Kilkenny advanced to the semi-finals as expected in Semple Stadium this afternoon, but they certainly didn’t over run Limerick and were flattered by the three goal margin in the end.
John Allen’s side started brightly and David Breen ghosted in for an early goal. Physically they were more holding their own. Henry Shefflin was the only Kilkenny forward making any real impact in the first period and he kept his team in the game with two opportunist goals.
The underdogs had more possession but were let down by some poor defending and they trailed by one at the interval on a score line of 2-07 to 1-09.
On the resumption Limerick continued to compete well but that would soon change. Between the 42nd and 55th minutes the cats went on the rampage and scored 2-05 without reply to take an eleven point lead.
The game was now over as a contest and for Henry and co it was just a matter of seeing the game out. Richie Hogan was dismissed on a straight red for a wild pull and he will certainly be a loss the next day.
The reality is that several Kilkenny players were quite poor again today and the Galway game could well have been the start of a gradual decline. The Tipperary game will tell a lot and on the evidence of the last two games the premier men will certainly fancy their chances.
Kilkenny: D Herity, P Murphy, J.J. Delaney, J Tyrrell, T Walsh (0-01), K Joyce, R Doyle; M Fennelly (0-01), M Rice, E Larkin (0-01), R Power (0-02, 1f, 1 65), H Shefflin (2-06, 4f), C Fennelly (1-02), R Hogan (0-01), A Fogarty (1-02).
Subs: T.J Reid for R Power, C Buckley for A Fogarty, M Ruth for E Larkin.
Limerick: N Quaid, S Walsh, R McCarthy, T Condon, W McNamara, D O’Grady, G O’Mahony, J Ryan, P O’Brien (0-01), S Dowling (0-04, 4f), D Breen (1-01), D Hannon (0-04, 2f), G Mulcahy (0-02), N Moran (0-01), S Tobin (0-01).
Subs: S Hickey for T Condon , K Downes (0-01) for D Breen, P Browne for S Dowling , T Quaid (0-01) for S Tobin.