Tipperary fade in the face of awesome Limerick pressure
Limerick 2-26 Tipperary 2-14
Limerick manager John Kiely rebuffed any comparison with the ruthlessness of Brian Cody's Kilkenny at their peak after a 12-point Munster final win over Tipperary that could have been significantly more at the Gaelic Ground, Limerick yesterday.
Kiely bristled at any parallel being drawn, describing it as "nonsense stuff" after they added the Munster crown to All-Ireland and league titles claimed over the previous 11 months.
"That is total and utter nonsense. And I feel very strong on that. End of story. I don't want to be compared to anyone else. We are who we are. We are ourselves. We are Limerick. We are ourselves. We are honest in our endeavour. We are honest with each other in our appraisal of our performances."
Before a crowd of 44,052 Limerick were awesome, topping any previous high they have enjoyed, in terms of performance, during their ascendancy over the last year.
Their physical power suffocated Tipperary and, added to their high skill level through every line, it was a lethal cocktail that Liam Sheedy's side could find no answer to.
"We just didn't really find our flow," he admitted. "You have to credit Limerick for that. They brought all the energy, we lacked energy in every sector of the pitch. Brendan Maher and Ronan Maher in front of me were outstanding all day. But ultimately we lost too many individual battles."
Tipp opted not to play Cathal Barrett but Brendan Maher deputised superbly on Aaron Gillane. But in the other corner Peter Casey prospered, hitting 1-5 before being withdrawn with a head injury after shipping a heavy blow from Ronan Maher.
Outside him, Kyle Hayes was once again a colossus, the embodiment of this Limerick team's power and ferocity while Declan Hannon was a dominant figure across a half-back line that allowed no freedom to their opponents.
Tipperary goalkeeper Brian Hogan was magnificent, making four saves from close range while Seamus Callanan kept up his goal-a-game return in this championship with a magnificent 17th-minute strike.
Kiely acknowledged they could have won by more.
"We did leave scores after us, there's no two ways about that. Believe me, we left too many - it's the only possible stain on the performance for me, that we didn't put it to bed earlier.
"There was a three-four point swing after half-time when we could have six points up, they came up the field and got a goal - a swing of four or five points in about two minutes, and I said to myself, 'yeah, we're destined to make this a really tough slog'."
Limerick led by 1-11 to 1-9 at half-time and got their second goal to kill the game on 55 minutes when Peter Casey robbed James Barry to set up Hayes.
John McGrath had earlier grabbed a second goal for Tipp but they were swamped in the second half with Hogan barely able to find a colelague with a puck-out such was the pressure applied.
SCORERS - Limerick: P Casey 1-5, K Hayes 1-2, T Morrissey, A Gillane (3f) 0-4 each, G Hegarty, D Byrnes (3f) 0-3 each, C Lynch, G Mulcahy 0-2 each, B Nash 0-1. Tipperary: J Forde 0-6 (3f), S Callanan 1-1, J McGrath 1-0, R Maher 0-2, J Morris, N McGrath (f), J Cahill, J O'Dwyer, D McCormack all 0-1 each.
Limerick: N Quaid; M Casey, S Finn, R English; D Byrnes, D Hannon, D Morrissey; C Lynch, W O'Donoghue; G Hegarty, K Hayes, T Morrissey; A Gillane, P Casey, G Mulcahy. Subs: D O'Donovan for O'Donoghue (62), S Dowling for Hegarty (62), S Flanagan for P Casey inj (65), B Nash for Hannon (70), D Reidy for T Morrissey (71).
Tipperary: B Hogan; S O'Brien, J Barry, B Maher; S Kennedy, P Maher, R Maher; M Breen, N McGrath; J Forde, J O'Dwyer, D McCormack; J McGrath, S Callanan, J Morris. Subs: N O'Meara for Breen (ht), R Byrne for N McGrath (54), J Cahill for O'Dwyer (61), B Heffernan for Barry (62), M Kehoe for J McGrath (64).
Referee:P O'Dwyer (Carlow)