By Mike Fitzpatrick
Limerick 4-10, Kilkenny 4-9
It was a travesty that so many people missed this game. The poor weather Sunday at Gaelic Park obviously kept the crowds away, and but for the hardy Tipp and Cats supporters who did show up, a fantastic game of hurling was missed. We always knew that it had the potential to be right up there among the games of the season, but for our hopes to come true was a huge bonus. In a game that produced no fewer than eight goals, with the vanquished side eventually succumbing in the dying minutes to a solitary point, we were treated to a tremendously exciting match between two of New York hurling’s best sides.
Limerick came into the tie with revenge on their minds, having been narrowly beaten by several weeks back in the knockout tournament, and how sweet it was for them to achieve victory in such a stylish fashion against a side as talented as Kilkenny. A clever tactical switch at halftime probably clinched the tie for the Limerick side, with goalkeeper David Sims moving outfield to play up front. Sims responded to the switch by grabbing a goal and a point for his side. Kevin Corbett and Vinnie Norton in the Kilkenny midfield had seemingly done enough to snatch victory for their side, scoring two goals and six points between them either side of the interval, but two long-range efforts from Eamonn Shields of Limerick somehow found their way past Dan Ryan in the Cats goal one arguably deflected from the hurl of a Kilkenny defender, though Shields will no doubt claim the goal, as it was his shot which resulted in the three pointer being scored.
Kilkenny brought on Luke Doyle to spice things up a little, and Doyle immediately saw action throughout the space of the field, battling for his side in search of winning points. Brian Barcoe nabbed two goals for Kilkenny to even the tie up a little, but efforts from Morgan Burns and Frankie Carroll of Limerick brought their side back into the driving seat. Carroll in particular had a storming game for Limerick, and it was his point scoring prowess in front of goal that probably clinched the tie for his side. Mark Kennedy of Kilkenny is another who certainly warrants a mention, playing out of his skin in the difficult conditions to keep his side in the hunt. In the end, a dramatic finish to the game provided Limerick with a hugely important victory in the hunt for honors this season. What with Tipperary watching in the wings, this year’s senior hurling competition promises to be one of nail-biting circumstances.
Limerick: Dave Sims (1-1), Dermot O’Brien, John Riordan, Aidan O’Connor, Tom Canty, Tom Sims, Brendan Cagney, Eamonn Shields (2-0), Danny Grealish, Frankie Carroll (0-7), Tim Kelly, Stan Hayes, Morgan Burns (1-1). Subs: Cathal Kenny (0-1), Damian Hallassy.
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Kilkenny: Don Ryan, Mark Kennedy, Daragh Moore, Pat Ryan, John Nolan, Dave Brennan, Vinnie Norton (1-1), Kevin Corbett (1-5), Aidan Ryan, Jim Kenny, Jerome Edge (0-1), James Joyce (0-1), Brian Barcoe (2-1). Subs: Luke Doyle, Richie Doyle, Joey Browne.
May 26-June 1, 1999