Limerick needed to survive a torrid opening to their Munster Championship defence when pushed all the way in which by a defiant Waterford in FBD Semple Stadium at present.
hey did so regardless of a forty eighth minute crimson card for Gearoid Hegarty in a contest that grew vastly heated because the probabilities of an upset grew palpably in Thurles.
Contemporary from securing their fourteenth Nationwide League crown, Limerick arrived into the fixture as nearly common favourites to safe a fourth consecutive All-Eire title later this 12 months.
The convenience with which John Kiely’s males handled Kilkenny in that League closing clearly carried an ominous message for these harbouring hopes of dethroning them both as Munster or All-Eire kingpins.
And so they carried on in that vein from the throw-in right here, stretching virtually imperiously right into a 0-5 to 0-1 lead inside ten minutes, Waterford actually struggling to carry possession on their very own puck-outs.
They’d additionally undergo a crushing blow on 21 minutes, Tadhg de Burca helped from the sector with what appeared one other critical knee harm, Tom Barron approaching as substitute.
Limerick too have been depleted at that stage, their captain – Declan Hannon – having to get replaced by Mike Casey simply fifteen minutes in.
However it was whereas de Burca was on the bottom in apparent ache that Limerick acquired the opening purpose, Seamus Flanagan flicking dwelling after scooping the ball previous Waterford netminder, Billy Nolan.
That rating put Limerick 1-8 to 0-3 clear and seemingly set for a commanding win. However they have been out-scored 0-7 to 0-3 from there to the break by a Waterford staff for whom Stephen Bennett particularly was now taking the battle to the All-Eire champions.
Limerick went in with a 1-11 to 0-10 benefit, eight of Waterford’s scores coming from Bennett, seven of them frees, three of which he was fouled for himself.
Because the digits started to show in Waterford’s favour, so too the warmth of the competition started to climb, 5 gamers booked, three from Limerick (Barry Nash, Gearoid Hegarty and Kyle Hayes) and two from Waterford (Dessie Hutchinson and Mikey Kiely) in a vigorous five-minute pocket simply earlier than the break.
Seamus Flanagan appeared fortunate to keep away from much more critical censure for what appeared a excessive elbow into the pinnacle of Bennett in that interval. Bennett had additionally taken a hurley to the helmet from Barry Nash and it was noticeable that the Ballysaggart man had phrases with referee, Liam Gordon, because the groups went down the tunnel.
The Galway referee was met with a crescendo of boos from the Limerick contingent in a 20,267 attendance as he made his solution to the dressing-room, their staff seemingly in a battle now that had proven little signal of rising simply ten minutes earlier.
Waterford then scored the primary three factors of the second-half to make it a one level sport earlier than tempers flared over on the Kinane Stand facet when Hegarty floored Conor Gleeson with what appeared a late shoulder into the midriff.
The Limerick man was instantly proven crimson by Gordon however, within the scuffle that adopted, he was clearly struck within the chest by a Waterford mentor who was additionally duly ordered down the tunnel.
Lowered to 14, the champions have been in a critical battle now and factors from Bennett, substitute Patrick Fitzgerald and Hutchinson introduced Waterford to inside a purpose of Limerick with simply six minutes of regular time remaining.
However it at all times felt as if Waterford would want a purpose to get the factors right here and this Limerick defence merely will not be within the behavior of conceding them.
In actual fact, the perfect remaining purpose likelihood would come on the Killinan-end, Billy Nolan making a spectacular double save from Gillane earlier than Diarmuid Byrnes nailed Limerick’s closing rating with a minster level.
Waterford acquired the final two scores of the sport from Bennett and Aussie Gleeson however simply couldn’t shut the hole, Limerick edging dwelling in the long run by two factors.
Limerick – A Gillane 0-7 (0-5 frees), S Flanagan 1-1, D Byrnes 0-3 frees, P Casey, G Hegarty and T Morrissey 0-2 every, B Nash 0-1.
Waterford – S Bennett 0-12 (0-10 frees), D Hutchinson 0-3, C Gleeson, J Barron, A Gleeson and Patrick Fitzgerald 0-1 every.
LIMERICK: N Quaid, S Finn, D Morrissey, B Nash, D Byrnes, D Hannon, Okay Hayes, D O’Donovan, W O’Donoghue, G Hegarty, C Lynch, T Morrissey, A Gillane, S Flanagan, P Casey. Subs – M Casey for Hannon (15 minutes), C O’Neill for Flanagan (60 minutes), D Reidy for O’Donoghue (68 minutes), C Boylan for Casey (74 minutes).
WATERFORD: B Nolan, C Gleeson, C Prunty, M Fitzgerald, C Lyons, T de Burca, J Fagan, D Lyons, J Barron, N Montgomery, D Hutchinson, M Kiely, C Dunford, S Bennett, J Prendergast. Subs – T Barron for de Burca (22 minutes), A Gleeson for Dunford (51 minutes), Patrick Fitzgerald for Prendergast (60 minutes), Paudie Fitzgerald for Montgomery (60 minutes).
Referee – L Gordon (Galway).