THE Limerick minor hurlers have recorded back-to-back wins over Cork in the Munster championship with a 0-16 to 1-12 win.
This Wednesday night’s victory was Limerick’s first win in this grade in Pairc Ui Chaoimh since 1983.
Limerick led for long periods but Cork stage a late fight back and it was an injury time point from substitute Liam O’Sullivan that proved the winner for the Shane Fitzgibbon managed Shannonsiders.
The win moves Limerick directly into the semi-finals at the end of June. Limerick await the winners of the back door section between Cork, Clare or Kerry.
The Limerick hero was Ronan Lynch - still only 15 years old the Na Piarsaigh man is eligible for the minor grade for the next two years. The wing forward ended with a personal tally of 11-points - giving an exhibition of scoring from placed balls with scores from frees, a ‘65 and a lineball.
“Ronan is a serious talent,” said Limerick manager Shane Fitzgibbon.
“He’s a superb hurler with a great attitude and a great family behind him to support him. But there have been many false dawns in Limerick as regards to players. Ronan has had a great night tonight and gave a special performance but now must drive on,” said Fitzgibbon, who is joined in the Limerick back room team by Ger Cunningham and Mike Galligan.
“It’s always special to come down to Cork any time and win. I have total belief in my own players and they kept fighting. They wanted this very badly. We won the battle tonight but the war goes on,” said the Limerick manager.
“We’re only into a Munster semi-final and we’ve to navigate the Leaving Cert as well as doing a lot of work over the next couple of months.”
Cork were fastest to settle but by half time the sides were level 0-8 each.
Ronan Lynch and fellow U-16 player Cian Lynch were among the scorers in the opening half for Limerick with Brian Finn and Kevin O’Brien also on target.
Limerick could have been further ahead but Brian Griffin was denied a goal five minutes before half time when Patrick Collins saved his shot.
On the resumption, Limerick surged ahead and were 0-14 to 0-9 ahead with 10-minutes to play.
The introduction of Charleville’s James O’Brien kick-started the Cork comeback and they were level at the end of normal time.
Then came the winning score from sub O’Sullivan of Knockaderry.
SCORERS - Limerick: Ronan Lynch 0-11 (8frees, 1 sideline, 1 ‘65), Kevin O’Brien, Brian Griffin (free), Brian Finn, Cian Lynch, Liam O’Sullivan 0-1 each. Cork: Pa O’Callaghan 0-5 (3frees), D Cahill 0-3, A Spillane 1-0, J O’Brien 0-2, B O’Connell, J Cashman 0-1 each.
LIMERICK - Darragh Stapleton (Doon); Shane Irwin (Bruff), Richie English (Doon), James Carrig (Patrickswell); Diarmuid Byrnes (Patrickswell), Barry O’Connell (Kildimo-Pallaskenry), Evan Fitzgerald (Claughaun); Brian Finn (Bruff), Kieran Cleary (Knockainey), Ronan Lynch (Na Piarsaigh), David Condron (Granagh-Ballingarry), Eoin O’Farrell (Croom); Kevin O’ Brien (Patrickswell), Bryan Griffin (Ballybrown), Cian Lynch (Patrickswell). Subs: Subs: Darragh Donovan (Doon) for Evan Fitzgerald (h-t), Andrew La Touche Cosgrave (Monaleen) for Eoin O’Farrell (36mins), Diarmuid Dee (Mungret) for Kieran Cleary (38mins), Pat Ryan (Doon) for Brian Griffin (55mins), Liam O’Sullivan (Knockaderry) for Kevin O’Brien (58mins).
CORK - P Collins; S Murphy, K O’Connor, A Dennehy; K McIntyre, M Cahalane, P Fitzgerald; C Twomey, B O’Connell; J Cashman, D Cahill, K O’Neill; A Sheehan, P O’Callaghan, R Cahalane. Subs: D Mangan for Twomey (h-t), J O’Brien for R Cahalane (h-t), J McCarthy for Murphy (43mins), A Spillane for Sheehan (48mins), T Horgan for Cashman (60mins).
REFEREE - Damien Fox (Clare).