Munster Senior Hurling Championship:
CORK 1-26 LIMERICK 1-19
By Cian O’Connell at the LIT Gaelic Grounds
Suddenly all sorts of exciting summer possibilities exist for Cork.
Having endured such a disappointing opening weekend defeat on home turf against Tipperary, John Meyler’s charges summoned a hearty display to defeat the All Ireland champions at the Gaelic Grouds.
There was so much to admire about the manner in which Cork thundered into this revealing encounter and by the end the visitors were worthy seven point victors.
A gutsy defence, marshalled by the effective Eoin Cadogan, restricted Limerick to two second half scores from play, while further up the pitch Bill Cooper’s battling qualities added real physicality to Cork’s centrefield pairing.
Daniel Kearney craved involvement mining four points, a tally matched by the immense Seamus Harnedy, who strained every sinew for the Cork cause.
Inside Alan Cadogan carried a potent threat and Patrick Horgan struck 1-9 with the Glen Rovers talisman blasting the crucial 52nd minute goal which was the decisive moment in an action packed afternoon.
Horgan’s major steered Cork four clear and Limerick simply couldn’t recover in the closing stages as Meyler’s team closed out the deal in impressive fashion with substitute Declan Dalton drilling two splendid points.
Tight initially Limerick edged 1-8 to 0-8 ahead in the 27th minute when Graeme Mulcahy rifled an opportunistic goal when gathering a Declan Hannon attempt before unleashing a blistering drive to the back of the Cork net.
Cork came within a whisker of an immediate response, but Nickie Quaid bravely denied Harnedy as Limerick survived a scare.
Still by the time the interval rolled around Limerick were fairly content to depart armed with a 1-11 to 0-12 interval advantage.
Worryingly, though, for the green and outfit Cork were crafting chances which was confirmed by their 1-26 total from 44 shots during the game.
Six of the first eight second half scores enabled Cork to move 0-18 to 1-13 in front with Kearney becoming increasingly influential.
An Aaron Gillane free trimmed the gap to the minimum, but Cooper’s delivery found Horgan, who made the Limerick net dance with 18 minutes remaining.
With momentum increasing and confidence rising Cork clipped three of the next four points courtesy of Alan Cadogan, Harnedy, and Luke Meade.
Tom Morrissey’s 62nd minute point was one of two Limerick second half scores from play as Cork dictated the agenda late on.
Fittingly Horgan, Kearney, and Dalton contributed in the dying embers as Cork left Limerick with the spoils pocketed and a prized scalp taken. Further drama is imminent down south.
Scorers for Cork: Patrick Horgan 1-9 (6fs), Daniel Kearney and Seamus Harnedy 0-4 each, Alan Cadogan 0-3, Luke Meade and Declan Dalton 0-2 each, Darragh Fitzgibbon and Conor Lehane 0-1 each.
Scorers for Limerick: Aaron Gillane 0-9 (8fs), Graeme Mulcahy 1-4, Diarmuid Byrnes (2fs) and Shane Dowling (2fs) 0-2 each, Kyle Hayes and Tom Morrissey 0-1 each.
CORK: Anthony Nash; Sean O’Donoghue, Eoin Cadogan, Niall O’Leary; Robert Downey, Mark Ellis, Mark Coleman; Bill Cooper, Darragh Fitzgibbon; Daniel Kearney, Seamus Harnedy, Luke Meade; Conor Lehane, Patrick Horgan, Aidan Walsh.
Subs: Alan Cadogan for Lehane (6), Stephen McDonnell for O’Donoghue (HT), Christopher Joyce for Downey (53), Shane Kingston for Meade (61), Declan Dalton for Walsh (68).
LIMERICK: Nickie Quaid; Sean Finn, Mike Casey, Richie English; Diarmuid Byrnes, Declan Hannon, Dan Morrissey; Cian Lynch, Darragh O’Donovan; Gearoid Hegarty, Kyle Hayes, Tom Morrissey; Peter Casey, Aaron Gillane, Graeme Mulcahy.
Subs: Seamus Flanagan for P Casey (55), Shane Dowling for Hegarty (56), Barry Murphy for Mulcahy (61), William O’Donoghue for O’Donovan (61), David Dempsey for Gillane (66).
REFEREE: Paud O’Dwyer (Carlow).