LIMERICK have booked their place in a third successive Munster minor hurling final after this Thursday evening’s 1-14 to 0-14 semi final win over Cork.
The Gaelic Grounds victory books a July 12 final spot against Tipperary in Semple Stadium in Thurles as the curtain-raiser to the Munster senior final between Tipperary and Waterford. The minor final will have a 2.00 start.
Limerick will be bidding to win a hat-trick of Munster minor titles for the first time.
This semi final win, in front of an attendance of 4184, ensures that Limerick appear in three minor finals in a row for the first time since 1982-84 and just the third time ever.
The narrow win over Cork came thanks to a 57th minute goal from Peter Casey.
It was a win for the Leo O’Connor managed and Anthony Daly coached Limerick that over-turned the 10-point win for Cork in the opening round of this championship back in April down in Cork.
At half time the teams were level 0-7 each. But that was after an opening 30-minutes that saw Cork hit 10 wides, compared to just three for Limerick.
The Rebels enjoyed the better start to the game and were 0-5 to 0-2 clear after 16-minutes but then Limerick grew in stature as half time approached.
Cork set up with seven defenders and Limerick initially found it hard to find a way through.
Thomas Grimes had the only Limerick score of the opening exchanges in the seventh minute, in reply to the Cork opener.
When Darragh Carroll came through from midfield it was 0-3 to 0-2 but Cork had Liam Healy and Mark Coleman points for a three point lead at the mid-point in the half.
The Cork wides tally was now at eight with Limerick already on their mark of three for the half.
But the final 10-minutes belonged to Limerick.
Peter Casey set the ball rolling and a fine individual effort from Kyle Hayes left it 0-6 to 0-4.
Second points from play for Casey and Carroll cut the gap and then in injury time a Casey free tied up the game.
Limerick had the tricky breeze to their backs in the second half but found Cork tough to break down with Casey and Mark Coleman exchanging early second half frees.
But in the ninth minute of the half Limerick went ahead for the first time, 0-11 to 0-10 after a long range free from captain Eoghan McNamara.
But back came Cork with three successive points to lead 0-13 to 0-11 with 56-minutes played.
Thomas Grimes reduced the lead and then came the goal.
Conor Houlihan delivered long into the goalmouth, where his Na Piarsaigh team-mate Peter Casey crashed the breaking ball to the net to put Limerick ahead for just the second time in the game.
From the puckout Kyle Hayes pointed and Limerick were set for another final.
Coleman hit back, but a late Casey free ensured a winning margin of a goal after a game that saw Cork hit 17 wides and Limerick just four.
SCORERS: Limerick: Peter Casey 1-6 (0-4 frees), Thomas Grimes, Darragh Carroll and Kyle Hayes 0-2 each, Brian Ryan and Eoghan McNamara (free) 0-1 each. Cork: Mark Coleman 0-6 (3frees), Liam Healy 0-2, Tim O’Mahony, Darragh Fitzgibbon, Sean Powter, Ciaran Cormack, Declan Dalton (‘65) 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: Eoghan McNamama; Thomas Hayes, Conor McSweeney, Jack O’Grady; Conor Byrnes, Paddy O’Loughlin, Conor Houlihan; Thomas Grimes, Darragh Carroll; Kyle Hayes, Seamus Flanagan, Brian Ryan; Peter Casey, Mikey Mackey, Barry Murphy. Subs: Willie O’Meara for Mikey Mackey (50mins), Conor Boylan for Darragh Carroll (52mins), Oisin O’Reilly for Brian Ryan (58mins), Paudie Ahern for Kyle Hayes (60mins).
CORK: Declan Dalton; Seadnaidh Smyth, David Griffin, Conor McCarthy: Mark Coleman, Eoghan Murphy, David Lowney; Chris O’Leary, Darragh Fitzgibbon; Liam Healy, Michael O’Halloran, Tim O’Mahony; Sean Powter, Ciaran Cormack, John Looney. Subs: John Cashman for Chris O’Leary (h-t), Robbie O’Flynn for Michael O’Halloran (41mins), Billy Dunne for Sean Powter (46mins), Billy Hennessy for John Looney (52mins).
REFEREE: Paul Foley (Waterford).