All-Ireland Minor Hurling Quarter-Final (Round 1) – Sunday, 8th July 2018
Galway 1-20 Limerick 0-12
Galway’s minor hurlers made a comfortable start to their All-Ireland title defence in Semple Stadium, Thurles as they stretched their margin to 11 points in the final 10 minutes to beat Limerick.
Jeffrey Lynskey’s charges took control midway during the first half before Donal O’Shea’s goal on 28 minutes gave them a buffer they never relinquished even if the Treaty County stayed in touch during the third quarter.
It’s a new era for underage hurling with minor now regraded to under 17 and Galway competing in a round-robin group (along with Kilkenny) for two All-Ireland semi-final places. But after reaching a double-digit gap, it would take a strange mix of results to deny the Tribesmen a trip to Croke Park.
The teams were level three times in the opening 12 minutes with Cormac Ryan opening for Limerick while Bob Purcell and Cathal O’Neill also contributed for the Shannonsiders. But they only led once (the first point) as Adam Brett, Dean Reilly and Jason Donoghue tallied for Galway.
And four scores between the 13th and 21st minutes ensured the maroon and white would set the tempo as O’Shea, son of former Tipperary manager Eamon, sent over two fres before a Keelan Creaven brace made it 0-7 to 0-3.
That being said, Limerick only trailed by a score as they traded white flags with their opponents. Micheal Martin and O’Neill (2) split the posts and they also had two goal chances. But Oisin Flannery and Creaven made it 0-9 to 0-6 on 25 minutes.
But when O’Shea hit the net, Galway finished the half with a flourish as Reilly and an O’Shea ‘65 put eight between them at half-time (1-11 0-6).
Limerick needed a strong third quarter outscoring the Tribesmen 0-4 to 0-1 as O’Neill seized control of his team’s account getting all points. Sean Neary was the Galway contributor before Donoghue made it 1-13 to 0-10.
O’Neill responded but that was as good as it got for Limerick. Galway hit five points unanswered through Diarmuid Kilcommins (2), Flannery and substitute Colm Cunningham (2) to ensure no doubt about the result.
Emmet McEvoy got Limerick’s last score before O’Shea concluded for Galway. They face Kilkenny next Sunday knowing any positive result ensures a semi-final place. Limerick will need to better the Noresiders the following week and hope results opens a qualification path.
Galway – Donal O’Shea 1-5 (three frees, one ’65), Keelan Creaven 0-3, Dean Reilly 0-2, Adam Brett 0-1, Jason Donoghue 0-2, Oisin Flannery (Padraig Pearses) 0-2, Sean Neary 0-1, Diarmuid Kilcommins 0-2, Colm Cunningham 0-2
Limerick – Cathal O’Neill 0-8 (seven frees), Cormac Ryan 0-1, Bob Purcell 0-1, Micheal Martin 0-1, Emmet McEvoy 0-1
Galway: Paddy Rabbitte; Michael Flynn, Shane Jennings, Ian McGlynn; Shane Quirke, Sean Neary, Evan Duggan; Oisin Flannery (St. Thomas), Jason Donoghue; Diarmuid Kilcommins, Adam Brett, Oisin Flannery (Padraig Pearses); Keelan Creaven, Donal O’Shea, Dean Reilly.
Limerick: Bryan Heavey; Padraig Harnett, Ben Herlihy, Michael Keane; Eoin O’Mahony, Emmet McEvoy, Jack Nicholas; Patrick Kirby, Barry O’Connor; Micheal Martin, Cormac Ryan, Colin Coughlan; Cathal O’Neill, Bob Purcell, Bryan Nix.
Referee: Sean Stack (Dublin)