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Brian Cody stands in way of denying Limerick greats

Limerick 0-27 Galway 1-21

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Limerick's Kyle Hayes escapes Galway players Conor Cooney, Padraic Mannion and Cathal Mannion

Limerick's Kyle Hayes escapes Galway players Conor Cooney, Padraic Mannion and Cathal Mannion

©INPHO/James Crombie

Dejected boss Henry Shefflin

Dejected boss Henry Shefflin

©INPHO/Laszlo Geczo

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Limerick's Kyle Hayes escapes Galway players Conor Cooney, Padraic Mannion and Cathal Mannion

Limerick get their chance to take another step to becoming the greatest ever team, but what will stand in their way in the All-Ireland final on July 17th, is the greatest manager of all in Brian Cody and his resurgent Kilkenny.

To get there, they had to get past a Galway side that reserved their best performance of the year for this task.

The only goal of the game came three minutes into the second half when a quick delivery caught Mike Casey out of position and Brian Concannon was able to fire to the roof of the net, bringing Galway level.

With five minutes to go, they were level. Henry Shefflin’s men would get three more chances to score, but spurned each one. In the final reckoning, Limerick’s Diarmuid Byrnes’ five second half frees from distance just gave them enough juice to get over the line and into their fourth final in five years.

Before the first six minutes were out, Shefflin was forced into a choice. e had attacker Cathal Mannion floating back to plug holes and gaps in front of Limerick’s deadly accurate Aaron Gillane, but Gillane had three points already compiled, all a variation of that over-the-shoulder slingshot he has.

The timid thing is to stick with a tactic you could have worked on for a fortnight, and indeed might have had lodged at the back of your tactical brain all season. But when Shefflin moved Mannion forward, they were already 0-6 to 0-1 down after eight minutes.

With Mannion in a more advanced position, Galway were better placed to cut out the supply and while by the half time break they were 0-16 to 0-12 down, they were much better than that.

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The disappointing thing for them was not only their ten first half wides, but the two scores from Ronan Glennon and Conor Whelan that brought the big cheers and the umpires’ approval, but were ruled out by Hawkeye after a review.

Just as Galway inched back to a one-point game five minutes from the break, the champions put on a spurt that brought two points from Gillane — one a free — and an inspirational effort from captain Declan Hannon.

Once Concannon’s goal drew Galway level, the teams traded points and were level on seven occasions. 

Ultimately, when they went down the stretch, Galway were imbued with the intense passion of manager Shefflin – booked alongside Limerick coach Paul Kinnerk in the first half. But Limerick had the dead-eyed assassins. Cian Lynch was rolled off the bench second vut barely touched the ball. Instead, the fans left singing the praises of David Reidy who compiled three brilliant points since coming on with fourteen minutes to go. 

LIMERICK: N Quaid; S Finn, M Casey, B Nash 0-1; D Byrnes 0-6f, D Hannon 0-1, D Morrissey; W O’Donoghue 0-1, D O’Donovan; G Hegarty 0-1, K Hayes 0-3, T Morrissey 0-1; A Gillane 0-8, 2f, S Flanagan 0-2, G Mulcahy

Subs: P Casey for Mulcahy (56m), C Lynch for T Morrissey (57m), D Reidy 0-3, for O’Donovan (61m), C O’Neill for G Hegarty (63m), C Boylan for Flanagan (67m)

GALWAY: E Murphy; J Grealish, Dáithí Burke, D Morrissey; P Mannion 0-1, J Flynn, F Burke 0-1; R Glennon 0-2, David Burke; T Monaghan 0-4, C Cooney 0-5, 4f, J Cooney 0-1; C Whelan 0-2, B Concannon 1-0, C Mannion 0-4

Subs: K Fahey for Flynn (53m), J Coen for Glennon (64m), E Niland for David Burke (67m), K Cooney for Conor Cooney (75m)

Referee: Thomas Walsh (Waterford)


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