Tipp through thanks to sizzling final 20 minutes
19:06, 27 May 2012
Tipperary 2-20 Limerick 1-19, Semple Stadium
Limerick will have to wait another year for their first Munster SHC win in over a decade after an inspirational final 20 minutes from Tipperary set up a semi-final meeting with Cork.
Limerick opened the scoring in Thurles with a Shane Dowling free just inside the Tipperary half after two minutes, but Thomas Stapelton quickly levelled - the defender ran onto the breaking ball and composed himself before firing it over.
Dowling then fired three successive points for Limerick - two from play - to send his side into a 0-4 to 0-1 lead. Limerick were brilliant in defence with Gavin O'Mahony, Wayne McNamara and Tom Condon proving effective in stemming the Tipperary attacks.
Noel McGrath and Brian O'Meara were both off target before Pa Bourke fired over for the reigning Munster champions in the 12th minute, although it seemed that Noel McGrath had fouled a covering Limerick player.
Dowling then took his tally to 0-5 after Graeme Mulcahy was hauled down. Tipperary needed a response and it was O'Meara who gave it to them.
The Kilruane ace came out from the full-forward line and struck over from 35 metres to close to the gap to 0-5 to 0-3, but when Conor Allis played a great ball in to Mulcahy, he stretched Limerick's lead back to three.
Tipperary were wasteful in the opening half and until Bourke scored a 17th minute goal, it seemed Limerick were on their way. Padraic Maher played the ball into O'Meara who drew a defender before passing to Bourke whose shot went across Nickie Quaid and into the back of the net to tie things up at 1-3 to 0-6.
Allis responded for Limerick with a fine score before O'Mahony let the ball fall from his grasp, giving Noel McGrath the opportunity to level matters from 25 metres out.
Kevin Downes nudged Limerick back in front after David Breen got the better of Padraic Maher after 23 minutes, and when Eoin Kelly overcarried it gave Limerick the chance to clear with Quaid taking the free.
The Limerick stopper launched the ball towards the Tipperary square, Mulcahy claimed it before firing it towards the corner of the goal. But Brendan Cummins was his match, diving to his left to deny the Limerick forward.
When the ball was cleared, Allis fired the ball back into Mulcahy who made no mistake second time around - moving Limerick into a 1-8 to 1-4 lead.
Three points brought Tipperary back into the game and when his fellow colleagues were struggling, O'Meara showed them way. First he left Stephen Walsh for dead before firing over the bar.
When an Eoin Kelly shot was deflected wide by Quaid, Bourke fired over the resulting '65' with five minutes to go to half-time. It took until the 34th minute for Kelly to finally get on the scoreboard, with a free from 20 metres, before Noel McGrath brought Tipperary level at 1-8 apiece.
With half-time nearing Seanie Tobin became the fifth Limerick forward to score to give them a one-point lead at the break.
Limerick started the second half with great accuracy. Downes, Dowling (0-2) and Breen, who landed a well-taken point from just past halfway, stretched the lead to 1-12 to 1-8.
In the 40th minute referee Barry Kelly failed to see Tipp's Kelly being fouled - first by Tom Condon and then by Wayne McNamara. Kelly was replaced shortly afterwards by Patrick Maher.
While Tipperary struggled, Limerick had no such difficulty with Tobin and Allis widening the margin to seven - 1-15 to 1-8 - 19 minutes into the second half.
While it took Tipperary 14 minutes to add to their tally - Bourke converted a free - that score started an incredible turnaround for Declan Ryan's charges.
At the other end Limerick had a great goal chance for Breen but when the ball went to the ground he could not dig it out from underneath his feet and Paul Curran cleared.
Dowling fired over the bar from 62 metres out to keep it at a seven-point game. Nonetheless, when Tipperary needed it Pa Bourke was keeping them in the Munster Championship - he launched over a fine score and Noel McGrath added another to put five between them (1-16 to 1-11).
Points from Shane McGrath and John O'Brien brought Tipperary to within two. Seamus Callanan then ran in on goal with a team-mate loose inside and his subsequent shot saw Quaid produce a fine save.
Tobin put three points between them but Limerick were fading at this stage. Bourke hit another point before O'Meara knocked a loose ball into the goal for Tipperary to suddenly lead by 2-15 to 1-17.
Two further points from Bourke opened up a two-point lead in the 65th minute. Declan Hannon responded to close to gap amid a grandstand finish.
Back came Tipperary with Conor O'Brien and Callanan scoring twice. Dowling answered back for John Allen's side, but the two minutes of added time were up and Tipperary, thanks to a remarkable recovery, finished with a four-point victory.
Scorers - Tipperary: P Bourke 1-8 (0-5f, 0-1 '65'), B O'Meara 1-2, N McGrath 0-3, E Kelly (0-1f), T Stapleton, J O'Brien, S Bourke, S Callinan, S McGrath, C O'Brien 0-1 each
Limerick: S Dowling 0-8 (0-4f), G Mulcahy 1-2, S Tobin 0-3, K Downes, C Allis 0-2 each, D Breen, D Hannon 0-1 each
TIPPERARY: B Cummins; D Maher, P Curran, M Cahill; T Stapleton, C O'Mahony, Padraic Maher; J Woodlock, B Maher; G Ryan, N McGrath, P Bourke; E Kelly, B O'Meara, J O'Brien.
Subs used: S McGrath for Woodlock (28 mins), Patrick Maher for Kelly (43), C O'Brien for D Maher (48), S Callanan for Ryan (51), S Bourke for J O'Brien (64).
LIMERICK: N Quaid; S Walsh, R McCarthy, T Condon; W McNamara, D O'Grady, G O'Mahony; P Browne, J Ryan; D Breen, C Allis, S Dowling; S Tobin, K Downes, G Mulcahy.
Subs used: D Hannon for Downes (51 mins), B Geary for Allis (62), N Moran for Tobin (65), T Ryan for McNamara (68).
Referee: Barry Kelly (Westmeath)