Limerick’s U21 hurlers have booked their place in the Munster final after a 3-16 to 3-14 win over Tipperary in the Gaelic Grounds.
The win books a July 30 provincial final against four-in-a-row chasing Clare. The final will take place in Ennis.
This semi final win over the minor champions of three years ago was built on hard work and some neat hurling.
And, Limerick did so with only 14-men for the final quarter after Barry O’Connell was sent off for two yellow cards in the past of five minutes.Limerick were 2-9 to 2-4 up at half time in front of an attendance of 3437.
It was an opening 30-minutes when John Kiely’s side were backed by a tricky swirling breeze. Tipperary had won the toss but opted to play against the elements.
A tonic start came Limerick’s way with a Cian Lynch goal after 15-seconds when he pulled first time on a bouncing ball when Pat Ryan passed ahead after soling from midfield.
Another goal almost following immediately but Tom Morrissey’s shot was saved - Ronan Lynch pointed the resulting ‘65.
But then both sides suffered from inaccuracy with Limerick ending teh half with seven wides and Tipperary with five.
It was the 10th minute when Lynch added the next scores - a pointed free.
The only Tipperary score of the opening 20-minutes was John McGrath on two minutes.
It midfield on top and the half back line providing a foundation Limerick poured forward and hit the next five scores.
David Dempsey hit three of them - his third direct from winning a puckout.
Limerick were 1-6 to 0-1 up with 18-minutes gone.
But it got better and a Robbie Hanley goal had the home side 2-7 to 0-2 clear with seven minutes to play in the half.
Then enter Tipperary senior footballer Colin O’Riordan with goals in the 25th and 27th minutes.
Darragh O’Donovan’s second point of the half replied to leave five points between the teams at the break.
Tipp bossed the early part of the second half and had the game back to 2-9 to 2-7.
David Dempsey ended their run of scores and then in the 14th minute of the half Tom Morrissey goaled for a 3-1- to 2-8 lead.
But back came Tipp to level with a Tadgh Gallagher goal aiding their cause.
But led by sub Colin Ryan, Limerick finished strongly to advance to a first final sicnce the title success of 2011.
LIMERICK: David McCarthy; Mark O’Callaghan, Richie English, Michael Casey; Diarmaid Byrnes, Barry O’Connell, Gearoid Hegarty; Darragh O’Donovan, Pat Ryan; Robbie Hanley, Ronan Lynch, David Dempsey; Kevin O’Brien, Tom Morrissey, Cian Lynch.
TIPPERARY: Paul Maher; Jack Peters, Michael Breen, Tom Fox; Ronan Maher, Barry Heffernan, Tomas Hamill; Bill Maher, Stephen Cahill; Billy McCarthy, Paul Shanahan, Willie Connors; Tadhg Gallagher, Colin O’Riordan, John McGrath.
REFEREE: Colm Lyons (Cork).