BRILLIANT Limerick minor hurlers booked their place in a fourth successive Munster minor hurling championship final with a 0-19 to 0-17 semi final win over Waterford.
The two point Munster MHC semi final win books a July 10 final in Limerick’s Gaelic Grounds against either Cork or Tipperary.
Limerick led by five points after a lacklustre first half but turned in a superb second half display to advance to another provincial decider and also ensure at least an All Ireland quarter final spot.
Limerick played with the aid of the strong wind in the first half and they led 0-9 to 0-4 at the break in front of 2,599.
It was a half that saw Limerick hit seven wides and Waterford five in ideal sunny conditions and a very hard and fast surface in Walsh Park. Given that it was 13-weeks since Limerick’s quarter final win over Clare it was no surprise that both teams took some time to get to the pace of the game.
Limerick had a hero in Paul O’Brien. A newcomer into the team since the quarter final, the Mungret man assumed free-taking duties and finished with 10-points.
O’Brien had Limerick off the mark with early frees before Brian Ryan had the first score from play in the ninth minute.
It was to be the 11th minute before Waterford opened their account to leave it 0-3 to 0-1.
Two further Ryan points from play and one for O’Brien had Limerick 0-7 to 0-3 clear on 23-minutes.
Waterford cut the lead to just three points but David Woulfe and Darragh Carroll (lineball) ensured a five point interval lead for the visitors to Waterford City.
The second half swung end-to-end but Limerick always held the lead.
Four successive points midway through the half moved Limerick 0-16 to 0-10 clear.
The gap was back to one point with five minutes to play but points from Kyle Hayes, Cian Magner Flynn and another Paul O’Brien held off the Waterford challenge to reach the final for the Pat Donnelly managed and Anthony Daly coached side.
SCORERS - Limerick: Paul O’Brien 0-10 (eight frees), Brian Ryan 0-3, Darragh Carroll (1lineball) and Kyle Hayes 0-2 each, David Woulfe and Cian Magner Flynn 0-1 each. Waterford: Eoghan Murray 0-5 (3frees), Conor Dalton, Daniel Power, Thomas Douglas, Michael Mahony, Jack Prendergast 0-2 each, Neil Montgomery and Ciaran Kirwan 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: Mark O’Kelly (Croom); Brian Nash (South Liberties), Conor Nicholas (Monaleen), Finn Hourigan (Murroe-Boher); Michael O’Grady (Knockainey), Josh Adams (Ballybrown), Brian Timmons (Murroe-Boher); Brian Ryan (South Liberties), Cal McCarthy (Kilmallock); Darragh Carroll (Newport), Cian Magner Flynn (Killeedy) David Woulfe (Kilmallock); Conor Boylan (Na Piarsaigh), Kyle Hayes (Kildimo-Pallaskenry), Paul O’Brien (Mungret St Pauls). Subs: John Flynn (Patrickswell) for Cal McCarthy (h-t), Ciaran O’Connor (Kilmallock) for Brian Timmons (40mins), Micheal Bourke (Garryspillane) for Josh Adams (54mins), Anthony Barrett (Kilmallock) for David Woulfe (57mins).
WATERFORD: Billy Nolan (Roanmore); Conor Giles Doran (De La Salle), James Flavin (Ardmore), Tom Barron (Fourmilewater); Donal Power (Passage), Eoghan Murray (Ballyduff Upper), Lee Wall (De La Salle); Eoin McGrath (Butlerstown), Harry Ruddle Redmond (Ballygunner); Jack Prendergast (Lismore), Conor Dalton (Clonea), Cathal Curran (Brickey Rangers); Michael Mahony (Ballygunner), Neil Montgomery (Abbeyside), Thomas Douglas (De La Salle). Subs: Dylan Guiry (Fourmilewater) for Eoin McGrath (28mins), Ciaran Kirwan (Fenor) for Neil Montgomery (43mins), Jack Reade (St Mollerans) for Lee Wall (56mins).
REFEREE: Nathan Wall (Cork).