Lessons from the last three Cork and Limerick hurling clashes

The counties have met in the Munster Hurling League, Allianz NHL and championship across the past two years
Lessons from the last three Cork and Limerick hurling clashes

Robert Downey of Cork battles Darragh O'Donovan of Limerick during the 2020 Allianz Hurling League game at Páirc Uí Chaoimh. Picture: Sam Barnes/Sportsfile

CORK head to Limerick for this Saturday's league clash unbeaten, while the home side have only managed a draw and two defeats to date.

The counties are paired in the Munster semi-final this July, which will no doubt affect how they approach this contest, even if they've an intense modern rivalry. Here we look at their last three meetings across all competitions.

2020 NHL: Cork 2-21 Limerick 0-29, Páirc Uí Chaoimh.

This was a cracking league game witnessed by 11,212 at Páirc Uí Chaoimh, where the hosts came from 0-17 to 0-9 down after 34 minutes to lead late on, only for Limerick to finish with a flourish. 

Shane Kingston and Aidan Walsh stitched goals but there was an over-reliance on Patrick Horgan's frees, 16 of his 17-point haul coming from placed balls.

The Rebels were a nose in front after 66 minutes but Kyle Hayes, Diarmaid Byrnes and Aaron Gillane clipped over the last three scores. 

Cork wore the style black kit to commemorate the deaths of Tomás Mac Curtain and Terence MacSwiney but Limerick were in clinical form from the throw-in, scoring 11 points from their first 11 shots.

CORK: Patrick Collins; Eoin Cadogan, Colm Spillane, Seán O’Leary Hayes; Mark Coleman, Robert Downey, Tim O’Mahony; Bill Cooper, Darragh Fitzgibbon; Robbie O’Flynn, Séamus Harnedy, Luke Meade; Declan Dalton, Patrick Horgan, Shane Kingston.

Subs: Aidan Walsh for Meade (h-t), Conor Lehane for Dalton (57), Christopher Joyce for O’Mahony (66), Conor Cahalane for O’Flynn (70).

2020 Munster HL final: Limerick 1-32 Cork 0-20, LIT Gaelic Grounds.

The preseason Munster hurling league was called off this year but has proved to be a useful championship guide at times in recent seasons. 

Aidan Walsh of Cork in action against Cian Lynch of Limerick during the Co-Op Superstores Munster Hurling League final. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Aidan Walsh of Cork in action against Cian Lynch of Limerick during the Co-Op Superstores Munster Hurling League final. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Cork won all their round-robin games, and the final against Limerick, in 2017 as a precursor to a Munster title, while in 2018, it set the tone for Limerick before their surprise All-Ireland later that year.

The Shannonsiders were the dominant force in 2020, collecting the league, Munster and All-Ireland trophies, but only after a January success before a crowd of 5,295 at floodlit LIT Gaelic Grounds.

Limerick were an Aaron Gillane goal up at the break, before blitzing the Rebels in the second half. 

David Reidy top-scored as the free-taker with 0-11, while David Dempsey and Graeme Mulcahy lanced over 0-5 from play apiece. Conor Lehane had six points for Cork, while Seán Twomey landed 0-3 from play.

Patrick Collins was between the posts and Bill Cooper was given a run at centre-back.

CORK: Patrick Collins; Colm Spillane, Eoin Cadogan, Seán O’Donoghue; Chris O’Leary, Bill Cooper, Damien Cahalane; Ryan Walsh, Luke Meade; Aidan Walsh, Conor Lehane, Seán Twomey; Jack O’Connor, Séamus Harnedy, Brian Turnbull.

Subs: Shane O’Regan for Ryan Walsh, Patrick Horgan for O’Connor (both h-t), Robert Downey for Meade (54), Tommy O’Connell for Twomey (69), James Keating for Spillane (70).

2019 Munster Championship round-robin: Limerick 1-19 Cork 1-26, LIT Gaelic Grounds.

This was Cork's last top-class championship performance. After a dismal showing in defeat to Tipperary, the summer was on the line for John Meyler's side and they tore into the All-Ireland champions.

Cork had beaten their rivals in the league, where Rob Downey had shackled Gearóid Hegarty and that was one of the key match-ups here. Eoin Cadogan collected the official Man of the Match gong for his job man-marking Aaron Gillane, while Mark Ellis came in from the cold to anchor the defence.

Eoin Cadogan drives out against Limerick in the 2019 Munster Hurling Championship. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile
Eoin Cadogan drives out against Limerick in the 2019 Munster Hurling Championship. Picture: Piaras Ó Mídheach/Sportsfile

Patrick Horgan buried the pivotal second-half goal, while Daniel Kearney and Seamus Harnedy adding 0-4 each. Alan Cadogan was an early replacement for the injured Conor Lehane and nabbed 0-3. Aidan Walsh was the unsung hero in this game for his work-rate in attack. 

A couple of late points from sub Deccie Dalton franked a rousing win, though the season ended in a disappointing quarter-final loss to Kilkenny.

CORK: Anthony Nash; Sean O'Donoghue, Eoin Cadogan, Niall O'Leary; Rob Downey, Mark Ellis, Mark Coleman; Bill Cooper, Darragh Fitzgibbon; Daniel Kearney, Seamus Harnedy, Luke Meade; Conor Lehane, Patrick Horgan, Aidan Walsh.

Subs: Alan Cadogan for Lehane (6 inj), Stephen McDonnell for O’Donoghue (h-t), Christopher Joyce for Downey (53), Shane Kingston for Meade (61), Declan Dalton for Walsh (68).


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