THE Limerick U-21 footballers just fell short of a Munster final spot this Wednesday night.
The final score was Cork 2-10 Limerick 0-10 in Pairc Ui Rinn in the semi final of the Munster U-21 Football Championship.
It’s now a March 29 final between defending champions Cork and 2014 minor champions Kerry, as Limerick are left to ponder a near miss.
Limerick bossed much of the first half to lead 0-9 to 1-4 at the break and that was without injured captain Killian Ryan and the suspended Josh Ryan.
Declan Brouder’s side were 0-8 to 1-2 clear but Cork found late scores in the half.
It was a 30-minutes that saw a Limerick penalty saved from AJ O’Connor with Cork goalkeeper Ross Donovan doing well to deny the Newcastle West man. That was five minutes from half time and when Limerick were 0-7 to 1-2 ahead.
Hugh Bourke and Kieran Daly points had a lightening start for Limerick.
But Cork found the net through Michael Dineen to settle the home side.
Undeterred Brian Donovan (2) and a Bourke free had Limerick 0-5 to 1-1 ahead just after the 10-minute mark.
Bourke and Brian Coakley exchanged frees to leave it 0-6 to 1-2 after 20-minutes.
AJ O’Connor pointed from play before the saved penalty.
Not rattled by the save Limerick increased the lead when goalkeeper Richard Hayes was brought from between the posts to land a free for a 0-8 to 1-2 lead.
Then came back-to-back Cork scores just after they had brought Michael Hurley and Sean O’Donoghue into the game from the bench.
The final score of the half came from a Bourke free to leave Limerick two clear at half time.
The Cork run of scores continued after half time with Coakley and Stephen Sherlock moving them 1-7 to 0-9 ahead.
Hugh Bourke hit back to steady Limerick and level the tie with 40-minutes played.
But that was to be the last Limerick score.
The next 13-minutes were scoreless and Limerick did have chances but two points in a row from Michael Hurley had Cork a goal clear.
Then came a Limerick shout for a penalty but Clare referee Rory Hickey waved away appeals.
Up the field went Cork and Hurley sealed the win with a late second goal to advance to a seventh successive Munster U-21 football final
SCORES: Limerick: Hugh Bourke 0-5 (3frees), Brian Donovan 0-2, Kieran Daly, AJ O’Connor and Richard Hayes (free) 0-1 each. Cork: Michael Hurley 1-3, Brian Coakley 0-4 (2frees), Michael Dineen 1-0, Stephen Sherlock 0-2 (1free), Gary Murphy 0-1.
CORK: R Donovan (Nemo Rangers); S Daly (Dohenys), J Mullins (Éire Óg), S Wilson (Douglas); J O’Riordan (Carbery Rangers), A Browne (Newmarket), C Kiely (Ballincollig); E Lavers (Dohenys), S O’Leary (Bantry Blues); B Coakley (Carrigaline), S Powter (Douglas), D Meaney (St Michael’s); G Murphy (Castletownbere), M Ó Duinnín (Naomh Abán), S Sherlock (St Finbarr’s). Subs: M Hurley (Castlehaven) for Meaney (22), S O’Donoghue (Inniscarra) for O’Leary (28), L O’Donovan (Clonakilty) for Ó Duinnín (half-time), S O’Donovan (Ilen Rovers) for Sherlock (56), M Buckley (Dohenys) for Coakley (60).
LIMERICK: R Hayes (St Senan’s); E Sheehy (Granagh-Ballingarry), M Donovan (Galbally), D Connolly (Adare); R Childs (Galtee Gaels), C Flanagan (Crecora), B Fanning (Pallasgreen); J Liston (Gerald Griffins), T Childs (Galtee Gaels); P de Brún (Firies, Kerry), S Murphy (Newcastle West), B Donovan (Monaleen); K Daly (Na Piarsaigh), AJ O’Connor (Newcastle West), H Bourke (Adare). Subs: S Stack (Newcastle West) for de Brún (46), M Connolly (Adare) for O’Connor (51), S Brosnan (Newcastle West) for Flanagan (56).
REFEREE: R Hickey (Clare).