Limerick show right stuff to close 17-year gap with victory over Cork
Patrick Horgan’s sending off for wild overhead pull a major talking point
For the second half Limerick manager John Allen designated McCarthy as the spare man and the team stuck rigidly to the plan. Cork’s forward impact was considerably blunted.
Harnedy was unable to function as well in the depleted attack and Limerick took charge. Hannon began to stretch the defensive cover and James Ryan, who put in an immense afternoon’s work, established a permanent foothold in the half forwards. Mistakes followed and points came from sloppy and frequently harassed turnovers and without goals the match was drifting farther and farther beyond Cork’s grasp.
Conor Lehane was substituted and although Cathal Naughton managed a couple of trademark runs and Cronin continued to battle – leading a revival that cut the deficit to two with just over 10 minutes remaining – Limerick wouldn’t relent.
The contrast in menace between the respective benches was adequately illustrated when Jimmy Barry-Murphy took the option of throwing on the skyscraper presence of Michael Cussen, a forlorn attempt to open up Limerick with high ball but his only chance came off the ground and he hit it wide.
The virtuosity of points from Hannon’s line ball and the replacement forwards stretched the margin until there was nothing for Limerick players and supporters alike to do except celebrate.
LIMERICK: 1. N Quaid; 2. S Walsh, 3. R McCarthy, 4. T Condon; 5. P O’Brien (0-1), 6. W McNamara, 7. G O’Mahony; 8. P Browne (0-1), 9. D O’Grady (capt); 10. D Breen, 11. J Ryan (0-3), 12. S Hickey (0-1); 13, G Mulcahy (0-2), 14. D Hannon (0-8, five frees, one lineball), 15. S Tobin (0-2). Subs: 20. S Dowling (0-3) for Breen (46 mins), 21. C Allis for Mulcahy (52 mins), 18. C King for O’Brien (58 mins), 23. K Downes (0-2) for Tobin (65 mins), 22. N Moran (0-1) for Hickey (69 mins).
CORK: 1. A Nash; 3. S McDonnell, 2. S O’Neill, 4. C O’Sullivan; 5. T Kenny, 8. L McLoughlin, 7. W Egan; 6. C Joyce, 9. D Kearney (0-1); 15. C Lehane, 11. C McCarthy, 12. P Cronin (capt; 0-3); 13. L O’Farrell (0-1), 10. S Harnedy (0-3), 14. P Horgan (0-4, two frees). Subs: 24. J Coughlan (0-2, frees) for McCarthy (half-time), 23. C Naughton (0-1) for Lehane (42 mins), 26. M Cussen for O’Farrell (54 mins), 21. S White for McLoughlin (59 mins).
Cards: Yellow - Cork: Kenny (21 mins), McLoughlin (24 mins), McDonnell (68 mins). Red – Cork: Horgan (35 mins).
Referee: James McGrath (Westmeath).