherty (capt.), R Connolly, G Sparling; R Bourke, R Gleeson; P Maher, S Costelloe, D Lyons (0-1); M Connolly, H Bourke (0-3, 0-3 frees), E Ryan

Subs: M Lyons for Sparling, J English for Gleeson (both h/t), S O’Connor for M Connolly (45 mins), E O’Connor for Maher (60) C McCarthy for S Costelloe (54)

Referee: Jonathon Hayes (St Senan’s)