Limerick see off Cork but Kiely knows wides must be addressed

All-Ireland champions missed the target 20 times during their Munster semi-final win

Limerick’s Darragh O’Donovan celebrates scoring a goal against Cork during their Munster SHC semi-final win. Photo: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Limerick 2-22 Cork 1-17

All-Ireland champions Limerick hit a staggering 20 wides on their way to an eight-point Munster semi-final win over Cork at Semple Stadium in Thurles on Saturday evening.

However, wayward shooting didn’t cost the Treaty men as two goals in additional time in the first half brushed any inaccuracy under the carpet.

Nickie Quaid saves a penalty. Photo: Lorraine O’Sullivan/Inpho

Despite racking up 2-10 in the opening 35 minutes, Limerick had been wasteful. But then so too had Cork as an unpredictable wind swirled around an otherwise dry and warm Semple Stadium.


Late first-half goals from Darragh O’Donovan and then Kyle Hayes had helped the Munster champions lead by six points, 2-10 to 1-07 at the interval.

Limerick’s six-point advantage remained in place at the second half water break, 2-16 to 1-13, thanks to a well-taken Gearóid Hegarty score from deep as John Kiely’s men began to find real space.

Cork reduced the deficit to four in the final quarter but Limerick pushed on against a tiring Rebels defence to further extend their lead to win by eight and set up a Munster final showdown in two weeks’ time.

Kiely’s side had recorded 10 wides in the opening 35 minutes, compared to Cork’s eight. Limerick racked up another 10 wides after the interval as Cork themselves registered a further nine wides in a game of immense inaccuracy.

Both sides struggled with the wind swirling around Semple Stadium from the get-go.

The Limerick manager, looking forward to his third Munster SHC final in-a-row, said the “bottom line” for his side was “getting through”.

“Coming into the game for us it was about trying to get a performance - at times we really found it but at other times we lacked a bit of accuracy,” he said.

“I’m happy with the performance. It was a real championship affair, a real contrast to last year’s games - the atmosphere was real and the game ebbed and flowed.

“We had periods where we were in ascendancy and they (Cork) had their purple patches too during the game where they were causing us difficulty. Overall, very pleased.”

The reigning All-Ireland champions may have clocked up a staggering 20 wides but Kiely is confident of continued improvement throughout the championship as his side booked their place in a third successive provincial final.

“We created plenty more scoring chances, we could have got one or two more, but listen, that’s for us to work on. There’s plenty for us to go after for the next day.

“I don’t know what our wide total was but I’d say it was fairly high, we have that to go after.

“A little bit more accuracy in what we were doing in terms of our passing too, but overall they worked hard, we’ll go back to the training ground Tuesday night and come again.”

Cork had the game’s opening goal in the 16th minute.

A superb run forward by Cork full-back Niall O’Leary stretched the Limerick defence before Shane Kingston found the far corner of Nicky Quaid’s goal from a tight angle.

The goal had put Cork a point up and they led by two at the first water break - 1-3 to 0-4.

Limerick were then temporarily reduced to 14 men in the 26th minute.

Peter Casey was adjudged to have brought down Conor Cahalane inside the ‘D’, denying him a goalscoring opportunity, and was subsequently handed a black card but Nicky Quaid saved Patrick Horgan’s resulting penalty.

On the half hour mark, both sides were level for the first time thanks to two well-taken Lynch points as Limerick outscored Cork 0-4 to 0-2 in the 10 minutes they were down a man.

The game’s two decisive goals came in quick succession in injury time - just moments after Casey was allowed re-enter the field of play - as O’Donovan and Hayes both raised the green flag in the 36th and 38th minutes respectively.

They were goals that Cork manager Kieran Kingston described as “sucker punches”.

Speaking after the game, Kingston said his side’s inaccuracy in front of goal “killed” his side against a punishing Limerickteam.

“We were confident coming up here today, I’ll be honest about it,” he said.

“We put a huge amount of work into this, the players were confident, the camp was confident - we’re disappointed.

“We felt we could have won it, even if you look at the scoreline, because we dominated the game at times but we just didn’t put it on the scoreboard.

“You can’t miss 1-18, have a 50 per cent conversion rate, when you’re playing a team like Limerick. They’re Munster, All-Ireland, national league champions - you can’t afford to do that, and it killed us.”

Limerick: Nickie Quaid; Sean Finn, Richie English, Barry Nash; Diarmaid Byrnes (0-2, one free), Declan Hannon (capt.), Kyle Hayes (1-0); William O’Donoghue (0-1), Darragh O’Donovan (1-0); Gearoid Hegarty (0-2), Cian Lynch (0-3), Tom Morrissey; A Gillane (0-06, six frees), Seamus Flanagan (0-2), Peter Casey (0-3).

Subs: Conor Boylan for Tom Morrissey (46 mins), Dan Morrissey for Nash (56), Graeme Mulcahy (0-1) for Flanagan (57), David Reidy (0-2, one free) for Hegarty (65), Pat Ryan for Gillane (66).

Cork: Patrick Collins; Niall O’Leary, Damien Cahalane, Sean O’Donoghue; Tim O’Mahony (0-1), Mark Coleman, Eoin Cadogan; Darragh Fitzgibbon (0-3), Ger Millerick; Conor Cahalane, Seamus Harnedy (0-1), Robbie O’Flynn (0-1); Shane Kingston (1-1), Patrick Horgan (capt.) (0-5, five frees), Jack O’Connor (0-3).

Subs: Shane Barrett (0-2) for Conor Cahalane (45 mins), Luke Meade for Harnedy (50), Sean O’Leary Hayes for Niall O’Leary (51), Alan Cadogan for O’Flynn (55), Alan Connolly for Kingston (69).

Referee: Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow).