Limerick Late Show leaves Deise for dust

Limerick Late Show leaves Deise for dust

Limerick 0-30 (30)

Waterford 2-14 (20)

The Big Match coverage comes with thanks to George Corbett Skoda.

Waterford's summer is over - as Limerick emphasized exactly why they are All-Ireland champions with a stunning second half display at the Gaelic Grounds that buried the Deise's dreams.


Two goals in either half from Shane Bennett gave Waterford hope going into the final quarter - but Limerick hit 11 of the last 14 points to speed out of sight and on to another provincial decider.

The big news coming in before throw-in was that Conor Prunty was passed fit to start for the Deise - and joining him in the starting fifteen were Paddy Leavy and Neil Montgomery.

The atmosphere was truly electric at the Gaelic Grounds, as the stakes couldn't possibly get any higher. Win or die territory for both counties - and neither were playing for a draw, despite the fact it would suit all parties.

The Deise started brightly, Jamie Barron drawing a foul from Cian Lynch and Stephen Bennett stepped up to knock over the first score of the afternoon.


We soon remembered why Limerick are All-Ireland champions though - as four successive scores saw them flex their muscle. The first was a mammoth effort from way out by Diarmuid Byrnes, before Barry Nash rode two challenges to point with ease. Aaron Gillane made no mistake from his opening dead ball, and a cheap turnover was then duly punished, as Kyle Hayes gave the Treaty a three-point advantage.

The opening quarter ebbed and flowed and Waterford were soon level - largely helped by a stream of wides from the hosts. Some good work from Leavy found Bennett to fire over in space - before the Ballygunner man got in on the act himself with another well-taken effort.

Nash then got too close to Bennett for comfort, and the Ballysaggart ace fired over the free from close range to restore parity.

That parity fast came under threat on the quarter hour, Tadhg de Burca making an outstanding intervention to deny Gearoid Hegarty as he bore down on Shaun O'Brien's goal.

Then came the opening green flag, but it was at the other end. Kevin Mahony was hauled down on the 65-metre line by Will O'Donoghue and it seemed as if Bennett would step up to split the posts, but his effort dipped short and his brother Shane was on hand to flick to the net, giving the Deise a sudden three-point cushion, and momentum to their underdog effort.

Only Limerick could respond the way that they did to that score - John Kiely's men found ten of the next twelve scores.

David Reidy responded from the resultant puckout, before a mesmeric effort by Cathal O'Neill on the left flank. Limerick fans were saddened by the sight of an injured Seamus Flanagan trudging off the turf, but his replacement Shane O'Brien scoring with his first action to bring them level certainly helped to soften that blow.

Tom Morrissey was then granted the freedom of Limerick to fire them ahead, before Jamie Barron brought the Munster rivals neck and neck for the fourth time in the first period.

How did Limerick respond to that? They responded with another four points in a row - O'Brien reacting on a loose ball before a stunning catch and score from Hayes, another Morrissey effort and another lungbusting run and score from Hayes, who was at times unplayable, causing huge problems for the Deise.

A Stephen Bennett free reduced arrears again, and Waterford could then maybe count themselves fortunate to not be in numerical arrears - Jack Prendergast lashing out at Morrissey as he knocked over his second score, but referee Michael Kennedy ruled it as handbags.

Aaron Gillane was uncharacteristically quiet which wasn't likely to last long - his second score gave Limerick a five-point cushion at the break despite fourteen wides. Waterford, playing with the elements in the second period, were down but far from out. Still, it was going to be far easier said than done.

Calum Lyons nailed a superb score to get the cause off to the ideal start after the interval but David Reidy didn't take long to respond in turn.

Kevin Mahony then thundered over a great effort through a number of bodies which was cancelled out by Gearoid Hegarty - before Gillane and the impressive Cathal O'Neill suddenly made it a seven-point affair.

The character of this Waterford side was again being called into question, but they were able to respond and threaten - Jack Prendergast split the posts before Tom Morrissey knocked over his fourth of the afternoon, but that wouldn't deter the Deise.

Mahony unleashed a low drive which was turned away by Quaid - but Shane Bennett was once again on hand to fire to the net and all of a sudden, momentum was back with the visitors.

Michael Kiely then tried to slip Prendergast through for another golden opportunity, he was hauled down by Mike Casey - and up stepped Stephen Bennett to leave just a goal in it.

Dessie Hutchinson then arrived right on cue to close the gap to two - and going into the final quarter, you got the sense that Waterford may well be capable of toppling the Goliath.

26 May 2024; Dessie Hutchinson of Waterford celebrates his side's second goal during the Munster GAA Hurling Senior Championship Round 5 match between Limerick and Waterford at TUS Gaelic Grounds in Limerick Photo by Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

Hypothetical was all it proved - as Limerick produced a classic purple patch when it mattered most - outstanding in defence, dogged in their work rate, and clinical in their finishing.

Gillane and Lyons exchanged scores to keep the gap at two - but within a matter of moments, Limerick again had a cushion of seven.

William O'Donoghue belted over a fine effort before Patrick Fitzgerald got in on the act - but when Conor Prunty had no option to drag down O'Neill, it lit a fire under Limerick.

Gillane pointed the requisite free, before O'Neill combined with Adam English - and a mammoth free from Diarmuid Byrnes pushed Waterford further from shore.

The Deise had half-hearted penalty claims as Padraig Fitzgerald fell under the attentions of Barry Nash, but Limerick couldn't care less, Gillane and Conor Boylan pointed John Kiely's side toward home.

Dessie Hutchinson's second point looked consolatory as three added minutes was announced - and that was exactly how it proved.

Gillane nailed a difficult dead ball to make it eight, Cian Lynch produced a mesmeric touch to kill the sliotar and add his name to the scoreboard - and Adam English made it double figures to drive a dagger into Deise hearts.

Waterford are out with three points not enough - Limerick meet Clare in the Munster Final, while Cork progress to the All-Ireland series.

Credit to the Deise, while it wasn't their day - there are few who can stand in the way of Limerick at their lightning best.

Waterford: Shaun O'Brien; Iarlaith Daly, Conor Prunty, Ian Kenny; Mark Fitzgerald, Tadhg De Burca, Calum Lyons; Paddy Leavy, Jamie Barron; Shane Bennett, Jack Prendergast, Neil Montgomery; Dessie Hutchinson, Stephen Bennett, Kevin Mahony

Scorers: Shane Bennett (2-0); Stephen Bennett (0-5, 0-4f); Dessie Hutchinson (0-2, 0-1f); Calum Lyons (0-2); Paddy Leavy, Jamie Barron, Jack Prendergast, Kevin Mahony and Patrick Fitzgerald (0-1 each)

Subs: Michael Kiely for Shane Bennett (blood); Michael Kiely for Neil Montgomery (HT); Patrick Fitzgerald for Jamie Barron (45); Padraig Fitzgerald for Stephen Bennett (55); Kieran Bennett for Shane Bennett (64); Jack Fagan for Jack Prendergast (67)

Limerick: Nickie Quaid; Mike Casey, Dan Morrissey, Barry Nash; Diarmaid Byrnes, Declan Hannon, Kyle Hayes; Will O Donoghue, Cathal O Neill; Gearóid Hegarty, Cian Lynch, Tom Morrissey; Aaron Gillane, Séamus Flanagan, David Reidy.

Scorers: Aaron Gillane (0-7, 0-7f); Tom Morrissey (0-4); Shane O'Brien and Kyle Hayes (0-3 each); Diarmuid Byrnes (0-2, 0-1f); Cathal O'Neill, Gearoid Hegarty and David Reidy (0-2 each); Cian Lynch, Barry Nash, William O'Donoghue, Adam English and Conor Boylan (0-1 each)

Subs: Shane O'Brien for Seamus Flanagan (19); Adam English for Tom Morrissey (54); Fergal O'Connor for Mike Casey (60); Conor Boylan for David Reidy (62); Donnacha O'Dalaigh for Gillane (70)

Referee: Michael Kennedy (Tipperary)

The Big Match coverage comes with thanks to George Corbett Skoda.

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