THIS was a dark time for Limerick hurling, when a dispute between the players and Justin McCarthy, left the visitors with nine newcomers in the line-up for their Munster opener and made Cork 1/100 unbackable favourites.
Without hurling close to the level they hit against Tipperary in their previous outing and with Aisake Ó hAilpín subdued at the edge of the square, Denis Walsh's side still got the job done to qualify for a final with Waterford.
Interestingly, one of the standout performers in green was Graeme Mulcahy, who sniped 0-3 at Páirc Uí Chaoimh and remains a key figure in their squad. Another survivor from this mismatch is Nicky Quaid, introduced as a sub but long since converted to a goalie full-time, an All-Star one at that.
Cork have two still involved as well, talismanic attacker Patrick Horgan, scorer of 1-2 on this occasion, and veteran defender Eoin Cadogan.
Niall McCarthy was the official Man of the Match, with a tally of 0-5, while 20-year-old Lorcán McLoughlin made his first start in midfield alongside Cathal Naughton with Tom Kenny out injured.
Despite being so inexperienced and youthful, Limerick side started well but Sean Herlihy’s first-half dismissal didn't help and it was 1-10 to 0-6 at the break.
Horgan converted a penalty after being fouled while Donal Óg Cusack denied Paudie McNamara at the other end. Sub Paudie O'Sullivan came close to goaling on his introduction before raising a green flag late on, batting home from a Michael Cussen assist.
Cork lost the Munster final to Waterford, having been five points up late on in the drawn game and going down in a rain-soaked replay after extra time. They then beat Antrim but were wiped out by Kilkenny in the All-Ireland semi-final.