Danny Neville was the Limerick scoring hero as Billy Lee's men recorded a surprise victory over Cork in this evening's McGrath Cup final at the LIT Gaelic Grounds.
Neville posted 0-7, including 0-2 from marks, as the hosts won the pre-season competition for the first time since 2005. Limerick were never headed after the eighth minute and were full value for their 0-12 to 0-8 lead at the break after registering just two wides in the opening half.
The underdogs signalled their intent with the opening point from Seamus O'Carroll straight from the throw-in. Last year's All-Ireland U20 winners Damien Gore and Cathal O'Mahony replied to give Cork the lead before Neville levelled in the eighth minute. Jamie Lee (free) and Tommy Griffin followed up with points to give the Treatymen a lead they wouldn't relinquish and they were well in control at the break thanks to further scores from Neville and Cillian Fahy.
Cork twice reduced the deficit to three points after the restart through former Aussie Rules player Ciaran Sheehan and Gore before Neville restored Limerick's four-point advantage in the 46th minute. The winners were also restored to 15 players at this juncture after Paul Maher was sin-binned on the stroke of half-time.
Neville pushed Limerick six points clear before Cork scored four-in-a-row per substitute Brian Hurley, Tom Clancy and another replacement Killian O'Halloran to narrow the gap to two, 0-14 to 0-16, but the home side held their nerve in the last 10 minutes, with Jamie Lee's fourth point sealing a rare football success for the county.
Limerick - D O’Sullivan; P Maher, B Fanning, M Donovan (0-1); T McCarthy, I Corbett (0-2), R Childs (0-1); T Griffin (0-1), A Enright (0-1); P de Brun, C Fahy (0-1), S O’Carroll (0-3); J Lee (0-3f), D Neville (0-7, 2m), P Begley. Subs: P Maher (SB), G Stack for P Begley, T Childs for T Griffin, J Naughton for P de Brun, P Scanlon for J Lee, D Lyons for A Enright, I Corbett (SB).
Cork - A Casey; S Ryan, A Browne, P Ring; K Crowley, S Meehan, C Kiely (0-1); I Maguire, Thomas Clancy (0-2); T Corkery (0-1), C Sheehan (0-2), M Taylor; D Gore (0-3), C O’Mahony (0-3, 2f), M Hurley. Subs: S White (0-1) for M Hurley, B Hurley (0-2, 1f) for C Sheehan, K O’Hanlon (0-1) for Thomas Clancy, S Forde for T Corkery, J O’Rourke for D Gore.
Referee - B Griffin.Tweet