Limerick see off Cork to end long wait for Munster title
Sending off of Cork’s Pat Horgan proves critical moment of final
Referee James McGrath sends off Cork’s Patrick Horgan during the Munster SHC Final against Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds. Photograph: James Crombie/Inpho
Limerick 0-24 Cork 0-15: The long wait for Limerick is over after the Shannonsiders were crowned Munster senior hurling champions at the Gaelic Grounds this afternoon.
John Allen masterminded victory over Cork in the provincial showpiece, in front of 42,730 spectators.
Cork, who must now regroup for an All-Ireland quarter-final against Kilkenny on July 28th, lost forward Pat Horgan to a straight red card before half-time.
The Glen Rovers player did connect with the helmet of Paudie O’Brien, alhough the general consensus suggested that the player’s dismissal was a harsh call by referee James McGrath.
A man down, Cork were always going to struggle in sweltering conditions and Limerick took full advantage in the second half to claim the provincial title for the first time since 1996.
Declan Hannon led the way in the scoring stakes with 0-8 for the home side and the full-time whistle saw thousands of ecstatic Limerick supporters streaming onto the pitch to celebrate with their heroes.
Limerick won the second half by 0-14 to 0-5 as Richie McCarthy provided extra cover as the spare man in the Limerick defence.
It was routine stuff in the end for Limerick, who have an All-Ireland semi-final appearance to look forward to as an added bonus.
This was also the first time that Limerick have beaten Cork in a Munster final since 1980 – in what was the first provincial decider between the counties since 1992.
Limerick stormed into an early 0-4 to 0-1 lead but Cork rallied to level at 0-4 apiece by the quarter-hour mark, and they moved ahead for the first time in the game when Horgan lofted over a free.
But this was a nip and tuck first half which saw the sides level on four occasions, including 0-10 apiece at the break.
And when Horgan was dismissed, there was a feeling of inevitability about the second half as Limerick brought on the cavalry from the bench to get the job done.
By the 54th minute, Limerick had stormed into a five-point lead – 0-17 to 0-12 – and Cork were in big trouble.
Cork did manage to cut the gap back to two points – 0-15 to 0-17 – with 11 minutes remaining but Limerick ran riot down the home stretch to clinch the silverware.
On an historic afternoon, this was the just the second time that Cork manager Jimmy Barry Murphy has suffered defeat against Limerick in the Munster final – the previous time back in 1980.
It was that kind of day as Limerick unleashed a torrent of hurt and emotion at full-time. And they march on to the last four of the All-Ireland series harbouring dreams of a first All-Ireland success since 1973.
LIMERICK: N Quaid; S Walsh, R McCarthy, T Condon; P O’Brien (0-1), W McNamara, G O’Mahony; P Browne (0-1), D O’Grady; D Breen, J Ryan (0-3), S Hickey (0-1); G Mulcahy (0-2), D Hannon (0-8, 5f 1 sl), S Tobin (0-2). Subs: S Dowling (0-3) for Breen (46), C Allis for Mulcahy (52), C King for O’Brien (58), K Downes (0-2) for Tobin (65), N Moran (0-1) for Hickey (69).
CORK: A Nash; S McDonnell, S O’Neill, C O’Sullivan; T Kenny, L McLoughlin, W Egan; C Joyce, D Kearney (0-1); C Lehane, C McCarthy, P Cronin (0-3); L O’Farrell (0-1), S Harnedy (0-3), P Horgan (0-4, 2f). Subs: J Coughlan (0-2f) for McCarthy (h.t.), C Naughton (0-1) for Lehane (42), M Cussen for O’Farrell (55), S White for McLoughlin (59).
Referee: J McGrath (Westmeath).