One-point loss to Cork sees Limerick out of the Munster U20 Hurling Championship

By John Keogh Limerick Leader Sports

LIMERICK are out of the Munster U20 Hurling Championship following a 1-19 to 0-21 loss to Cork on this Friday evening at the TUS Gaelic Grounds.

Diarmuid Mullins’ side were superb in the first half but were met by a different Cork challenge after the break. Limerick were three up at the break but Cork upped the pace massively in the second half.

Five wides in a row in the second half, when Cork scored four points proved crucial and Ben Cunningham’s late efforts from play saw Cork home to the win.

Limerick started the game superbly with Shane O’Brien and Patrick O’Donovan getting points with just 44 seconds of the game played.

Cork were soon back on level terms through two Ben Cunningham frees but it was a temporary halt to Limerick’s fine display in the opening half hour.

Points by Con Hayes and Oisin O’Farrell put Limerick two to the good and an O’Donovan free increased the lead to three – 0-5 to 0-2 with 10 minutes on the clock.

Another O’Donovan placed ball increased Limerick’s lead to four moments later. Two Adam O’Sullivan scores, either side of an O’Donovan strike from play, saw Limerick’s lead at three yet again.

Two more O’Donovan points and an exceptional Adam English effort then had Limerick five points to the good with 23 minutes played.

A Cunningham ’65 stopped the run of Limerick scores and then a Diarmuid Healy goal brought Cork to within two points in the lead up to half time.

However, O’Donovan landed a long range free just before the break to see Limerick into a 0-12 to 1-6 half time advantage.

Adam Fitzgerald and Cunningham traded points at the beginning of the second half before two O’Donovan frees had Limerick four to the good.

Buckley and Cunningham soon had Cork back to within two but English and O’Brien responded to put Limerick 0-17 to 1-10 ahead with eight minutes gone in the second half.

However, Cork fired over the next four points on the bounced to level the game for the first time. Limerick hit five wides in that period between the 40th and 47th minutes.

Ross O’Sullivan then put Cork into the lead for the first time and then the influential William Buckley saw them into a two-point advantage.

O’Farrell brought Limerick back to within one before Cork were reduced to 14 when Rebel centre back Ben O’Connor was sent off for a second yellow card offence.

O’Donovan and Timmy Wilk traded scores, before a stunning English score levelled the game once again. But it was Cork that earned the win on the tightest of margins with Cunningham’s late effort proving crucial.

Scorers – Limerick: Patrick O’Donovan 0-11 (8 frees), Adam English 0-3, Shane O’Brien and Oisin O’Farrell 0-2 each, Con Hayes, Adam Fitzgerald and John Kirby 0-1 each.

Scorers – Cork: Ben Cunningham 0-8 (3 frees, 1 ’65), Diarmuid Healy 1-1, Adam O’Sullivan and William Buckley 0-3 each, Tadhg O’Connell 0-2, Ross O’Sullivan and Timmy Wilk 0-1 each.

LIMERICK: Josh O’Reilly; Ronan Lyons, Joe Fitzgerald, Evan O’Leary; David Fitzgerald, Ethan Hurley, Cian Scully; Barry Duff, Mikey Gavin; Adam Fitzgerald, Patrick O’Donovan, Shane O’Brien; Oisin O’Farrell, Adam English, Con Hayes.

Subs: John Kirby for Gavin (42 mins), Fintan Fitzgerald for Duff (42 mins), Sean O’Neill for Hayes (51 mins).

CORK: Brion Saunderson; Mark Howell, Shane Kingston, Darragh O’Sullivan; James Dwyer, Ben O’Connor, Michael Mullins; Tadhg O’Connell, Cillian Tobin; William Buckley, Ben Cunningham, Diarmuid Healy; Adam O’Sullivan, Colin Walsh, David Cremin.

Subs: Brian Keating for Walsh (36 mins), Ross O’Sullivan for A O’Sullivan (38 mins), Timmy Wilk for Tobin (42 mins), Ciarán Doolin for Dwyer (42 mins), Ben Nyhan for Healy (60 mins).

REFEREE: Niall Malone (Clare)