THE Limerick senior hurlers are back to Croke Park for the All Ireland semi-final after a sensational 4-26 to 1-11 win over Wexford this Sunday afternoon in Thurles.
The big win sets up an August 10 All Ireland SHC semi-final with Kilkenny in Croker.
The clash with Kilkenny will see Limerick return to the semi-final, where they disappointed last season when failing to Clare.
This quarter-final was all but sealed after a superb first half when TJ Ryan’s side led 3-15 to 0-8.
And, that was after hitting 10 first half wides.
But Limerick dominated in all sectors.
They were 0-7 to 0-3 clear after 13-minutes and that was after lining out without injured captain Donal O’Grady.
Midfielders James Ryan and Paul Browne as well as David Breen and Shane Dowling were all on target in those opening exchanges.
By the 18th minute it was 0-9 to 0-3 with Graeme Mulcahy and Declan Hannon getting on the scoresheet as Limerick continued to press home their advantage on the scoreboard.
Two points from Wexford broke the Limerick stranglehold but normal service soon resumed as the lead was increased to 0-13 to 0-5 with 10-minutes to play to the interval.
Then in the 27th minute came the first Limerick goal when Breen powered through to find the net.
Mulcahy and Hannon added points and the lead was 1-15 to 0-5 with 30-minutes on the stopwatch.
Wexford did rally with three successive points but Limerick were to find the net twice in first half stoppage time to all but seal the win by half time.
Man of the Match Dowling got both goals.
Then first he batted to the net after Breen’s initial shot was saved.
Then second he palmed to the net mid-air when advancing goalkeeper Mark Fanning forced him to change plans to catch the delivery into the goalmouth.
So at half time it was 3-15 to 0-8.
Wexford needed a bright start to the second half but it was Limerick that found a second goal just minutes into the second half - Paul Browne was the scorer.
That left it 4-15 to 0-9 with over 30-minutes still to play.
Within eight minutes of the restart Wexford manager Liam Dunne had five substitutions used but it mattered little as Limerick powered over the winning line at their ease.
SCORERS: Limerick: Shane Dowling 2-8 (0-5frees), Declan Hannon 0-4, David Breen and Paul Browne 1-1 each, Graeme Mulcahy, Tom Ryan, Seanie Tobin (1free) 0-3 each, James Ryan 0-2, Wayne McNamara 0-1. Wexford: Diarmuid O’Keeffe and Jack Guiney (1free, 1 ‘65) 0-3 each, Shane Tomkins 1-0, Podge Doran 0-2, Paul Morris, Conor McDonald and Liam Og McGovern 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: Nickie Quaid; Tom Condon, Richie McCarthy, Seamus Hickey; Paudie O’Brien, Wayne McNamara, Gavin O’Mahony; James Ryan, Paul Browne; Thomas Ryan, Declan Hannon, David Breen; Graeme Mulcahy, Shane Dowling, Kevin Downes. Subs: Seanie Tobin for David Breen (50mins), Niall Moran for Kevin Downes (50mins), Thomas O’Brien for Declan Hannon (54mins), Stephen Walsh for Richie McCarthy (58mins), Cathal King for James Ryan (64mins), Dan Morrissey for Tom Condon (69mins),
WEXFORD: Mark Fanning; Liam Ryan, Matthew O’Hanlon Keith Rossiter; Andrew Shore, Eoin Moore, Ciaran Kenny; David Redmond, Lee Chin; Paul Morris, Podge Doran, Diarmuid O’Keeffe; Jack Guiney, Conor McDonald, Liam Og McGovern. Subs: Shane Tomkins for David Redmond (h-t), Richie Kehoe for Ciaran Kenny (h-t), Rory Jacob for Paul Morris (42mins), Ian Byrne for Podge Doran (42mins), Harry Kehoe for Eoin Moore (43mins).
REFEREE: Barry Kelly (Westmeath).