Bord Gais Energy All Ireland Under 21 Hurling Final
Limerick deservedly secured a second Under 21 title in three years with a six-point victory over Kilkenny in front of 15,485 at Semple Stadium in Thurles.
Pat Donnelly’s charges governed vast chunks of the opening period with their self-sufficient forward line causing Kilkenny plenty of bother.
By the time the interval rolled around Limerick led 0-11 to 0-4 which was an accurate reflection of their supremacy when backed by a significant breeze.
Shane Walsh rifled over an early point for Kilkenny, but Limerick responded impressively reeling off seven points on the spin.
That was a seriously damaging spell for Kilkenny, who were battling bravely, but Limerick, prompted by Gillane’s precise shooting, were in the groove.
Billy Ryan terminated an 18 minute search for a Kilkenny score, but Limerick struck four of the next six points to lead by seven at the turnaround.
While Limerick weren’t as efficient converting opportunities after the restart they were still doing enough and were 0-14 to 0-6 ahead by the 47th minute.
Kilkenny struck five points in eight minutes with Alan Murphy sharp from frees, but Limerick were still four clear as Conor Boylan raised a white flag in that stint.
Just as Kilkenny were posing some questions Limerick had the resolve and resilience to locate the answers with Gillane and substitute Oisin O’Reilly decorating the triumph with late grace notes.
LIMERICK: Eoghan McNamara; Sean Finn, Darragh Fanning, Dan Joy; Ronan Lynch, Kyle Hayes, Thomas Grimes; Colin Ryan, Robbie Hanley; Tom Morrissey, Barry Nash, Cian Lynch; Peter Casey, Barry Murphy, Aaron Gillane.
Subs: Conor Boylan for Cian Lynch (40), Andrew La Touche Cosgrave for Tom Morrissey (47), Oisin O’Reilly for Barry Murphy (53), Lorcan Lyons for Barry Nash (60).
KILKENNY: Darren Brennan; Michael Cody, Conor Delaney, Niall McMahon; Huw Lawlor, Jason Cleere, Tommy Walsh; Luke Scanlon, Richie Leahy; Billy Ryan, Sean Morrissey, Liam Blanchfield; John Walsh, John Donnelly, Shane Walsh.
Subs: Alan Murphy for Sean Morrissey (25), Pat Lyng for John Walsh (HT), Eoin Kenny for Shane Walsh (40), Martin Keoghan for Billy Ryan (41), Darren Mullen for Richie Leahy (45).