By Denis Hurley
Limerick 1-20, Cork 0-16
Limerick put themselves in with a very good chance of making the Electric Ireland Munster MHC final as Cathal O’Neill scored 11 points in a victory over Cork at Páirc Uí Chaoimh on Saturday evening.
The Shannonsiders – the first away team to win in the new round-robin format – never trailed in this tie, with O’Neill very impressive from dead balls as they moved 0-6 to 0-3 in front by the end of the first quarter.
Limerick’s Emmet McEvoy and Shane Barrett of Cork in action. Photo: ©INPHO/James Crombie.
Cork, who played with an extra defender in the first half, replied with scores from Ethan Twomey and Jack Cahalane (free) to leave just a point in it on 20 minutes, but the visitors had a strong riposte.
Limerick were to score six of the next seven as half-time neared, with Colin Coughlan and Eoin O’Mahony assisting O’Neill on the scoreboard and though Cahalane ended Cork’s drought with a fine free from the left in injury time, they trailed by 0-12 to 0-7 at the interval.
Cormac O’Brien had a long-range free in the first minute of the second half as they switched to a traditional formation, but Limerick always had enough scoring power to retain a cushion.
After points from Cahalane and Twomey, Cork were back to four, 0-14 to 0-10, but Limerick pushed clear emphatically. Cormac Ryan scored a fine goal, set up by Diarmuid Hegarty, and Hegarty had two points with O’Neill getting the other as they opened up a ten-point lead.
Scorers for Limerick: C O’Neill 0-11 (0-7 frees, 0-1 65), C Ryan 1-1, D Hegarty 0-3, E O’Mahony, P Kirby 0-2 each, C Coughlan 0-1.
Scorers for Cork: J Cahalane 0-6 (frees), C O’Brien 0-4 (0-3 frees), E Twomey, P Power (0-1 free) 0-2 each, O Broderick, D Hogan, F O’Leary 0-1 each.
LIMERICK: B Heavey (Garryspillane); P Harnett (Ahane), B Herlihy (Castletown/Ballyagran), M Keane (Adare); E O’Mahony (Garryspillane), E McEvoy (Na Piarsaigh), J Nicholas (Murroe-Boher); P Kirby (Patrickswell), B O’Connor (Ballybrown); D Hegarty (St Patrick’s), C Ryan (Doon), C Coughlan (Ballybrown); C O’Neill (Crecora-Manister), B Purcell (Doon), B Nix (Newcastlewest).
Subs: D Riordan (Castletown/Ballyagran) for Nix (37), D O’Leary (Bruff) for Coughlan (54), M Martin (Ballybricken-Bohermore) for Kirby (56), K O’Donnell (Pallasgreen) for Herlihy (57), D Hickey (Murroe-Boher) for Purcell (60).
CORK: C Long (Glen Rovers); C O’Brien (St Catherine’s), N O’Riordan (Mallow), C McCarthy (St Oliver Plunkett’s); C O’Brien (Newtownshandrum); L Horgan (Glen Rovers), Cian O’Donovan (Sarsfields), Cillian O’Donovan (Douglas); E Twomey (St Finbarr’s), O Broderick (Killeagh); P Power (Blarney), S Barrett (Blarney), D Hogan (Sarsfiels); P O’Flynn (Bride Rovers), J Cahalane (St Finbarr’s).
Subs: A Mulcahy (Midleton) for O’Flynn (34), C Hickey (Lisgoold) for Broderick (44), R McCarthy (Killeagh) for Cian McCarthy (47), F O’Leary (Inniscarra) for Hogan (48), P Cooney (Ballincollig) for Cahalane (56).
Referee: J Mullins (Clare).