Tipperary’s minor footballers did enough on home turf to qualify for the phase one final of the Munster championship: but only just.
Going into this encounter a draw looked like it would be enough for the Premier lads to face Clare in a fortnight for the right to play Cork and Kerry, after they beat a Waterford team that Limerick could only level with last week, and that’s what they got in a tense affair that proved entertaining for the vocal crowd at Sean Treacy Park.
When they went three ahead after 40 minutes thanks to a couple of frees from captain Kyle Shelly and an impressive effort by sub Liam McCormack, Tipp looked to be cruising but they then found themselves pinned into their own half for the subsequent 10 minutes as Limerick threw everything forward in a desperate bid to gain the win they needed.
Three converted frees, one by Eliah Riordan and the others by Shane O’Donoghue, tied up the scoring and even after Tipperary went in front yet again through a well-taken Shelly free, Limerick refused to die and a pointed free in the fourth minute of injury-time by Riordan made it a draw.
Had they lost this game, Tipp would have bitterly rued some spurned goal chances, although Limerick goalkeeper Dylan O’Sullivan did well to prevent them all.
Two came either side of the first half, when Paddy Creedon and Kyle Shelly looked like raising green flags, and the other when Shelly took a pass from Emmet Butler late on after a fine run but the chance was cleared off the line.
Tipperary were slightly brighter in that first half although after an excellent point by Rory Collins in the fifth minute they endured 16 barren minutes before scoring again and then finished the half stronger, albeit the scores were tied at 0-5 apiece.
“Every time we play Limerick we know we’re going to get a hugely intense game,” a relieved Tipp manager Matt O’Doherty said afterwards.
Hopefully a tough game like this will stand to us going forward, but we have a massive task ahead of us against Clare. They’re up there with Cork and Kerry.
Scorers for Tipperary – K Shelly 0-7 (6f), R Collins 0-1, P Creedon 0-1, L McCormack 0-1;
Scorers for Limerick – S O’Donoghue 0-6 (5f), E Riordan 0-2 (2f), C Galvin 0-1, D Geraghty 0-1.
Tipperary: J Griffin, C McDonagh, T Condon, E Butler, J Armstrong, D Hickey, C Shanahan, P Creedon, T Tobin, L Seacy, K Shelly, B Comerford, R Collins, J Mullen, E McCarthy. Subs: C Cadell for J Mullen (HT), L McCormack for P Creedon (37m), L King for R Collins (53m), D King for T Tobin (57m), D McCahey for L Seacy (60m).
Limerick: D O’Sullivan, D Geraghty, P Dolphin, F Corcoran, C Twomey, D O’Keeffe, C Woulfe, E Riordan, M Southgate, C Hedderman, S O’Donoghue, R O’Connor, C Galvin, S Hanrahan, M Donnellan. Subs: P O’Dwyer for C Hedderman (40m), J Baynham for S Hanrahan (56m).
Ref: Chris Maguire (Clare).