RETURN WAS THE key word of the day.
A return to competitive hurling in 2021, a return to action on their home turf for All-Ireland champions Limerick and a return to Tipperary’s difficulties to get a win over their Munster neighbours.
Tipperary’s Jason Forde and Limerick’s Darragh O’Donovan.
For long stretches of this Saturday afternoon May clash, Tipperary seemed set to arrest the recent sequence of their meetings with Limerick, a single win from six matches.
The immaculate striking of Jason Forde from placed balls yielded a rich harvest as he scored 0-14.
The shot he converted in the 54th minute pushed them 0-19 to 0-14 clear, just after the second water break, yet Tipperary only added a single point thereafter. Limerick mounted a late charge that drew them level and they chased a winner in injury-time.
Tom Morrissey launched a shot from halfway that drifted wide and Diarmuid Byrnes sized up a free from his own 45-yard line that fell short. Time was called, both John Kiely and Liam Sheedy had to be content with a draw.
Arriving at firm conclusions after this contest is tricky, there was a flatness to the play at times that smacked of two teams with little collective training to rely on. The key matter was they at least got their 2021 endeavours up and running. Now there is something to work on.
Limerick will be pleased at how they started and finished but their form in between will lead to mixed feelings. For instance Tipperary trailed 0-7 to 0-5 after the first water break but outscored Limerick by 0-13 to 0-7 from that juncture until the start of the third quarter.
Limerick’s William O’Donoghue and Tipperary’s Dan McCormack.
Source: Morgan Treacy/INPHO
There was a clear pattern of Limerick dominance in the second quarter of matches last season, Tipperary’s response here was telling in that sense. The two-point deficit they faced was quickly erased.
Their work rate jumped up a few notches, spearheaded by Dan McCormack, and they outscored Limerick 0-5 to 0-1 with a rapid-fire burst of points. Forde was the experienced scoring figure in attack and he responded with 0-6 in the first half. Ronan Maher, released from the number three spot to the wing, launched over a couple from deep in defence. It all helped and the teams were deadlocked at 0-12 apiece by the break.
Having shifted into a winning position, Tipperary couldn’t kill off this match. They only got one true sight of goal, a Jake Morris first-half snapshot that was dealt adeptly with by Nickie Quaid, and had to rely on reeling off points to stay in front.
Limerick overcame their lethargy in the midway phase. Peter Casey added some vibrancy to their attack and picked off a pair of points in the latter stages. Of the starting crew, Seamus Flanagan was electric early on and Adrian Breen looked lively. For that pair, 0-7 was a decent combined return.
And Reidy potted his frees with composure, four in the final quarter saw Limerick drag Tipperary towards them.
No one popped up as the match-winning hero. Honours even then.
A start made to the hurling campaign at last, after the uncertainty and chaos that plagued the start of 2021. That’ll do for now.
Scorers for Limerick: David Reidy 0-8 (0-6f), Seamus Flanagan 0-4, Adrian Breen 0-3, Peter Casey 0-2, Diarmaid Byrnes (0-1f), William O’Donoghue, Darragh O’Donovan 0-1 each.
Scorers for Tipperary: Jason Forde 0-14 (0-11f, 0-1 ’65), Ronan Maher 0-2 (0-1f), Michael Breen, Dan McCormack, Niall O’Meara, Willie Connors 0-1 each.
1. Nicky Quaid (Effin)
2. Aaron Costello (Kilmallock)
3. Sean Finn (Bruff)
4. Richie English (Doon)
5. Diarmaid Byrnes (Patrickswell)
6. Kyle Hayes (Kildimo/Pallaskenry)
7. Barry Nash (South Liberties)
8. William O’Donoghue (Na Piarsiagh) Captain
9. Darragh O’Donovan (Doon)
10. Tom Morrissey (Ahane)
11. David Reidy (Dromin-Athlacca)
12. Conor Boylan (Na Piarsaigh)
13. Adrian Breen (Na Piarsaigh)
14. Seamus Flanagan (Feohanagh-Castlemahon)
15. David Dempsey (Na Piarsaigh)
of the team
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22. Cian Lynch (Patrickswell) for O’Donovan (46)
18. Peter Casey (Na Piarsaigh) for Dempsey (46)
21. Gearoid Hegarty (St Patrick’s) for Boylan (56)
23. Darren O’Connell (Kildimo-Pallaskenry) for Breen (59)
24. Brian O’Grady (Kilteely-Dromkeen) for O’Donoghue (67)
1. Barry Hogan (Kiladangan)
2. Cathal Barrett (Holycross-Ballycahill)
5. Brian McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney)
4. Barry Heffernan (Nenagh Éire Óg)
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7. Bryan O’Mara (Holycross-Ballycahill)
6. Seamus Kennedy (St Mary’s Clonmel)
3. Ronan Maher (Thurles Sarsfields)
8. Alan Flynn (Kiladangan)
9. Michael Breen (Ballina)
10. Dan McCormack (Borris-Ileigh)
11. Patrick Maher (Lorrha-Dorrha)
12. Niall O’Meara (Kilruane MacDonaghs)
13. Willie Connors (Kiladangan)
14. Jason Forde (Silvermines)
15. Jake Morris (Nenagh Éire Óg)
24. Noel McGrath (Loughmore-Castleiney) for Patrick Maher (53)
26. Dillon Quirke (Clonoulty-Rossmore) for O’Meara (53)
19. Cian Darcy (Kilruane McDonaghs) for Connors (59)
21. Mark Kehoe. (Kilsheelan-Kilcash) for Flynn (62)
22. Padraic Maher (Thurles Sarsfields) for O’Mara (inj) (68)
Referee: Colm Lyons (Cork)
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