THE Limerick senior hurlers got 2015 off to a wining start this Saturday afternoon with a 2-15 to 1-15 win over Waterford in the Waterford Crystal Cup in Kilmallock.
The win books TJ Ryan’s side a semi final spot against UCC next Saturday (2.00) in Kilmallock.
Limerick lined out with seven of the side that lost to Kilkenny in Croke Park last August in the All Ireland SHC semi-final.
But this early season win over Waterford also saw two debuts with Cian Lynch and Patrick Begley making their first starts for the county senior side in a competitive fixture.
Tom Morrissey made his first appearance in a senior jersey as a half time substitute.
Waterford were fast from the blocks and led 1-7 to 0-3 after 26-minutes.
Jake Dillon had their goal after 22-minutes.
But Limerick finally came to life just before half time with Cian Lynch and Adrian Breen each hitting two points to leave the scoreboard reading Waterford 1-8 to 1-7 ahead at the break.
The Limerick goal came in first half injury time from Adrian Breen.
In the second half Limerick looked the better team.
They were helped on their way by an own goal in the 10th minute of the second half. Shane Fives got the last touch when he contested a dropping ball with Patrick Begley after Donal O’Grady had delivered into the goalmouth.
Limerick added a point and were 2-10 to 1-9 ahead with 20-minutes to play.
But the Limerick defence was now on top and Waterford were restricted to just three points from play in the second half.
Debutantes Lynch and Tom Morrissey and also Cathal King scored fine points for a 2-12 to 1-12 lead with 10-minutes to play.
Donal O’Grady and Dan Morrissey then found the range from distance to ensure the merited win, which was a first over an inter-county team in this competition since 2006.
SCORERS: Limerick: Adrian Breen 1-2, Cian Lynch 0-3, Cathal King, Thomas O’Brien (1free), Donal O’Grady, Tom Morrissey (1free) 0-2 each, Dan Morrissey, Shane Dowling (free) 0-1 each. Waterford: Martin O’Neill 0-8 (6frees), Jake Dillon 1-3 (0-3frees), Thomas Connors 0-2, Shane O’Sullivan, Shane Bennett 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: Nickie Quaid; Tom Condon, Richie McCarthy, Seamus Hickey; Conor Allis, Wayne McNamara, Dan Morrissey; James Ryan, Cathal King; David Breen, Niall Moran, Cian Lynch; Thomas O’Brien, Patrick Begley, Adrian Breen. Subs: Donal O’Grady for David Breen, inj (10mins), Tom Morrissey for Thomas O’Brien, inj (h-t), Paul Browne for Niall Moran, inj (55mins), Shane Dowling for Adrian Breen (61mins).
WATERFORD: Stephen O’Keeffe; Mark McNulty, Shane Fives, Noel Connors; Gavin O’Brien, Austin Gleeson, Pa Walsh; Martin O’Neill, Shane O’Sullivan; Kevin Moran, Thomas Connors, Donie Breathnach; Brian O’Halloran, Jake Dillon, Michael Kearney. Subs: Cormac Curran for Donie Breathnach (39mins), Michael Walsh for Brian O’Halloran (50mins), Shane Bennett for Thomas Connors (56mins), Barry Coughlan for Jake Dillon (66mins).
REFEREE: Damien Fox (Clare).