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Tipperary staged a late comeback to deny Limerick a memorable victory in Thurles and book a meeting with Cork in the Munster Senior Hurling semi-final. Limerick must turn their attention to the qualifiers after an unexpectedly close game.
Limerick were ahead by 1-9 to 1-8 at the break. Pa Bourke had netted first for the home side before Graham Mulcahy scored a goal at the second time of asking after a fantastic reflex save by Brendan Cummins in the Tipperary goal.
Limerick excelled in the second half as Shane Dowling began to score, seemingly at will. Pa Bourke hit two points in reply for Tipperary but with 19 minutes left to play the favourites were seven points adrift of their opponents.
Declan Ryan's use of his substitutes proved to be telling as Shane McGrath and Shane Bourke were among those who contributed to Tipperarys impressive comeback.
It meant that when Brian O'Meara forced the ball into the net on 64 minutes after the ball broke kindly to him, Tipperary took the lead for the first time in the second half. They added points in the dying stages to put themselves in the perfect frame of mind for their upcoming encounter with Cork.
Kerry's victory in the Munster senior football final was less impressive. The build-up play was often laboured and they relied on Bryan Sheehan's free-taking ability to always keep them in front. The lead was not a comfortable one and it forced Jack O'Connor to introduce Kieran Donaghy, who had been dropped from the starting line-up for missing a training session in the week leading up to the game.
While Tipperary never threatened to dispose of Kerry, they had players who worried the Kingdom's defence, most notably Alan Maloney. In the end, Kerry did enough to get over the line.
In both Leinster and Ulster, favourites Meath and Monaghan came through their first-round matches with Wicklow and Antrim, respectively.
Wicklow began the match in Dr Cullen Park in Carlow by scoring five unanswered points. Joe Sheridan was particularly potent for Meath and ensured that by half-time they trailed by a solitary score. An injury to Leighton Glynn and James Stafford's dismissal allowed Meath to distance themselves from their opponents late on.
Monaghan, too, were only able to pull away from Limerick in the last minutes of the game in Clones.
A James Loughry goal had put Antrim three points ahead mid-way through the second half but Tommy Freeman's introduction was the catalyst for a Monaghan comeback that would see the Farneymen complete a three-point victory.
Munster Senior Football Championship
Kerry 0-16 Tipperary 0-10
Munster Senior Hurling Championship
Tipperary 2-20 Limerick 1-19
Leinster Senior Football Championship
Meath 0-16 Wicklow 0-11
Ulster Senior Football Championship
Monaghan 1-12 Antrim 1-9
© 2012 The Irish Times
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