LIMERICK secondary football teams haven’t had a good season so far but honour was restored on Saturday evening when the juniors recorded an impressive 1-13 to 1-10 victory over Tipperary in the Gaelic Grounds.
Despite facing the breeze, Limerick were first off the mark when Jamie Lee converted a first-minute free before Ross McGrath equalised. The hosts’ answer was immediate as Thomas Butler won the kickout and found Peter Nash who, despite stumbiling on his first attempt to gather, recovered to hammer an unstoppable shot on the turn to the net.
The goal broke the ice as both sides began to move with greater conviction as Lee followed up with a point and Seán Flynn hit back with a free. Strikes from Keith Hartnett and Nash opened up a gap of five and it edged out to six as Lee and Tony McCarthy found the target after Dean McEnroe’s reply. Coming up to the break, Tipp brought on three subs and, with Darren Lowry’s introduction gave them a greater presence in midfield, Flynn and McEnroe’s free narrowed the deficit to 1-6 to 0-5.
After Lee was met by Flynn’s free, Bill Creamer, Nash and Lee looked to have put Limerick into a match-winning lead but the momentum stalled when McEnroe slipped in behind the last line of defence to give Gary Neville no chance with a rising shot to the far corner. Flynn then followed up with a free and, although Lee replied off a huge Creamer delivery, Thomas Hanley and another Flynn free had Tipp on a roll.
With Limerick conceding turnovers to technical fouls, the visitors had their chances to edge even closer but the gap stayed at two as chances were snapped wide of the posts. It gave Limerick the chance to recover and they might have killed the game off when Jason Mullins was fould inside the square but had to settle for a point as the referee waved advantage. Hartnett’s ‘45’ edged them briefly into the comfort zone with three minutes to go but McEnroe’s free, which earned Mark Phelan a black card, waved Tipp the lifeline of anequalising goal. A free dropping into the square fluttered Limerick hearts but the defence held its nerve as the ball was booted to safety, the whistle blew and the cheering began.
SCORERS: LIMERICK: Jamie Lee 0-6 (2 frees), Peter Nash 1-2, Keith Hartnett 0-2 (1 ‘45’), Tony McCarthy, Bill Creamer, Jason Mullins 0-1 each; TIPPERARY: Dean McEnroe 1-3 (2 frees), Seán Flynn 0-5 (4 frees), Ross McGrath, Thomas Hanley 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: Gary Neville; Bill Creamer, Wayne Cronin, Mark Phelan; Tony McCarthy, Brian Noonan, Kevin Brosnan; Tossie Butler, Colin Madden; Keith Hartnett, Pedter Nash, Garrett Noonan; Jason Mullins, Jamie Lee, Mark O’Sullivan. Subs: John Ryan for Garrett Noonan (35 mins), Andy Murphy for Mark O’Sullivan (42 mins), Eoin O’Donnell for Jamie Lee (57 mins), Michael O’Sullivan for Mark Phelan (black card 59 mins).
TIPPERARY: Evan Comerford; Pearse Richardson, James Feehan, Conor O’Sullivan; Laurence Coskeran, John Hennessy, Thomas Hassett; Alan Rockett, Ross McGrath; Cathal Scully, Thomas Hanley, Dean McEnroe; Seán Flynn, Seán Patrick Guerins, David McGrath. Subs: Darren Lowry for Alan Rockett (24 mins), Colman Kennedyan for Cathal Scully (25 mins), Jason Lonergan for Thomas Hassett (28 mins), Greg Henry for Ross McGrath (38 mins), Paul Shanahan for Seán Patrick Guerins (42 mins).
REFEREE: Michael Collins (Cork).
See the print editions of the Limerick Leader for a full report and reaction.