GAA Hurling All-Ireland Quarter-Final: Kilkenny 4-16 Limerick 1-16
A powerful second-half performance from Kilkenny saw them shrug off the challenge of Limerick in Semple Stadium on Sunday, and move comfortably into the semi-finals of the All-Ireland championship.
Limerick put up a very strong showing in the opening 35 minutes, and were level with the Cats early in the second half, but then Brian Cody’s side went on a typically ruthless and decisive scoring spree, hitting two goals and five points without reply between the 42nd and 55th minute, to go 4-13 to 1-11 in front.
Limerick kept battling,but despite being reduced to fourteen men Kilkenny were cruising by this stage and won by nine points in the end, with Henry Shefflin completing their scoring to finish with a personal tally of 2-6, 2-2 of which came from play.
The early exchanges were close as the sides traded early scores, Shefflin with two from play for Kilkenny and Limerick getting off the mark with a free from Shane Dowling and a classy effort from the left from Niall Moran.
Kilkenny failed to convert three ealy chances from frees before Limerick fired home a goal on 12 minutes, David Breen finishing beautifully after some brilliant work from Graeme Mulcahy.
But within five minutes, Kilkenny were level thanks to Shefflin’s first goal. The 10-time GAA All Star pounced on a loose ball that wasn’t dealt with by the Limerick defence, and drilled it into the empty net.
Limerick responded with two quick points, but Shefflin struck his second goal on 20 minutes, this time finishing intelligently from the left, deftly flicking the sliotar off his hurl from a very tight angle past Nicky Quaid.
Limerick were back level by the 28th minute, with the impressive Mulcahy firing over their equaliser, but Kilkenny outscored Limerick by 0-3 to 0-2 in the final few minutes of the half, with Tommy Walsh getting the pick of those scores with a powerful effort from distance.
Limerick were back level by the 42nd minute, a point from Seán Tobin restoring parity, but Kilkenny then embarked on the supreme scoring burst which won the game for them.
Points from Aidan Fogarty, Colin Fennelly and Shefflin (2 frees) moved them four clear in the space of a couple of minutes, and then Fogarty broke through for a superbly taken goal on 55 minutes.
Colin Fennelly then powered in a fourth Kilkenny goal a minute later, finishing brilliantly to the roof of the net from the right to move the beaten Leinster finalists into a massive 11-point lead.
Richie Hogan’s dismissal shortly afterwards disrupted the Kilkenny rhythm somewhat, and Limerick managed to fire over the next four scores, but by then the gap was much to large for the Treaty County to really threaten a comeback.
Kilkenny closed out the final few minutes with confidence, knocking over three more points, and they will now play Tipperary in the All-Ireland semi-final in three weeks’ time.
Scorers for Kilkenny: H Shefflin 2-6 (4f), A Fogarty 1-2, C Fennelly 1-2, R Power 0-2 (1f, 1 65′), T Walsh 0-1, R Hogan 0-1, M Fennelly 0-1, E Larkin 0-1
Scorers for Limerick: D Breen 1-1, S Dowling 0-4 (3f), D Hannon 0-4 (2f), G Mulcahy 0-2, N Moran 0-1, P O’Brien 0-1, S Tobin 0-1, K Downes 0-1, T Quaid 0-1
Kilkenny: D Herity; P Murphy, J.J. Delaney, J Tyrrell; T Walsh, K Joyce, R Doyle; M Fennelly, M Rice; E Larkin, R Power, H Shefflin; C Fennelly, R Hogan, A Fogarty.
Subs: T.J Reid for R Power (35), C Buckley for A Fogarty (66), M Ruth for E Larkin (66).
Limerick: N Quaid; S Walsh, R McCarthy, T Condon; W McNamara, D O’Grady, G O’Mahony; J Ryan, P O’Brien; S Dowling, D Breen, D Hannon; G Mulcahy, N Moran, S Tobin.
Subs: S Hickey for T Condon (37), K Downes for D Breen (57), P Browne for S Dowling (61), T Quaid for S Tobin (64).
Referee: Michael Wadding (Waterford) Report from GAA.ie