CORK…………………………………………………………………………… …………………………………………………………………………………………….2-31
Limerick staged a dramatic late rally to force a draw at the end of normal time before putting on a barnstorming performance in extra time to overcome Cork after an enthralling All-Ireland Senior Hurling Championship semi-final on Sunday in Croke Park.

Twenty four hours after the All-Ireland champions Galway and Clare served up a classic of rare quality, the fired up hurlers of Limerick and Cork went one better in a heart stopping game of top quality hurling in front of an excited 71,073 spectators.
This was a classic of epic proportions from start to furnish and the sides were so even, it had a draw written all over it from early in the contest.
The factor that eventually decided the sides who brought passion, skill, work rate and commitment to a new level was the respective benches.
Limerick were the stronger and John Kiely’s timing of unleashing his talent in waiting from substitute duty had a devastating impact on Meyler and his charges’ hopes of atoning for their loss at the same stage of the competition last year.
Shane Dowling, Pat Ryan, Barry Nash and David Reidy of the seven Limerick substitutes who were used over the marathon contest chipped in with 2-6 between them, Dowling burying a penalty in the second half of extra time quickly followed by a fine individual goal from Pat Ryan that put the game beyond Cork’s reach.
Cork used their bench as well but the changes did not have the same level of impact, in fact it was minimal and the timing of the changes may have upset the side’s rhythm as the Rebels had Limerick on the hind foot at the time and had established a six point lead.
Cork more than played their part in the epic, and while the defence was in trouble at times in the first half during which Aaron Gillane caused all sorts of problems with his ability to win possession, and the Patrickswell man was very unlucky not to have a couple of goals to his credit, kicking over once and sending over on a second occasion when he had lost his stick.
The Cork rearguard tightened up after the break and for 25 minutes appeared to have withstood everything Limerick threw at them, while at the other end, Conor Lehane appeared to be on a solo mission to secure the Leesiders place in the August 19th decider. The Midleton stickman hit 1-3 from play in a short period of time.
Nickie Quaid played a major part in preserving Limerick’s interest in the competition with two absolutely stunning saves, denying Shane Kingston just before half time and his never to be forgotten save at the end of normal time to deny Séamus Harnedy a certain goal.
These were the fine margins that marked a truly titanic first ever meeting between the Munster rivals at this stage of the competition.
Shane Kingston had Cork off the mark in the first minute and Darragh O’Donovan quickly equalised at the other end and it was the start of a trend that saw the sides exchange points throughout most of the half during which they were level on seven occasions.
Limerick had their noses in front midway through the half 0-7 to 0-6 after Séamus Harnedy (2), Darragh Fitzgibbon, Patrick Horgan and Shane Kingston added to the Rebels tally with Gearóid Hegarty (2), Diarmaid Byrnes, Aaron Gillane (2) and Séamus Flanagan finding the range for John Kiely’s young charges.
Points from Daniel Kearney and Mark Coleman saw the lead changes hands. Gillane levelled before Cork went two clear courtesy of Horgan and Christopher Joyce from distance.
Three Graeme Mulcahy points, with a response of one from Horgan for the Leesiders, left the sides deadlocked 0-11 apiece after 32 minutes.
Cork regained a two point advantage after Shane Kingston cut in from the left and forced Nickie Quaid into saving well and deflecting over and Mark Coleman followed with a sublimely struck line ball.
Tom Morrissey halved the deficit as the clock ticked into time added on and Kearney cancelled it out for the Rebels.
In the last scoring action of the half Séamus Flanagan was centrally involved before offloading to Cian Lynch who careered in and steered the sliothar past Anthony Nash to put Limerick in front, and a minimum lead to take to the changing room at half time, 1-12 to 0-14.
In the ten minutes after the resumption, Cork through Darragh Fitzgibbon (2), Conor Lehane (2), Daniel Kearney and Patrick Horgan added six points with John Kiely’s men reply with four from Gearóid Hegarty, Aaron Gillane, Cian Lynch and Graeme Mulcahy. In the same period Limerick were wasteful, misfiring on five occasions.
Two Horgan frees saw Cork draw three clear, 0-22 to 1-16 after 48 minutes. Gillane and Horgan swapped minors and the Patrickswell man pared the lead back to two before Conor Lehane raced in from the right and gave Nickie Quaid no chance. The Midleton stickman added a point to his goal to put Cork six clear and suddenly Cork’s poor sequence of results at headquarters looked poised to come to an end.
Shane Dowling from a free and from play pared two points off the deficit only for Luke Meade and Fitzgibbon to quickly restore Cork’s six point cushion.
Aaron Gillane from a free kicked started a Limerick procession of scores that yielded seven points in a row with Kyle Hayes, a Gillane double from frees, Shane Dowling and Gillane from play and a free finding the target as Limerick grabbed the lead in the third minute of time added on.
Before Gillane sent over the lead point, there was high drama at the other end when Robbie O’Flynn raced down the left and off loaded to Séamus Harnedy in front of goal and as he was about to pull the trigger for what looked a certain winning goal, Nickie Quaid spectacularly intervened to flick the ball away for without doubt the save of the championship.
There was one final piece of drama to be played out, Limerick conceded a free on the left hand sideline around midfield. Patrick Horgan held his nerve to send the sliothar sailing between the uprights and forcing the game to extra time, final score 1-27 apiece.
It was tit for tat in the first period of extra time at the end of which Limerick had just edged in front 1-30 to 1-29 after two Gillane points and one from Dowling enhanced Limerick’s tally with two Horgan strikes replying for the Rebels.
Four minutes after the resumption, the defining moment of the game arrived when Shane Dowling was hauled down on his way through and he made to mistake from the resultant penalty.
Three minutes later, it was over as a contest when Pat Ryan careered in from the right and steered the ball past Anthony Nash to open up a seven points gap with three minutes remaining.
There was a flurry of late scores kicked off by substitute Jack O’Connor sending over for Cork. Barry Nash and Patrick Horgan traded late points before David Reidy maintained Limerick’s seven points lead with a huge point from far out on the right.
Right at the end, with the last action of the game, a hopeful Patrick Horgan free somehow found its way to the Limerick net to complete the 68 scores feast.
Scorers: Limerick: Aaron Gillane 0-13, 7fs; Dowling 1-4, 1f, 1-0 pen; Graeme Mulcahy 0-4; Cian Lynch 1-1; Gearóid Hegarty 0-3; Pat Ryan 1-0; Darragh O’Donovan, Diarmaid Byrnes free, Séamus Flanagan, Tom Morrissey, Kyle Hayes, Barry Nash, David Reidy 0-1 each.
Cork: Patrick Horgan 1-11, 1-9fs; Conor Lehane 1-3; Darragh Fitzgibbon 0-4; Shane Kingston, Daniel Kearney 0-3 each; Séamus Harnedy, Mark Coleman 1s 0-2 each; Christopher Joyce, Luke Meade, Jack O’Connor 0-1 each.
Limerick: Nickie Quaid (Effin); Seán Finn (Bruff), Mike Casey (Na Piarsaigh) Richie English (Doon); Diarmaid Byrnes (Patrickswell) Declan Hannon (Adare) – Captain Dan Morrissey (Ahane); Darragh O’Donovan (Doon), Cian Lynch (Patrickswell); Gearóid Hegarty (St. Patrick’s), Kyle Hayes (Kildimo-Pallaskenry), Tom Morrissey (Ahane); Aaron Gillane (Patrickswell), Séamus Flanagan (Feohanagh) Graeme Mulcahy (Kilmallock).
Subs: Peter Casey (Na Piarsaigh) for T Morrissey (51), Shane Dowling (Na Piarsaigh) for Flanagan (57), Pat Ryan (Doon) for Mulcahy (63), William O’Donoghue (Na Piarsaigh) for Darragh O’Donovan (70+1), Séamus Hickey for Byrnes (7ET), Barry Nash for Gillane, (15ET), David Reidy (Dromin-Athlacca) for Hannon (15ET).
Cork: Anthony Nash (Kanturk); Seán O’Donoghue (Inniscarra), Damien Cahalane (St. Finbarr’s), Colm Spillane (Castlelyons); Christopher Joyce (Na Piarsaigh), Eoin Cadogan (Douglas), Mark Coleman (Blarney); Bill Cooper (Youghal), Darragh Fitzgibbon (Charleville); Daniel Kearney (Sarsfields); Conor Lehane (Midleton) Luke Meade (Newcestown); Shane Kingston (Douglas) Séamus Harnedy (St. Ita’s) – Captain, Patrick Horgan (Glen Rovers).
Subs: Robbie O’Flynn (Erin’s Own) for Kingston (55); Mark Ellis (Millstreet) for Kearney (60); Tim O’Mahony (Newtownshandrum) for Meade (65), Micheal Cahalane (Bandon) for Cadogan (70+1), Daniel Kearney (Sarsfields) for Cahalane (ET), Micheal Cahalane for Harnedy (7ET), Shane Kingston (Douglas) for Fitzgibbon (7ET) Jack O’Connor (Sarsfields) for Kearney (15ET).
Referee: Paud O’Dwyer, Carlow.