Allianz Hurling League Semi-Final
GALWAY 1-21 LIMERICK 1-11
By Declan Rooney at the Gaelic Grounds
Galway proved to be too strong for Limerick at the Gaelic Grounds.
Three weeks ago David Burke gave a stunning display and hit six points as Galway claimed a 0-24 to 1-18 win over Limerick here.
And Michael Donoghue’s side were brilliant in the second-half as they stretched clear after Conor Cooney scored a 56th minute goal.
Galway won their ninth league crown when they beat Cork 2-22 to 1-17 at Semple Stadium seven years ago.
But since then they have struggled and Wexford pipped them in the race for promotion to the top tier this season.
However, Galway will play in the final again and they held a 0-13 to 1-5 lead at half-time after they dominated the first-half.
Conor Whelan, Cathal Mannion and Conor Cooney accounted for eight of their points in the first-half as they stretched clear of Limerick, who had William O’Donoghue to thank for keeping them in touch, he scored their goal.
Cathal Mannion and Shane Dowling (free) traded early points, before Conor Cooney hit a couple of points and Cian Lynch blazed a goal chance left and wide.
The teams went point for point again before Galway gained the ascendency with points from Cathal Mannion and Conor Cooney.
But when Limerick needed a goal they got it, and it was O’Donoghue who profited from the hard-work of David Dempsey, who set up the chance.
That goal meant Limerick only trailed by 0-7 to 1-3 after 20 minutes, but then Galway hit three in a row through Johnny Coen and two Joe Canning frees.
Shane Dowling got Limerick’s first point since the 13th minute when he scored a free four minutes from the interval, but that was cancelled out again.
Galway hit three of the last four points in the half, and Cathal Mannion’s third score of the game left them five points ahead at the break.
Limerick defeated Galway when they last won the title way back in 1997, and despite two points from Canning and David Burke, three Shane Dowling efforts and a Barry Nash score had Limerick back within three.
But that was a close as they would get as Gearoid McInerney set up Conor Cooney’s goal with 14 minutes remaining.
That gave Galway a 1-15 to 1-9 lead and they flexed their muscles after that scoring six of the last eight points in the game.
Substitutes John Fitzgibbon and Nash tapped over consolation points for Limerick, but Canning scored three more, while Cathal Mannion, Conor Cooney, and Thomas Monaghan sealed the win.
Scorers for Galway: C Cooney 1-4, J Canning 0-7 (6fs), C Mannion 0-4, C Whelan 0-2, P Mannion 0-1, Johnny Coen 0-1, David Burke 0-1, Thomas Monaghan 0-1.
Scorers for Limerick: S Dowling 0-5 (4fs), W O’Donoghue 1-0, B Nash 0-2, D Dempsey 0-1, D Byrnes 0-1, C Lynch 0-1, J Fitzgibbon 0-1.
GALWAY: Colm Callanan; Adrian Tuohy, John Hanbury, Aidan Harte; Padraic Mannion, Gearoid McInerney, Daithi Burke; Johnny Coen, David Burke; Joseph Cooney, Joe Canning, Padraig Brehony; Conor Whelan, Cathal Mannion, Conor Cooney.
Subs: Thomas Monaghan for Brehony (54), Paul Killeen for Hanbury (55), Niall Burke for J Cooney (63), Jason Flynn for Whelan (66), Sean Loftus for David Burke (68).
LIMERICK: Nickie Quaid; Richie English. Richie McCarthy, Mike Casey; Diarmaid Byrnes, Declan Hannon, Seamus Hickey; Alan Dempsey, William O’Donoghue; Shane Dowling, David Dempsey; Gearoid Hegarty; Graeme Mulcahy, Kyle Hayes, Cian Lynch.
Subs: Gavin O’Mahony for Hannon (16), Sean Finn for Hickey (38), Barry Nash for Mulcahy (48), John Fitzgibbon for D Dempsey (53), James Ryan for A Demspey (53).
REFEREE: Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow).