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Saturday 16 December 2017

Rebels recapture Munster crown

"IT'S nice to have some silverware and be Munster champions" - a simple yet poignant line from Cork legend Jimmy Barry Murphy after his side ended Limerick's short reign with their 2-24 to 0-24 victory to become Munster hurling champions for the first time since 2006.

Barry Murphy's side did everything that was asked of them at Páirc Uí Chaoimh yesterday as they sent the old ground to the hands of the demolition crew's wrecking ball with one last and long overdue trophy.Coming into this game the talk was of revenge, validation and a fitting tribute to the iconic venue for a Cork side that had impressed many but won nothing, however JBM was clear that these mindsets had no influence on his way of thinking.

"Of course it was great to win. It's great that this bunch of lads have some silverware but I don't put any thought into the venue. I think being at home helped us as it helped Limerick last year but it is only a ground for me."While JMB wouldn't be drawn on individual players he did have a special mention for one, substitute and goal hero Paudie O'Sullivan.

""Paudie gave a master class after he came in. He did everything we could have wanted from him and more. After what he has been through in the last year I really couldn't be happier for him."

Blistering

As one would expect this game started at a blistering pace as two of the top sides in the country went at it in ideal conditions, however while passion and commitment were clearly on tap for both sides, accuracy definitely was not, as a litany of missed chances brought groans from both sets of supporters during the opening 10 minutes.

Limerick did manage three good points in this period but four wides meant that their lead was only half what it could have been when Cork eventually got off the mark.Ten minutes in Cork got on the scoreboard with a point from dual star Aidan Walsh which was quickly followed by a great score from Conor Lehane from the touchline.Limerick wing-forward Declan Hannon opened the gap to two moments later with one of the scores of the game which was added to by another effort from Kevin Downes.

With the intensity at fever pitch the sides exchanged brilliant scores for the next 20 minutes with Cork just beginning to show a little more all over the pitch. The home side first got back to parity on 28 minutes, thanks to a terrific point from corner-forward Alan Cadogan and then took the lead with another fine Lehane strike. More Cork points followed as the Rebels began to get into their groove, however the resilient and battle hardened Limerick men clawed their way back level, just as the half time-break was called (0-12 to 0-12)

The home side came flying out of the blocks on the resumption with O'Sullivan's first point raising the roof but a quick brace of frees from Limerick's talisman Shane Dowling sent the tie back the way of the Treaty men.

As the sides tied level four more times it was hard not to look to the schedule to see where and when the replay would be held, however all thoughts of second chances were banished on 58 minutes when Cork star (and man of the match) Seamus Harnedy cut in from the right wing to finish superbly past Nickie Quaid in the Limerick goal.The men in green again fought back superbly from that setback but were rocked yet again 13 minutes later when O'Sullivan finished a brilliant move to the Limerick net.Credit to the 2013 Munster champions, they battled on to try and keep their crown but saw it slipping away when Aidan Walsh landed a monster score on 67 minutes.

SCORERS - Cork: P Horgan 0-7 (6f), C Lehane 0-5, S Harnedy 1-2, P O'Sullivan 1-1, B Cooper, A Cadogan 0-3 each, A Walsh 0-2, A Nash 0-1 (f). CORK: A Nash; S McDonnell, S O'Neill, C Joyce; L McLoughlin; M Ellis, D Cahalane; D Kearney, A Walsh; C Lehane, B Cooper, S Harnedy; A Cadogan; P Cronin, P Horgan. LIMERICK: N Quaid; T Condon, R McCarthy, S Hickey; P O'Brien, W McNamara, G O'Mahony; J Ryan, P Browne; D Hannon, D O'Grady, D Breen; G Mulcahy, S Dowling, K Downes. REF: B Gavin (Offaly).MAN OF MATCH: Seamus Harnedy (Cork).

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