Tipperary share spoils in Munster U20 football championship opener:

By John Redington Limerick Leader Sport

“DISAPPOINTED, we had the momentum to win it but gave away too many scores from turnovers. Still, we’re very happy for recovering from five points down”, were manager Shane Kelly’s thoughts as Limerick’s Under-20 footballers got their Munster championship campaign off the mark with a battling 0-12 to 2-6 draw on the floodlit 4G surface of Fethard’s Town Park on Friday evening.

Conceding two clinically-placed goals at the start of each half, it looked like Limerick had shot their chances in the foot until an unrelenting recovery saw them shoot six unanswered points to grab the lead with seven minutes to go, only for that to be overtaken and then cancelled out in storming finish that had both sets of supporters on their feet.

From a Tipp point of view, it was a case of taking their chances when they arose as they built up a first quarter lead and then pouncing again with their second goal after their opponents pulled themselves back into contention.

For Limerick, it was a case of recovering from a disjointed start, slowly finding their feet with a sustained recovery and showing the bottle to bounce back again after their late grasp at the lead was overtaken by a pair of inspired Tipp points.

So both sides have an opportunity to look on the bright side as they look forward to next Friday evening’s second bout of the Round Robin against Clare and Waterford respectively.

And, on a crisp clear evening, they showed glimpses of real quality in their spirit and their organisation suggesting they have what it takes to qualify from the group as the top two teams in the table.

Emmett Rigter’s pointed free got Limerick off the mark, but their early possession was overtaken when a turnover from defence led to a flowing Tipp move which ended with Darragh McVicker expertly placing the ball into the top corner of Craig MacInness’s net.

Rigter managed a pointed reply on the run, the visitors’ only score from play in the first period, but that was cancelled out when the Premier side gained a stranglehold on midfield as Orrin Jones, Joseph Lawrence and McVicker’s free shot them four points to the good by the quarter mark.

However, the home side wasted a number of chances to extend the gap and, coming into run up to the interval, Limerick began to run the ball more directly from deep, leading to fouls which Darragh Murray and Rigter converted.

Another foul on Murray saw Charlie King pick up a black card and Ronan Quirke sent over the free, but the visitors failed to make use of the extra man as Lawrence pointed from the resulting kick-out to leave the home side leading 1-4 to 0-5 at half-time.

Limerick attacked from the restart, but failed to find the target during an extended period of possession and then, just before Tipp returned to full strength, sucker-punched when a low bouncing ball found the chest of Jones who pirouetted past the challenge, raced towards the box and slotted low into the corner on the run.

Ronan Quirke responded with a point immediately off a delivery from the kick-out, fanned a faint glimmer of hope when following up with a strike on the run, then skimmed a bullet on the turn just over the crossbar. It was game on when Limerick’s Diarmuid Hynes pointed at the end of a lightning move from the middle.

The momentum carried on for Quirke to equalise with a pointed free which was brought in to the 13m line for a late challenge.

Despite missing chances during the six scoreless minutes that followed, Limerick finally went in front when Quirke fetched high on the edge and struck the ball over the crossbar on the turn as he landed.

However, Tipp found a second wind and subs Dáithi Hogan and Paddy O’Keeffe confidently kicked points from distance to regain the lead. However, Limerick again fought back, Hynes collected the lay-off on the outside to equalise.

Both sides piled forward in the three added minutes in a fruitless pursuit of the winner.

SCORERS: TIPPERARY: Darragh McVicker (0-1 free), Orrin Jones 1-1 each, Joseph Lawrence 0-2, Dáithi Hogan, Darragh O’Connor 0-1 each. LIMERICK: Ronan Quirke 0-6 (1 free), Emmett Rigter 0-3 (2 frees), Diarmuid Hynes 0-2, Darragh Murray 0-1 (free),

TIPPERARY: Robbie McGrath Galtee Rovers); Darragh Spillane (Fethard), Eoin O’Connell (Loughmore-Castleiney), Mark Corcoran (Clonmel Commercials); Jack O’Neill (Ardfinnan), Charlie King (Ballina), Thomas Charles (Clonmel Commercials); Joe King (Clonmel Commercials), Eoin Doocey (Arravale Rovers); Ben Carey (Ballyloby-Castlegrace), Joseph Lawrence (Rockwell Rovers), Michael Freaney (Kilsheelan-Kilcash); Cian Smith (Clonmel Commercials), Orrin Jones (Arravale Rovers), Darragh McVicker (Clonmel Óg). SUBS: Dáithí Hogan (Saint Patrick’s) for Cian Smith (41 minutes), Seán O’Meara (Grangemockler-Ballyneale) for Darragh Spillane (48 minutes), Conal Grogan (Galtee Rovers) for Darragh McVicker (48 minutes), Paddy O’Keeffe (Moyle Rovers) for Joseph Lawrence (52 minutes), Killian Butler (Moyle Rovers) for Thomas Charles (60 minutes).

LIMERICK: Craig McInness (Cappagh); Craig O’Connell (Ahane), Jason Hassett (Mungret-Saint Paul’s), Paddy Downey (Oola); John Whelan (Newcatlewest), Aaron Neville (Newcastlewest), Michael Kilbridge (Father Caseys); Emmett Rigter (Newcastlewest), Darragh Murray (Monaleen); Senan (O’Brien (Saint Senan’s), Conal Ó Duinn (Monaleen), Bobby Smith (Ballybrown); Diarmuid Hynes (Mungret-Saint Paul’s), Ronan Quirke (Father Caseys), Shane Cross (Saint Patrick’s). SUBS: Pádraig Murphy (Ballysteen) for Bobby Smith (41 minutes), Jamie Behan (Ballybrown) for John Whelan (51 minutes), Oisín Woulfe (Father Caseys) for Senan O’Brien (57 minutes), Diarmuid Ryan (Feenagh-Kilmeedy) for Diarmuid Ryan (57 minutes).

REFEREE: John Ryan (Cork).